Spring has ushered in great fishing on many of our Black Hills streams. There has been an uptick in the frequency of hatches making dry fly fishing an option daily. Nymphing has been excellent, and if you want to fish streamers, you will get results. Here is a breakdown of some of the current conditions by stream.
Rapid Creek has been great through Rapid City as well as below Pactola Reservoir. Hatches of midges and Baetis have been provided superb dry fly fishing nearly every day. The surface activity starts as early as 8:00 am and can last until mid afternoon. Typically the hatches start earlier on warmer mornings. Fishing with size 18-20 midge adult patterns and size 16-18 Baetis dries is the ticket. We have had good luck with Griffith’s Gnats, Sipper Midges, Students, CDC Thorax Duns, and CDC baetis. Below Pactola Little Black Stoneflies are hatching- this is one of the best early season hatches, and can bring even the largest fish up to the surface. We had the best luck this week with F-Fly patterns. If the hatch isn’t happening, the fish are plenty willing to hit a nymph. Hans has been using an attractor dry indicator with a quill jig nymph dropper all through town and in the basin- it’s been deadly, and you get the occasional fish that hits the attractor. For streamers it’s still hard to beat a Lil Kim.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing very well through town and in the Canyon. Little Black stoneflies are hatching throughout the canyon. You will find more midge and Baetis activity once you get down into town. Use the same flies for these hatches as those on Rapid Creek. For nymphing, be sure to try Czech nymphing- it’s been incredibly effective this spring on Spearfish Creek. Rainbow Czech nymphs and Quill Jigs are working extremely well throughout the creek.
Castle Creek is waking up from its winter slumber. Good fishing at the mouth of Deerfield lake up to the confluence of Ditch and Castle Creeks. Mostly nymphing at this point above the lake- try red copper john’s above the lake. Below the lake, little black stones are starting to hatch. Excellent opportunity to find big brookies on dries.
Spring Creek has been decent below Sheridan Lake and a few fish can be found running up out of the lake. Mostly a nymphing opportunity, with a possibility of some stones and baetis hatching below Sheridan.
Pike fishing is picking up- Pactola is open and we are seeing good numbers of fish. One of our customers managed to get a nice fish of 10-12 pounds. Fishing will only get better as the water temps slowly creep up. Be patient and fish black and purple flies, perch colored patterns, or the classic red and white. Sink tips or sinking lines are a must have right now. Sheridan Lake has also opened up, we hope to get out on the lake this weekend to give it a go. Some of the prairie lakes have been open for a while and might have more rewards in terms of numbers right now.