South Dakota walleye fishing, as well as in North Dakota, is a bit difficult at first because there are certain hotspots where you’ll find these deepwater predators, while many other areas will seem to be completely uninhabited by the fish. Knowing how to target them and where they will be during a giving season will make your South Dakota walleye fishing trip a lot more fun and fruitful.
First of all, know that, in the dead of winter, walleye will prefer to feed around sundown, so this will give you an idea of when you want to be at the lake with your bait in the water for feeding time. This time of day causes the temperatures to drop considerably, and walleye have a penchant for cold waters. Especially if you are an ice fisherman, you’ll find that this time of year and this time of day bring the utmost excitement to your life, knowing that your best opportunity to reel in a monster is at hand.
In South Dakota, walleye fishing is best found on smaller waters and natural lakes, such as Devils Lake. Get out to this location just after the lake freezes for the best opportunity. However, you can certainly find walleye here throughout the winter, with some sized up to nine pounds and more, large for the species any way you look at it. Beside being sure to get to the lakes at the right time, you should be aware that a good bait presentation can make all the difference in the world. Some of the top anglers in South Dakota will use a lure without any bait and jig it. However, minnow seem to provide the best approach, using the head just off the bottom of the lake.
One trick to finding your catches is to stay at one hole, looking for the aggressive fish, using the dead stick method. This means keeping the bait completely still and waiting for the walleye to bite after staring it down. In this case, you might want to tip a lure with either a full minnow or a minnow head, using something like a small slip-bobber with a plain gold hook. Other anglers take the opposite approach to fishing, opening and fishing many holes. The biggest problem with this method is that it’s like playing sports, and the physical aspect of it can wear you down quickly. It can also be frustrating if you drill several holes with absolutely no luck.
The advantage of dead sticking is that there is little or no struggle to reel in the walleye. What happens is this: the fish eyes the bait for a time, then snaps and swallows it. The walleye will slowly go back down towards his resting place, and you’ll see your rod start to dip, letting you know you have a bite. At this time, you can reel and hook the specimen and bring him in.