Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Fish are Hitting in South Dakota

The weather at Webster, SD had been under scrutiny for several weeks. I listened to the recording about fishing conditions twice a week.  Sportsman's Cove has a recording that they periodically change during the week and it pays to listen.  They provide a good synopsis of what has taken place during the week for lake conditions and fishing results. (605-345-2468).

A weekend was picked, but past friends were not able to go with me.  So, that left one person, Pam my wife.  I could not think of a better Mother's Day present than to drive up to South Dakota in the evening.  The restaurants would all be crowded, and our son and his wife had driven home by noon.  She consented.

Now a motel was selected.  There are three different ones that we stay at.  She prefers The Galley because they offer a continental breakfast in the morning.  The phone number is (877) 869-0047.  The other motel I stay at in Webster is The Holiday.  Their phone is (605) 345-3323.  Sometimes I stay at the Circle Pines in Waubay just east of Webster. Their phone is (877) 324-5161.  The Galley and Circle Pines have excellent fish cleaning facilities and a freezer in which to store frozen fish.  The Holiday provides an area in the back of the motel with boards and a table.  If you don't mind being outside it works fine.  There is plenty of fresh water for clean up.  You can store fish in the freezer in the main office.

Light winds out of the south to southwest were forecasted for the next three days and my confidence was high.  If you fish this country, a forecast is not much good after 24 hours.  Eastern South Dakota can get a "bit breezy".  That is what the natives say.  Being from southwest Iowa, their "breezy" can be considered down right windy to us. 

Passing through the town of Waubay we were met with a major disappointment.  The Purple Cow was still closed for the season. 

On the north side of Highway 12, this is the best ice cream in the midwest.  If you are traveling north on I-29 and don't stop here for some ice cream, you have just made one of life's major mistakes.  It is only a few miles off the interstate.  We only live once.

You can't miss the sign.  You might miss the town. 
The next morning we hit it really early and arrived at Sportsman Cove to buy bait and collect the free advice.  My original plan was to fish Swan the first day, then fish Lake Waubay on the second.  The advice given was the opposite.  The forecast had changed and there was a wind change for the second day out of the north.  We headed to Waubay. 

If you have never fished this lake, there are some excellent parking and dock facilities supplied courtsey of South Dakota.  There is also a modern no flush restroom if needed.  We put in at Kanago access on the west side of the lake.  You drop down into a nice bay that is generally sheltered regardless of wind conditions.  I want to warn you that straight out from the dock about 150 to 200 yards is the first of  hidden obstacles.  There is a very large submerged rock.  I do not even go close to the area.  Another 150 to 200 yards beyond that obstacle is a reef that runs north and south.  It is also partially submerged.  Both spots can take out your lower unit in short order.  They also come up very quickly. 

I went ten feet out from the dock, then motored out in a southeasterly direction.  I had access north and south, so I changed direction and headed to where the plan led me.  In this case we went straight south to a point that sticks out from the south shore. 

The report was that the week before, there had been a hatch of an insect in the lake and the walleye had moved into 20 feet of water as the larvae floated out of the bottom.  Starting at 25 feet, we graphed no fish, but began to move in tighter to the point.
There is the point straight south of Kanago Access.

Here we slowly moved from 25 feet to 20 feet working both sides of the point.  We graphed no fish.  Moving into 15 to 10 feet we started to show some activity.  Here we picked up two small walleye in the 15 inch range.  Meat is meat, and we kept them. 

Moving deeper into the bay to the southwest we picked up a couple of smallmouth bass and a couple more walleye in about the same size.  Wind was from the southwest and it had started to pick up.  It was decided to head in for lunch as we had spent about five hours on the water.  
When you can see the trailors at the southwest end of the bay you are in the right spot.  Now look to your left or south and you will see a partially submerged island about 50 yards long.  There is a lot of structure here with depths of 5 to 10 feet, dropping off to15 then to 20 feet.  In the 10 foot range you get smallmouth bass.  In the deeper water you catch walleye.

After lunch, we headed up to the north and on the northwest side of the first big island.  Moving almost straight north, you will find a sunken road.  Move off the road to the northwest to 15 feet, and there you will find walleye.  Again we had some success but they were spread out and remained in the 15 to 16 inch range.
It was a bit chilly, but Pam never complained once.  Well maybe once the following day.
We finished the day around 5 PM.  The wind had really started to increase and the lake began to rock and roll.  We headed to the dock with a daily limit of walley for each of us (4 fish), and a couple of small mouth bass. 

The concern was what the winds were going to be the next day.

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank


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