Glacial Lakes of South Dakota

Fishing the Glacial Lakes

Take I- 29 north out of Council Bluffs, IA or Omaha, NE to exit 207 and go west about 25 miles to the town of Webster South Dakota, and you are in the middle of about thirty different lakes to fish.  They are full of walleye, northern, crappie, and now small mouth bass.  The fishing is great depending on the weather.

You will need a boat.  But first before you leave, check your trailor tires for proper inflation.  Then check your spare to make sure it is fully inflated.

It was 7 PM and just south of Brookings, SD, when a vibration was felt.  At first, I thought it was the highway.  South Dakota has a lot of road repair, and this time on the trip up, so did Iowa.  You are constantly traveling through construction zones.  The vibration should have been the warning that a tire was being lost, but so close to Brookings, I continued on.

Boom! The rubber flew off the left rear trailor tire.  We headed to the side of the road.  Not a problem, but it soon became one as after the tire was changed the spare was flat as a pancake.  Fortunately, right in front of me was the highway maker, and after a quick call to the South Dakota Highway Patrol a tow truck came and inflated the tire.  Of course, there was a fee involved.  The moral here is to make sure your tires are all fully inflated, and if you start getting a vibration, check the trailor tires.  Stopping earlier when this was first felt would have saved me time, grief, and money.  My wife never uttered a word.  She did not have to. This was the first time I have ever lost a trailor tire.

We tried out a different motel this trip and stayed at the Circle Pines in Waubay.  No particular reason, it was just different.  The rooms were clean, and like all the motels in Webster, they were dated.  There was an outstanding fish cleaning house with plenty of freezer space.  That feature is always appreciated.  After catching, comes the cleaning and storing of your catch for the day.

Early next morning we headed down to Swan Lake.  The turnoff was located about 15 miles south of Webster.  It was a cool crisp morning and we were the first boat on the lake.  Immediately we started fishing in about 12 feet of water just to the right of the boat ramp.  The lake was still in the shade as the sun was just coming up on the horizon.  As we moved closer to the shore we ended up in the weed beds.  We wanted to stay on the edge and into fifteen feet of water.

My wife Pam enjoying the nice cool morning.  She caught the biggest fish on the trip.

Wham! Northern pike made the first hit of the morning.  It was a nice size fish of about 30 inches and went into the livewell.  Moving out to deeper water, there were the walleye.  At first the fish were small, but as we moved north along the shoreline they got bigger.  Average size was about fifteen inches with a sixteen or seventeen incher picked up periodically.  The majority of the fish caught were small walleye and were thrown back.  We fished from the dock north for about 300 yards and then worked back toward the dock.  This must have been a popular place as more boats soon joined in the activity along the bank.  As the sun came up, and the shoreline became engulfed in sunlight, my wife and I both commented about the slow- down in activity.  It was time to pick up and move.

To the left of the picture is our second location.  I have caught fish there before.

From the dock we motored southwest to a point that was just out from the shore with submerged standing timber sticking up.  At this location we needed to stay out from the timber.  In ten to twelve feet of water, we would be snagged  on branches and other obstacles under the water.  We fished this location starting in fourteen feet and moved out to eighteen feet.  Working in this depth kept us from getting snagged all the time, but it produced no fish and only a few soft bites.  We did graph fish at this location.

It was 11 AM and we decided to clean the fish and grab some lunch before we went out again.  Also, a short nap was on the agenda.

Back on Swan by 7 PM, the wind was still moderate out of the west so boat control was not a problem.  We headed to the southwest corner of the lake.  I had on a previous trip limited here.  We lost a lot of lures in standing timber at 10 to 12 feet, so we fished from twelve to sixteen feet.  Boom! boom!  We picked up a couple of keepers.  After an hour of fishing in this location nothing else happened, and we moved.

Straight from the southwest corner, we headed northwest to the easterly side of a small bay.  At this location we fished in ten to twelve feet for 90 minutes and picked up two more walleye to fill out the limit for the day.  Also we picked up some small northern that were thrown back.

The water in this lake was outstanding.  There was no algae and the lake had a high level of clarity.  I highly recommend Swan Lake south of Webster for some excellent fishing.

Good size Northern for Swan

Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck.   Hank

The supplier of outdoor equipment have big sales going on like I have never seen before.  Here is an excellent opportunity to buy some really expensive gear at nominal prices.  You cannot own enough gear.  Right now as I type this message, I have the urge to go over to Bass Pro and go shopping. 


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More Stories By Hank Huntington

Hank Huntington, Esq., is a native of southwest Iowa, healthcare professional, entrepreneur, accomplished pilot, hunting and fishing enthusiast, connoisseur, father and husband. He developed this web site for people to share their fun and excitement about the great outdoors. The best part of this hobby is, after a successful hunting or fishing trip, you are able to dine on fresh game or fish, after all, “ How do you eat a golf ball?” asks Hank. Hanks father and grandfather were both avid outdoorsmen so Hank learned his hunting and fishing skills from them and has passed the tradition down to the fourth generation. Plus the love of the outdoors, and a craving for exquisite dinning, would round out the package.

As a small boy, he fished a local oxbow lake formed by the Missouri River. The lake is primarily old river bottom mud, is not real clear, and has a lot of vegetation. The southeast corner holds a huge lily pad bed, and it was there Hank learned to drag through the water and across the tops of the pads, a Johnson Silver Minnow, with a pork rind attached. This was the place for big mouth bass, and there were lots of them, and young Hank loved to catch them.

At age of 12 Hank started going with his Dad hunting, and by age 14 he was an accomplished shooter with a 12-gauge pump. Shortly after that he was given his first shotgun a Winchester Model 12 pump; he still has it today. It looks like almost new, but the gun is never to be hunted again. Duck hunting in the late 50’s had little pressure after the first two weeks of the season, and when the north wind blew and it got really damp and cold, the big Canada Mallards came.

After graduation from high school, Hank attended Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska. There he met a fellow outdoorsman, and their friendship developed in the fields and streams of central Nebraska.

Hank had little time for hunting and fishing while attending professional school at Creighton University. After graduation he married his college sweetheart and they settled down to career, family, and as often as possible, hunting and fishing.

Hank and his family frequently flew their plane north to Canada to the legendary Canadian fly in lodges to fish for Northern and Walleye. Here he taught his son all the things his father had taught him about fishing. Most of the time the two went alone to the north woods, but when camping was not involved, his wife Pam went along. She always enjoys the fact that she has caught a bigger Northern Pike than Hank, and he has been fishing for 60 years. Today along the Missouri River valley, the deer population increased to the point that in many areas they are a nuisance. The duck, goose, and turkey has also population have also soared.

Area lakes have been well stocked. Many even have a walleye stocking program that makes outstanding fishing. Several are within easy driving distance of Hank’s lodge-like lakeside home. All packaged together is great dining. By the way, Hank harvests only what he will share at a table with family or friends.

Hank says, “Whenever I am on a lake, in the woods, or in the blind, I am always reminded of God’s great bounty and His constant presence. And whether in the great outdoors or at home with my wife, I strive to be a good steward of nature and all that God has given us.”

Good hunting! Good fishing! Good day!

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