Roy Lake Field Report

Daniel C. Nielsen   Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:34 PM

Summertime is finally here. For many folks, summertime means a well earned vacation. An escape if you will, from the common drudgery and hum drum of the 9 to 5 world we all get caught up in. You've dreamt about it all year long. So let me ask you this?shouldn't that vacation you've been yearning for be memorable?

You can view the photos for this article here on flickr.

All of us are aware that an integral part of taking any vacation includes planning for it well in advance. Where do you go? Where do you take your family? What do you want to do? How long do you stay? What is it going to cost? Is your mother in law coming with?

For anglers, those questions are often the hardest. There are many places to fish. Many anglers opt for familiar waters closer to home. Still others like to try fishing on lakes they’ve read about in magazines or seen in photos for that trip of a lifetime and perhaps a few trophies.

If fishing is what you were born to do, or if it is something you would love to try your hand at, then sit back and listen closely. Your friends here at have exactly what you are looking for and the information to get you there.

Last month, we sent two of our field experts up to Roy Lake Resort in South Dakota, located near Lake City, South Dakota. As Larry and Todd Nielsen related to me, the fishing there and the surround area lakes before their arrival, as usual, had been good. I wasn’t surprised, since Roy Lake Resort owner Jan Thames regularly sends out an e-mail fishing report chock full of the weeks latest catches. The previous weeks fishing reports had looked awesome.

The Fishing

After Larry and Todd settled into the luxurious accommodations Roy Lake Resort has to offer, Veteran guide Gary Gangle took both of them out to Buffalo Lake (north). The weather, despite being June, was clear with a southwest wind at around 20-25 mph. Trolling, they targeted weedbeds, drop-offs and submerged islands in 15 foot of water with Rattl-Traps and caught approximately 20-25 northern and some walleye and bass.

Off to a grand start.

The next day, seen the pair venture out onto Roy Lake. Once again the weather was clear, but the wind had shifted to the northwest. Using minnows and crawlers with drifting techniques, they targeted rocks, weedbeds, drop-offs and submerged islands with 8# test to score plenty of northern and walleyes.

Talking about Day 2 of their field trip, Larry related that the fish were scattered but extremely catchable once you located them.

“The fish were harder to find than to catch,” he said. “And when you found them, you could only expect to pull out one or two before they were gone again. We didn’t spend a lot of time in any one place for very long.”

Blistering temperatures met the pair Day 3 back on Buffalo North, along with a stiff Northwest wind of 30-35 mph. The waves were big, but then so was the bite. Using the wind to their advantage, they drifted across every type of structure available in the lake. Once again, the walleyes were scattered, but the northern were willing and the crappie were on the bite and big. Average size of the crappie they caught was right at 15”.

“We opted for artificial lures on Day 3,” Larry noted. “Using minnow baits like Rapala’s and Salmo’s. We’d drift along and pop the lure every so often to see if we could get some reaction strikes. Worked great. The crappie were a pleasant surprise.”

“I still think we got there a week late,” he continued. “A week earlier, the walleye bite had hit its peak. Lots of hawgs. We’ll definitely have to factor that into our next trip up this way.”

“The water temperatures were in the mid 60’s,” Todd said, “which puts the fish right in the Summer Peak period. A week earlier might have made a small difference. The deeper weedbeds would have been just starting to emerge which might have concentrated a few more fish.”

Day 4 brought calm and more blistering temps on Buffalo North. Trolling with minnow type artificial lures as well as the traditional crawler harnesses, they limited out on walleye and caught more big crappie and plenty of northern and bass.

“The weed growth practically exploded those last two days. Put some definition on the weedbeds and made it a bit easier to target active fish.”

The Accomodations

“Well,” I said, “let’s talk about accommodations and service. Up to par?”

Both Larry and Todd agreed.

“We’ve stayed in plenty of resorts,” Larry replied. “Jan operates the nicest resort we’ve ever stayed in. That isn’t an exaggeration either. Top notch service and five star accommodations. The photos we took don’t nearly do justice to the cabins.”

“So it was well worth the trip up there?”

“I don’t think anyone who makes the trip up here will ever leave disappointed. The fishing is some of the best in the country. And with accommodations like the cabins Jan provides, it’s hard to leave.”

“I take it then,” I said, “a return trip is in the works?”

“You better believe it,” Larry replied.

The Guide Service

“So let’s get to the Guide Service. Gary Gangle. Impressions.”

“Top notch. Definitely knows where the fish are and what lakes the hottest bites are happening on. Plus, he can clean a mess of pike quicker than you.”

“Must have a sharper knife,” I replied.

“Uh, yeah, that’s it.” Larry snickered.

“He’s extremely good at what he does,” Todd related. “Wish we would have had a few more days to spend with him.”

“I understand he guides on more than just Roy and Buffalo?”

“From what we gather, he guides on all the surrounding lakes. Most guides only know a few lakes. I’m betting he knows close to a dozen. Maybe more. There are a lot of lakes up there.”

“I remember. For the sake of our readers, suppose someone wants to get in touch with him for some time on the water. How they go about it?

“You can get in touch with him either through Jan, or contact him by phone at (605) 448-5751. Best call him as early as you can in the year. He keeps busy.”

The Glacial Lakes Association

The Glacial Lakes Association

P.O. Box 244
Watertown, SD 57201
Phone: 1-800-244-8860 or (605) 886-7305

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include more information on what this area has to offer not just anglers, but outdoorsman in general.

Roy Lake Resort is part of the Glacial Lakes Association. An area fishing report can be found here at this link:

Jan provides a fishing report as do other resorts/lakes in the area.

Additionally, There are hunting, hiking and snowmobiling opportunities to be had. Plenty of turkey, deer, and pheasant in the area, all of which Jan would be happy to provide accommodations for year round.

Check out the websites we’ve listed and book some reservations. I can personally guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Contact Info

Guide: Gary Gangle-(605) 448-5751.

Roy Lake Resort & Lodge
Phone: 1 (605) 448 - 5498
11571 Northside Drive
Lake City, South Dakota 57247


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re: dGpfUJuC50
7/12/2013 5:49:08 AM  Nisha says,

BTW, thanks so much for the cosntant updates. I've heard one decent report from a friend of a friend, they got around 40 in four days between 5 guys. Nothing real big, biggest was 26 . One 35 sturgie in the boat and another broke off. They were somewhere out of birchdale. Not sure on color, bait, or depth though, sorry!

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