Blog Post

Exploring Francis Case Reservoir

My wife and I fished for 1.5 days fishing on Lake Francis Case at Platte South Dakot

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 so 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: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/Lake_Proj/fortrandall/welcome.html.  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



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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