Fishing has been solid all around the Black Hills, and as winter slowly recedes we’ve been finding some more active fish and more places to go. The dry fly fishing has been god to great depending on the day, and fish have been more than willing to eat nymphs just about everywhere. The weather this week looks to be a nice change from what we’ve been having, and it looks like it’s going to be a great week to be out on the water in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is open and running around 70 cfs, which is a good flow for this time of year that helps move some fish around. Nymphing is going to be the most productive method, and bigger flies will work better than smaller. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, worms, Annelids, Boat Anchor Scuds, and various jigs in the 12-14 range will be the most productive flies. Make sure you get them close to the bottom! Streamers will be effective as well, with Lil’ Kims, Home Invaders, and Kreelexes being good bets on a Versileader. Rapid Creek below Pactola is flowing at 50 cfs, which is a big improvement from the wintertime flows of 20. Nymphing will be the most productive, but there’s been some fish on the surface as well. Little Black Stoneflies and BWO’s are the name of the game – F Flies, Henryville Specials, Sparkle Duns, Students, and various other small patterns in 16-20 will fool some fish. Nymphing is good with the same flies as the past several weeks. Fish a big scud or worm trailed by a Two Bit, annelid, Zebra Midge, Split Back Baetis, or UV Zebra midge. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing very well with BWO dries throughout most of the day, especially if it’s slightly overcast or not windy. Sparkle Duns and Comparaduns have been some of the best flies, but Eric’s Midges, Brook’s Sprouts, and good ol’ Parachute BWO’s have been working great in size 16-20 as well. If you find fish and they won’t eat, either drop your tippet a size or keep changing your fly. If you’re fishing while there’s not much surface action, the same nymphs as below Pactola will get the job done.
Spearfish has been fish well, and the snow in the canyon has melted considerably. There’s Little Black Stoneflies hatching, and the fish are up on them most days. Henryville Specials and F Flies are good bets. If you want to fish dries, definitely search out some of the slower sections where the fish are more likely to come to the surface. Nymphing has been great both in town and in the canyon. I’ve been using the double jig setup mostly, with a 14 for a lead fly and 16 for a dropper. Skinny Jigs, Sweet Peas, Jig Hare’s Ears, Soft Spots, and Yellow Spots are all good bets. The rainbows are spawning in the canyon right now, so be mindful of where you’re walking and don’t fish to obviously spawning fish. If there’s a lot of fish in ankle deep water, they’re most likely spawning and it’s best to leave them be.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, with Sand Creek having better dry fly fishing. There’s BWO’s and Black Stones hatching, often at the same time. The same dry flies as everywhere else will get the job done, just don’t be afraid to change until you figure out what they want. Nymphing has been good on both Crow and Sand, and the fish will typically eat fairly large flies. Soft Spots, Yellow Spots, Assassins, Peacock Jigs, Hunchback Scuds, Tung Teasers, and Brush Hogs are good starting points. If the fish get a little more selective, try a smaller 16-18 dropper fly.
Castle Creek above Deerfield has opened up, and the Rainbows from the lake should start showing up in the creek sometime in the next couple weeks. Big Scud patterns and various jigs in 14-16 will trick these fish. Castle Creek below the dam is fishing well, with a good number of fish on top eating BWO’s and Little Black Stoneflies. The same patterns as elsewhere will get the job done. Stealth is the key to catching fish below the dam on Castle Creek – they’re more spooky than they are picky!
Fishing has been solid everywhere, and should continue to be equally as good or better over the coming week. Swing by the shop if you want some tips on flies or places to go, or feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or want to go out on a guided trip with one of our expert guides!