Lake Oahe

Pending weather patterns, mid-May is when I start fishing Oahe. The area of Lake Oahe that I cover from mid-May to the end of June is Whitlocks area or the 212 bridge by Gettysburg down to Tall Prairie Chicken. Mid-June is when I usually launch at Bush's Landing, fishing large bays with plain hook with crawlers and/or ripping' spinners. By the end of July and August, perhaps down to Fantasy Island and the Cheyenne River - pretty much follow the migration - some fish stay residential, most move on. I know anglers that fish the Cheyenne River year-round.

 

 

 

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A group from Nebraska, first two days limited out on walleye, our 3rd day we fished for catfish, lending 4-7 pounders

A group from Nebraska, first two days limited out on walleye, our 3rd day we fished for catfish, lending 4-7 pounders

(The following information credited to South Dakota Missouri River Tourism)

Lake Oahe is the first stop along the northern part of the Missouri River in South Dakota. It stretches for 231 miles from Oahe Dam, near Pierre, all the way north to Bismarck, N.D. The largest of the four Missouri River reservoirs, Lake Oahe is the "big water." This deep, clear lake - at its maximum depth, Oahe reaches 205 feet-- makes for excellent boating and fishing.

Like the other reservoirs, Oahe is known for its walleye fishing. Other commonly caught species include smallmouth bass, white bass, northern pike and perch. Most anglers fish by boat, but plenty of fishermen have their favorite spots along the shore. Because of the lake's size and the possibility of high winds, it's recommended that boats be at least an 18-foot deep "V" with 50 horsepower outboard.

The lands along Oahe also are known for exceptional hunting. Canadian geese, duck and sharp-tailed grouse are some of the most popularly hunted species.

The Oahe Dam

Located just six miles north of the Pierre and Fort Pierre communities, the Oahe Dam stands as one of the largest earth-rolled dams in the world. It creates the fourth largest artificial reservoir in the United States, supplying irrigation, conservation, flood control and electric power to many Midwestern states as well as abundant recreation along Lake Oahe.

The Oahe Dam was authorized in 1944 by the Flood Control Act. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began working on the dam in 1948. By 1962, the Oahe Dam was functioning and producing hydroelectric power. The dam was dedicated on August 17, 1962, by President John F. Kennedy. The word Oahe, once the name of a Christian mission, is a Sioux Indian word meaning "a foundation," or "a place to stand on."

Visitors can view the Oahe Dam and Lake Oahe by following the highway seven miles north of Pierre. The Oahe Dam Visitor Center provides a complete history of Lake Oahe and the surrounding area. Exhibits feature the history of the construction of the dam and power plant and the natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. The Oahe Dam Visitor Center, located above the dam, is open year-round, featuring interactive displays and information about the Oahe Dam and the Missouri River.

My Walleye Fishing Tips

  • Springtime I try to finesse some by presenting a plain hook, minnow and lindy rig. working not only mouths of bays but also points at the mouths bays. I'll also pitch jigs with plastics or tipped with a minnow, towards shoreline in and around the bays. Rocky points and bluffs with flats are good spots throughout the spring months. From May through June, I've had success pitching cast master spoons and landing some nice pike. I've also caught nice 'eyes on floating jointed perch rapalas behind a bottom bouncer kicking around at .04-.07 mph and zig zagging.
  • As the season changes into summer, I'll still stick with a plain hook ,bead and just enough crawler to cover the hook. Moving slowly whether its trolling or drifting, I'll still work points in the main lake.
  • Late June-August, I might switch it up and rip spinners at about a mile an hour, pending weather and mood of the bite.
  • Up by Sutton's Bay, I've had success pulling crankbaits in 15'-25' of water. Again, zigzagging. Other bays to check out late-May through the end of June are Tall Prairie Chicken and No Hearts.
  • Late July-August and even into September, Fantasy Island out at the mouth of the Cheyenne River and even the humps at the mouth of the Cheyenne River are great places to be. I would concentrate fishing Bush's Landing area and No Heart's, Charlie, Tall Prairie Chicken, Bull, Albert, Willow and even the mouth of the Cheyenne, working major points and back into the creeks of these bays.
Great walleye fishing, Suttons Bay SD

Great walleye fishing, Suttons Bay SD

Walleye Limits 2016

Full regulations here: South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks

Key Issues for Lake Oahe in 2015

The following information credited South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks

  • Walleye abundance is near the normal lake wide average, with majority of the population around 15 inches.
  • Walleye daily and possession limits have remained the statewide regulation of 4 per day with at most only 1 over 20 inches and 8 total in possession.
  • Rainbow smelt abundance is low due to high loss through Oahe Dam from the flood of 2011 and poor production since; but smelt have potential to rebound if spring conditions are ideal for their spawn.
  • Northern pike abundance has remained stable, with many reaching a size attractive to anglers.
  • Chinook salmon fishing success is unknown for 2015, but stocking will continue to provide a future fishery.
  • Lake Oahe should have good fishing for many species in 2015.
  • Boat access may be an issue depending on water levels for Lake Oahe.

- See more at: http://gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/tacklebox/lake-surveys/lake-oahe/#sthash.5SG1iGxl.dpuf