It’s been quite some time since our last fishing report, and we apologize for that. The weather hasn’t been very conducive to fly fishing to say the least, with the last week hovering around zero for the majority of the days. This week is looking to be a heck of a lot better, with highs nearing 40 most days. This is going to create some great fishing, namely through town on Rapid Creek and on Spearfish Creek in town as well. Most of the creeks that are higher elevation are pretty iced up. This is going to be the week to get out and get your fix!
Rapid Creek through town will have some fish looking up to the surface, but I would definitely fish a dropper pattern of some variety as well. There’s a chance for a lights out midge hatch on any day throughout the winter on Rapid Creek through town, so I would definitely arm myself with a variety of adult midge patterns. Morgan’s Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, Parachute Adams, and my personal favorite, the Eric’s Midge will get it done in sizes 18-22 depending on how picky the fish are. The nymphing has been very good in town as well. Smaller jig patterns in a size 16-18 have been working well. Skinny patterns have been working rather well, as well as various flies with a hint of pink in them. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Jig Soft Spots, Tungsten Jig Baetis, and the always-good Jig Pheasant Tail have been moving a fair number of fish. If they get picky, tie on a small Green Weenie or your favorite color of Zebra Midge as a dropper. I like fishing a bigger dry fly like a Klinkhamer with a dropper a couple feet below it rather than actually nymphing this time of year, especially with the flows being fairly low like they have been. Hans has been killing it on Soft Hackles lately as well. Check out a couple of our most recent fly tying videos for some inspiration! Streamer fishing through town can be excellent as well this time of year. Kreelexes and Lil’ Kims in a size 6-8 are mostly what I use throughout the winter, but the new Doc’s articulator is a solid bet as well. The fish through town don’t like particularly large streamers, so keep your flies in the 2-3 inch range and you’ll stay into them.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is low, but the fish are still eating and pretty willing. The fish are more concentrated due to the lower water, so avoid the urge to sit on the same hole for 7 hours. It’s hard on the fish! That being said, nymphing has been good with larger patterns like San Juan Worms and Tungsten Raimnbow Czechs trailed by a smaller annelid or midge pattern of your choice. The water is very cold, so you have to get the flies right in front of their face. Like within 6 inches. Dry fly fishing is pretty limited, but you could get a fish or two up on the surface on midges. Try the same patterns as Rapid Creek in town. Streamer fishing is good as well, and will move some of the bigger fish. Kreelexes, Lil’ Kims, Doc’s Articulators, Sex Dungeons, Urchins, and whatever other big streamers you like will move fish. There’s still a fair number of fish spawning, so be mindful of the fish you’re fishing for. If there’s a twenty-some inch fish in less than a foot of water, it’s more than likely spawning and you’re better off to let them do it’s thing than to harass them. There’s plenty of other fish to chase after!
Spearfish Creek in town has been fishing well also. Nymphing has pretty much been the name of the game up there with the cold water temperatures, so I’d go armed with an arsenal of jigs and small dropper patterns. I like Soft Spots, Skinny Jigs, Pheasant Tails, Tungsten Darts, and various worms for a lead fly. The worm is one to not overlook! Fish a smaller size 16 jig or a 18-22 Green Weenie, Zebra Midge, Split Back Baetis, or little Flashback Pheasant Tail as a dropper fly if the fish get picky. There’s a lot of fish in the slower edges of the fast water, as well as in the obvious holes. The fish in Spearfish are extremely healthy and sassy this year!
Overall the fishing has been great. Get out while you can! Stop by the shop and we’ll get you the right bugs and head you in the right direction!