We’ve received some much-needed snow in the Wild West today, and it’s still coming down as rain. We’ve had little in the way of snow this winter, but this super wet snow is a great start in the right direction and we’re forecasted to get more in the coming week. We like full creeks and lakes, and the fish are pretty big fans as well. We’ve been out quite a bit during the past week, and flows are still really good for this time of year, and the fishing has been great just about everywhere we’ve been!
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well, with not a whole lot of change in the way of tactics. There’s decent numbers of midges hatching, as well as a few BWO’s, but the fish are being especially sporadic about eating them. I’d have a few Morgan’s Midges, F-Flies, and Students just in case they decide to feel like coming up. Nymphing has been super consistent, with a pretty wide variety of flies working quite well. For lead flies, I’d use something a little bigger and brighter. Size 12-16 Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Hunchback Scuds, Soft Hackle Sowbugs, and big Annelids will all make a solid bet for your first fly. For droppers, size 16-22 Green Weenies, Tungsten Split Case BWOs, Three Dollar Dips, Two Bit Hookers, and your favorite midge will all get the job done. Streamer fishing has been pretty darn good as well, with slightly larger flies on a light RIO Versileader moving some big fish. Lil’ Kims, Home Invaders, Peanuts, and Sex Dungeons would be some of my first choices. Pretty much the same story as the last several weeks! Rapid in town is fishing extremely well, with some of the best dry fly fishing around happening just a few blocks from the fly shop. BWO’s have started hatching in earnest, and the fish are eating them pretty much every day. There’s midges hatching as well, but the fish have developed a sweet tooth for the bigger BWO’s instead. Fish a Student, F-Fly, Parachute BWO, Comparadun, Sparkle Dun, or Brook’s Sprout Emerger in sizes 16-20. Fish 6x tippet, be reasonably stealthy, and you’ll do great! Nymphing has been good also. Don’t overlook the shallower, fast riffles, as there’s a lot of fish that move up into the riffles during the hatch and eat baetis emergers and nymphs. Two Bit Hookers, Tungsten Psycho Nymphs, and Split Back Baetis have been great bets fished pretty short under your indicator. If you’re nymphing the deeper holes and runs, fish a Jig PT, Jig Assassin, Hare’s Ear, or Tungsten Rainbow Czech with one of the smaller droppers behind.
Spearfish Creek is nymphing very well both in the canyon and in town. It’ll get a bit off color from the snowmelt when it warms up, but that’s not a bad thing most days. The same story as the past several weeks has been true as far as patterns go. Jigs are always a solid bet in Spearfish, with Jig Assassins, Jig PTs, Hare’s Ears, and Jig Baetis in sizes 12-16 have all been doing great. Change sizes as you move between different depths and speeds of current as needed. Midge and BWO droppers are king if the fish get picky. Green Weenies, Two Bits, Tungsten Zebras, and even small flashback Pheasant Tails have all been getting the job done. Make sure you’re getting down to the bottom and fish the slightly slower water and you’ll get into ’em!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek have both been fishing excellent, with dry flies and dry-droppers working excellent! As with Rapid Creek in town, the Blue Winged Olive hatch is king on both of these creeks. Students, F-Flies, Comparaduns, and Hackle Stackers in size 16-20 will get the job done. If the fish aren’t particularly interested in the surface pattern, put a small dropper on below and you’ll do great. If you want to nymph, fish a bigger, brighter pattern as a lead fly. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Rainbow Warriors, Boat Anchor Scuds, and Hunchback Scuds in size 12-16 are solid bets.
Spring Creek has been fishing well both by the bridges and up on the trailhead. We fished there yesterday and there was a decent midge hatch and some fish up on them. We did best nymphing with Root Beer Midges, Three Dollar Dips, Boat Anchor Scuds, and Tungsten Rainbow Czechs. Adjust as needed – these fish aren’t usually terribly picky, so you can probably fish your favorite fly and catch plenty of fish. Streamer fishing has been damn good here as well, with Lil’ Kims, Kreelexes, and Home Invaders will all move some sizeable fish.
Overall the fishing has been fantastic! We’ve had a number of guided trips out over the past week and they’ve all had exceptional days of spring fly fishing in the Black Hills. We’ve heard from a lot of folks coming through the shop that have been having great fishing as well. Swing by the shop for the latest scoop, pick up a few flies or tippet, or treat yourself to a day of fishing with one of our guides!