Fishing in the Black Hills continues to be great, with quite a few opportunities to toss some dry flies to rising fish. The unseasonable weather has continued thanks to El Nino, and has created some great winter fly fishing here in the Hills. The midges have been coming off in good numbers, and have been supplemented by a pretty healthy hatch of BWO’s in the past week or so. The weather over the next week is looking to be fantastic, with highs in the 50’s to 60’s – it’s going to be a great week to be on the water!
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well primarily with nymphs, but there are some limited dry fly opportunities as well. Fishing with bigger, brighter nymphs as a lead fly has been the ticket lately with a smaller, more realistic dropper pattern. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Flashback Sowbugs, Amexes, Jig Pheasant Tails, and G-String Worms have all been solid lead flies, and are heavy enough to get down without a whole lot of additional weight. For droppers, baetis and midges are your best bet. Two Bit Hookers, Tungsten Ready Baetis, Green Weenies, Bubble Back Midges, and Three Dollar Dips will get the job done. 6x tippet is a good bet, and make sure you’re getting down to the bottom and you’ll get into the fish. There’s been a sporadic midge and baetis hatch, so I’d have a couple small Students, F-Flies, or Morgan’s Midges if I was heading to the basin. Streamer fishing is always a good bet this time of year! Circus Peanuts, Sex Dungeons, Home Invaders, and Lil’ Kims have all been getting their fair share of attention.
Dry fly fishing in town has been fantastic. The midges are still hatching, and the Blue Winged Olives have just shown up in the last week or so. The fish have definitely taken notice of the BWO’s! They aren’t pushovers by any means, but the right fly presented correctly will get you into fish. I had my best success with CDC Thorax Duns, F- Flies, Students, and small parachute BWO’s. 6x tippet was the name of the game, with a bit longer tippet than normal getting you a beet drift. I ran into some especially nice fish in town, and was really surprised at the quality and size of the fish. Depending on the day, if you’re on the water by 9:30 or so you’re in good shape to hit the meat of the hatch. If you’re more inclined to nymph, the standard fare has all been producing well – Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Jig Hare’s Ears, Jig Pheasant Tails, and whatever your favorite flavor of midge or baetis trailer fly is.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing well both in the canyon and in town. The patterns have been the same both places, with nymphing being the method of choice. Jig Assassins, Jig Pheasant Tails, Jig Hare’s Ears (see the pattern?), Jig North Forks, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and Rianbow Warriors have all been good lead flies. Trail behind with a Two Bit Hooker, Green Weenie, Tungsten Split Back Baetis, or Bubble Back Midge. In Spearfish Creek this time of year, be sure to focus on the little bit slower, little bit deeper water. The water temperatures are still pretty darn cold, so the fish are in the water that’s easier for them to hold in without expending a lot of energy.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek have been fishing excellent as of late, with a great baetis hatch on both. While the fish on these two creeks aren’t generally very particular about fly patterns, they are pretty darn spooky. Focus on your presentation, and be stealthy. Take your time wading up the creek, and cast to every likely looking spot. Fish on Crow and Sand have a strange habit of holding in really skinny water that doesn’t look like much. Fly-wise, all the same patterns as Rapid Creek in town have been working just fine!
Spring Creek has been fishing well also, with a variety of techniques getting the job done. Nymphing has been business as usual, just avoid the really slow water or you’ll be in chub city. There’s a been a midge hatch some days as well, with no real rhyme or reason to what day it comes off. Basic patterns will suffice here, with F-Flies, Morgan’s Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, and even small Parachute Adams doing just fine. Streamer fishing is always a viable option to catch one of the big browns that call Spring Creek. Circus Peanuts, Home Invaders, and Lil Kims are all good bets, fished on a 3-4 inch per second sink tip to get them down just a bit.
Castle Creek has recently opened up a bit and a lot of the snow has melted, making the hike up to the dam much more enjoyable. The fishing has been pretty darn good also, with BWO’s coming off in good numbers. Nymphing is great as well, just keep your flies heavy and in the 16-18 range and you’ll be into the brookies!
Fishing has been fantastic overall! We have guided trips out quite a few days this week and throughout the rest of the month, but call us for your Black Hills guided fly fishing needs – we’ll get you penciled in. Stop by the shop and get outfitted with flies, tippet, leaders, or that new rod you’ve been wanting before Spring fly fishing really kicks off!