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Fishing in the Black Hills

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With vast lakes and clear streams chock full of fish, as well as jaw-dropping views as far as the eye can see, the Black Hills are every angler’s dream. There are several species of fish that call the area’s lakes, rivers and streams home, including rainbow, brown and brook trout, northern pike and perch, adding diversity that makes the fishing in this area fun no matter how many times you cast. Best of all, Black Hills fishing is a year-round activity that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy, making it a great addition to any vacation itinerary. Continue reading to get in on some tips to help you in your angling adventure and get ready to make your catch!

Before You Head Out

Here are some tips to prepare you for your day of fishing:

Get your fishing license.

A license is required to fish in South Dakota, and getting one is easy: head to the state’s Game, Fish and Parks website to purchase a license online or to view local retailers which sell them  -

Pack smart.

Be sure to pack all of the essentials that you need for an outdoor adventure (sunscreen, waterproof layers, water, first aid kit), as well as the items you need for a day of fishing. There        are many shops located throughout the area where you can stock up on the angling equipment you need for your adventure, including local options Dakota Angler & Outfitter and The Rooster in Rapid City and the Spearfish Creek Fly Shop in Spearfish.

Pick the Right Time.

Start your fishing adventure in the morning or evening, as the low light levels and increase insect activity provide a better opportunity for you to make a catch. And try to choose an overcast day if you plan on trying to snag some of the area’s plentiful trout.

Best Places to go Fishing in the Black Hills

With all of the sparkling bodies of water located throughout the Black Hills, it can be overwhelming to pick a place to start casting. However, by choosing one of the fishing spots below, you’ll be well on your way to reeling in a big one!

Pactola Reservoir

Pactola is a 20 minute drive from the Powder House Lodge, and a local favorite for a day of fishing! It is the largest and deepest reservoir in western South Dakota, and offers three boat launches, a marina and 14 miles of shoreline for anglers, as well as an abundance of rainbow, brown and lake trout. There is also an ADA accessible fishing path provided on the north shore. If fly-fishing is your forte, make sure you check out the area below the dam. Pactola Reservoir is a great choice if there are going to be non-anglers in your party, as there are many other amenities on site, including hiking and bicycling trails, picnic areas and swimming.

Spearfish Canyon

For a fishing adventure surrounded by arguably the most jaw-dropping scenery in the area, Spearfish Canyon cannot be beat. The 22-mile drive through the canyon presents countless opportunities to stop and fish Spearfish Creek, which holds beautiful rainbow trout. There are also many other lakes and streams available where you can try your hand at catching walleye and largemouth bass. Head to Spearfish Canyon if you’re looking for a day-long adventure with awe-inspiring views!

Sheridan Lake

Boasting both fantastic boat and shore fishing, Sheridan Lake is a great choice for catching brown trout, yellow perch, largemouth bass, northern pike and more. The lake contains amenities that allow for a comfortable visit, including a full-service marina, beaches, picnic areas and public restrooms. There are plenty of fishing docks located throughout the area that allow you the experience of getting out on the water, without getting in a boat. Like Pactola Reservoir, this is a great stop for a variety of other outdoor fun, including mountain biking, ATV riding and horseback riding.

Deerfield Reservoir

Deerfield Reservoir is another popular destination year-round for a fishing adventure. The reservoir features a no-wake restriction, which limits boat travel to five miles per hour, giving it ideal fishing conditions.  There are multiple fishing areas on site, including Castle Creek, which is a hidden gem among locals. Common fish available out of Deerfield are splake, brook and rainbow trout. This destination is a must if you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful day on the water.

Horsethief Lake

Located only 7.4 miles from the Powder House Lodge, Horsethief Lake offers spectacular trout fishing close to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. ADA accessible fishing is provided on site, as well as other amenities such as hiking and biking trails.

Looking for additional outdoor fun? Add more outdoor recreation items to your itinerary!

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