Sunday, September 29, 2013

Exploring Francis Case Reservoir

This writing is two weeks late as I posted  the information about the Northern Pike caught by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.  If you look at the video, I am sure any knowledgeable person will recognize that this is not a 21 Kg pike, but a really good looking fish the same.  The first blog was about the pike.  The second was in response to a large number of e-mails I received about the fish and some of my comments.  Riding around in a boat is what I do, not walking on the water.

Anyway, my wife and I fished for 1.5 days fishing on Lake Francis Case at Platte South Dakota.  On the second day it all came suddenly to an abrupt halt. The wind blew us off the lake, and the fishing came to an immediate end.  In addition,  we were sun burned from the previous day after staying out too long on the lake. The lake had gone calm with a clear sky and the sun burning down.  That condition is not good walleye weather and it is sure hard on the skin.

We left Platte, SD around noon and after a big breakfast at Shorty's Cafe in the morning, we did not need any more food.  The wind had really picked up to almost a gale and we felt good about getting off the reservoir.  I also discovered that my running lights on the trailer were not working.  I had break lights, flashers and turn signals, but no tail lights or running lights.  That could only mean one thing.  I had failed to unhook the trailer lights from the truck when I launched the boat.  A person should always do this.  If you don't and the plug gets wet, it could short out the lights.  The short is at the truck level and so this would be a trip to the dealer.  I hate going to the dealer.  It is never Christmas at the dealer and they are sure not Santa Claus.   If I had only remembered to do this little job. 

After a short drive from Platte, we arrived at Pickstown on the east side of the dam.  Several motels, campgrounds, and restaurants are available.  This little community caters to the tourists and people interested in outdoor sports from fishing and hunting to boating and camping. 

Just a short drive down from the city limits you come to Fort Randall Dam that forms Lake Francis Case.  The building of the dam was authorized by Congress in 1944.  Construction began in 1946 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower threw the switch that started the first power generating unit in 1954.

The immensity of the lake behind the dam.

Look at the backside of the dam we later saw boats fishing just out of the wind.

The spillway at a distance with the hydroelectric plant along the left side of the picture.
Below the dam and on the west side of the river there is an outstanding campground with excellent facilities for the vacationers.

The Fort Randall Military Post was established in 1856 on the southwest side of the river just below the present site of the dam.  The purpose of the fort was to keep the peace on the frontier and served as a major navigation point along the river. The purpose of the fort was as follows:
  • provide military protection to settlements
  • provide open roads
  • guard and escort travelers and emigrants across the plains
  • settle disputes with various Indian tribes
  • prevent trespassing by whites onto Indian reservations, and 
  • serve as an Army supply depot for the entire Upper Missouri River.
 Abandoned in 1892 the remains of the old parade ground and foundations of buildings still exist.  The ruins of the old stone chapel can still be seen today. 

The remains of the stone chapel at the fort.

Cemetery  on the hillside above the remains of the old fort.
A little fishing, a little education and some added tourism along the Missouri River finished the day for the two of us and we headed for home. For more information on the dam and the fort use the following web address:  You can also use the following mailing address:

Fort Randall Project
U.S. Highway 18 & 281
P. O. Box 199
Pickstown, SD., 57367-0199

Information referenced from publication "Fort Randall Military Post" 
US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha  District

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

  Hammacher Schlemmer

Go Fish

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