My friend and long time fishing companion, Les from Council Bluffs, called me and said the weather in Webster SD was good for Friday and Saturday. He studies the weather, so I just took him at his word.
Driving up to South Dakota was anything but good on Thursday. The wind was howling out of the south and we were making excellent gas mileage with all the wind on our tail. I was assured that by morning it would breezy, but nothing like we had blowing us north.
We were up early and headed to Sportsman’s Cove to get some bait and information about what was taking place on the local lakes. These people do more than sell fishing and hunting products. They provide great information on where to fish, how deep, and what baits have been hot. The wind was more that just a little brisk. It was getting really windy. The good news was that it was out of the west. That was a good sign. The decision was made to launch at Kango Access boat ramp on the west side of Lake Waubay. The lakes are surrounded by hills in this area. That would provide protection from the blast that was building up. From the boat ramp, we moved southeast along the shore line and started working in 10 to 15 feet of water. Not so much as a tap. We moved out deeper, but then we were getting into the high winds and boat control was really difficult. It was not impossible, but almost.
Straight east of the boat ramp was an island, and we headed to the east side of it. The lake was really starting to rock and roll and the wind was really gusty. Moving to the east side of the island we were protected from the blast. We worked again in 10 to 20 feet of water. Not so much of a tap. Jigs and spinners were worked tipped with a minnow, crawler, or a leech. No luck. As the wind had really worked up the lake, it was decided to head back closer to the west bank and work it again. We traveled 300 miles and did not want to be defeated so early in the game.
By noon, we decided to throw in the towel, grab some lunch, and take a nap. We hoped the wind would blow itself out. We could then work more of the lake than just two spots. We also stopped at Sportsman’s Cove and there were no reports of anything being caught or many boats out. There were no other vehicles at Kango Access. That made us the only boat on that end of the lake.
Late afternoon, we headed up to the Grenville Access on the northeast section of the lake. It was decided not to put in there as it was really windy, and the lake was rocking and rolling. The decision was made to go south to Antelope Lake.
Antelope has horrible access, but there have been some really nice fish caught there, and mostly in the evening. Wind should be a minor factor as long as we did not try to get out on the main body of water. This is a small lake, and I have never seen another boat on it before. Several years ago I visited with a gentleman and his wife from northern Iowa, and this was their favorite lake. I have done well there at times in the past, but it is not always hot.
The lake has a long finger that leads from the main body to the boat ramp. Close to the ramp is fallen timber. We wanted to stay out of the timber and fish along the opposite side of the finger. The water drops right off to about 10 feet. It was too windy on the main part of the lake, but this was the best spot. We worked out from the boat ramp to the main body, back and forth. We trolled out to the main lake and then back along the finger. We worked this spot for about three hours and then folded. We did not get one strike.
Back to Waubay Lake, we put in at Kango Access again. We repeated the process we had done early in the morning. I did not have one strike. Les claimed he had several. We quit for the day and decided to go to Pickerel in the morning.
Pickerel runs north and south and it is an outstanding crappie lake. I have caught a few walleye on it, but I go there mainly for crappie. The lake is deep and clear. It is surrounded by beautiful homes. A good access is available at the north end and we would fish the west side and somewhat out of the wind.
We started out and worked the boat into the shore and back out into the lake about 200 yards. Depth ran round 5 to 10 and 15 to 20 feet. We kept our lures off the bottom and looked for suspended fish on the graph. We wanted our lures in the zone where the fish were suspended. For four hours we fished away, changing lures, changing colors, changing baits, and did not catch a thing. By noon we both were done, and beat from the wind.
I do not catch fish every time I go, but we still had a great time on the lake enjoying nature. There is always another day.
Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck. Hank