History, adventure, and recreation are just a few of the incredible attributes to Mighty Mo’s waters. The Missouri River is an incredible piece of our great state. The river is 2,341 miles long beginning in Montana and ending in Missouri. South Dakota claims over 1,000 miles of Mighty Mo’s shoreline. This is divided into four lakes/reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis & Clark Lake. Lake Oahe stretches from Bismarck, ND to our capitol Pierre, SD. Lake Sharpe begins at Oahe Dam and flows south about 80 miles to Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson, SD. Lake Francis Case is our gentle giant among the four reservoirs beginning at Big Bend Dam and winding all the way down to Fort Randall Dam. Finally, we have Lewis and Clark Lake the smallest of the four reservoirs heading from Fort Randall dam on down to Gavin’s Point Dam.
The gentle giant of the four reservoirs, Lake Francis Case, is where we will focus. Lake Francis Case has 540 miles of shoreline, has an area of 102,000 acres, and a maximum depth of 140 feet. This area of the Mighty Mo is home to all kinds of recreation and adventure. The Chamberlain – Oacoma areas are host to many fishing tournaments throughout the year including, ice fishing, and walleye tournaments. The National Walleye Tour will be hosted in Chamberlain-Oacoma this upcoming April 29th – 30th. Our area will be expecting one hundred and fifty pro anglers as well as one hundred and fifty co-anglers. This nationally televised event is sure to attract anglers from all over the nation.
In addition to our fishing, we are home to the best pheasant hunting in the area! Known as the “Golden Triangle” Chamberlain-Oacoma sits in the heart of South Dakota’s best pheasant hunting habitat. Thunderstik Lodge located on nearly 8,000 acres of prime hunting land has gained notoriety all over the world for their hospitality and expertise.
If you want to make some “reel” memories fishing Lake Francis Case will do the job! Some of the experts in our area such as Allen’s Guide service stated, “The largest walleye he has personally caught was 10.5 lbs.” Mike Allen said, “It is not unusual that Allen’s Guide Service will bring in over 100 walleye in a day.” Gary suggested using one quarter to one half ounce jig with shiner minnows, which can be picked up in Chamberlain or Oacoma. Gary also suggested a four-to-six-pound line using medium to heavy action rods.
“Chamberlain-Oacoma is one of the premier areas to catch walleye between Lake Francis Case and the lower part of Lake Sharpe. Not uncommon in the core part of the to catch 75 to 100 plus fish per day. There is not a better place in the country to take your friends and family for a great time. In the early part of the season (March – April) fish can be little more temperamental, but the size is generally bigger. This is the most enjoyed time of the year by our anglers. A person can consistently catch walleye using vertical or casting jigs. Regarding tournaments, fisherman, can
slow troll lead core which might produce a big one! After spawning season, the action picks up, with much more consistency of 15 to 20 walleye. Bottom bouncers and crawlers are good. Anglers catch their limits daily. We can pull walleye from Lake Francis Case from March until the river freezes up.” -Mike Allen, Allen’s Guide Service
Raymond Pickner who runs the Cedar Shore Marina said his favorite time fishing the Mighty Mo was when he pulled in 115 lb. paddlefish! Raymond also suggested in early spring north toward Crow Creek was a great area to pull in walleye. When you head into the Chamberlain and Oacoma area be sure to stop by Allen’s Guide Service and the Marina at Cedar Shore to swap fishing stories or ask any questions you may have.
The Chamberlain Oacoma area is a fantastic vacation destination for the avid sportsman as well as families. From our waterslides to our Akta Lakota Museum and Dignity sculpture we also offer shopping, recreational activities like Back 2 Bliss paddle board yoga, camping, hunting, fishing, restaurants, and many events throughout the year.
Aside from cooking up your catch we have a host of restaurants you can visit. From hearty meals at Main St. Café & Market, delicious steaks at Buzzard’s Bar & Grill, to sizzling fajitas at Mi Pueblo your tastebuds will be satisfied. The Chamberlain-Oacoma area have the most charming downtown stores that will guarantee a wonderful shopping experience.
Visit boutiques like 108 Affinity Salon & Spa for clothing, accessories, hair services and spa services. Take a step back in time visiting Al’s Oasis and Old West Trading Post for gifts and antiques. Stop in at the Akta Lakota Museum where they are committed to promoting the knowledge and understanding of the Northern Plains Indian Culture past, present, and future. The Chamberlain-Oacoma area businesses are committed to our visitors and we look forward to having you. Make these two cities on the Mighty Mo your next travel destination.