We’ve had a good number of folks in and out of the shop that are heading out fishing this week, and the fishing has been great! Flyfishing throughout the Black Hills has been great, and we’ve been getting a few much-needed thunderstorms over the past few days. Because of the scattered rainshowers, a few creeks have been up and down, and can get muddy for a little bit. Check the flow chart before you go out if you have somewhere specific in mind!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been off color, and honestly hasn’t been that great in the Silver City area. If you really wanted to fish there, either use larger nymphs like worms and stoneflies, or fish pretty substantial streamers on a lighter sink tip. Up higher on Rapid Creek has been fishing great, and the fish have been looking up. The Black Fox and Rochford areas can be easily fished with a dry-dropper setup. Klinkhamers, Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators, and Purple Hazes have been great dries in size 12-18. You can fish the dry alone and do just fine as well, if you’re so inclined. If you’re going to fish a dropper, Tungsten Psychos, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, Tung Teasers, and various midge patterns in 16-20 are good bets. Below Pactola has been pretty darn busy as of late, but the fishing continues to be good if you don’t mind the people. There have been good hatches of midges, as well as a few scattered Yellow Sallies and Caddis. The midge hatch is of the most importance – Morgan’s Midges, Eric’s Midges, and the always reliable Griffith’s Gnat have been good patterns. Keep them small in the 18-22 range and you’ll be in good shape. Nymphing has been the best option, with a wide variety of patterns working well. Use whatever your favorite large lead fly is, and trail it with a small midge or baetis pattern. Green Weenies, Two Bit Hookers, Tungsten Split Back Baetis, T. Ready Baetis, and Bubble Back Midges are all good dropper patterns. Make sure you fish them on 5x or 6x and you’ll find some fish! Streamer fishing is another option, and there’s been some really big fish taken lately on some enormous flies. The fishing in town has been fantastic, and is some of the best fishing around! There’s already Tricos hatching in the mornings, so if you’re an early riser there’s some great fishing to be had. The bugs come back to the water around 6-6:30, and there’s fish on them until mid-morning. The Chubby Trico is my favorite pattern, but there’s a lot of other good ones as well. There are Caddis hatching in the evenings, and Shaun has been catching them on smaller hoppers and ants already. Nymphing has been great with more or less standard in-town fare. Party Crashers, Assassins, Jig Pheasant Tails, Red Fox Squirrel Nymphs, and Tungsten Rainbow Czechs make good lead flies. Three Dollar Dips, Root Beer Midges, Bubble Backs, and Two Bit Hookers trailed behind will pick up a few bonus fish as well. If you’re heading out in town, don’t overlook the shallow water that’s moving at a pretty good pace. There’s a lot of fish in stuff that’s not even knee deep!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing fantastic, both in town and in the canyon. In the canyon, nymphing is going to be your best bet. Tight-line style fishing will be your best bet. Czech nymphing, Tenkara, and in-line indicator rigs will catch many more fish than a traditional Thingamabobber style setup, mostly due to the speed of the water. Jig Assassins, Jig Pheasant Tails, Party Crashers, and Jig Hare’s Ears are all productive patterns. If you want to just fish one fly, you’ll do just fine. If you want to fish a dropper, Green Weenies, Two Bit Hookers, Three Dollar Dips, Serendipities, and Root Beer Midges will seduce the pickier fish! Spearfish Creek in Spearfish has been fishing exceptionally well also, with more dry fly opportunities. You’ll probably catch more fish nymphing with the same stuff as the canyon, but there’s been some good terrestrial fishing also. Chubby Chernobyls, Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and Parachute Ants have been good flies on top. Fish them right next to the bank for best results! I like fishing a Chubby Chernobyl as a top pattern because you can see it from a mile away and they float like a cork. Put a Party Crasher 2-3 feet underneath and you’ll stay into the fish! As with Rapid Creek in town, don’t overlook the fast, shallow stuff.
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been fishing well, with a hodgepodge of dry fly and nymph fishing producing fish. The Kinney Canyon walk-in area has been a solid bet, and there hasn’t been a lot of pressure. Dry-dropper setups have been a good bet, with the same flies as Rapid Creek in town working well. Castle Creek fish generally aren’t too particular about the fly pattern, but a good presentation is key. Try a Stimulator, Klinkhamer, or Bloom’s Parachute Ant for the dry. Above the lake is fishing well also, both on Castle and Ditch Creeks. The fish generally aren’t super big, but what they lack in size they make up for in enthusiasm!
Sand Creek and Crow Creek are fishing well, and as usual are some of your best bets for dry fly fishing. There’s hatches of Yellow Sallies and a few caddis, and the fish will eat small terrestrials like beetles and ants as well. Be wary of snakes on both of these creeks from now throughout the summer – there’s a lot of them!
Spring Creek is fishing well both by the bridges and up on the trailhead. It’s a bit off color from the rains this week, but the fishing has been consistent. There’s been a lot of folks just fishing dry flies here and doing well, with surprisingly big flies. Stimulators and Elk Hair Caddis make good attractors, as well as the always-great Klinkhamer. Nymphing is probably a more consistent bet most days, however. With the lower water, keep your flies a bit smaller and lighter and you’ll do great. Tung Teasers, North Fork Specials, Root Beer Midges, Three Dollar Dips, and various midge patterns will work well.
If you’re into small streams, all of the little creeks around the Hills are fishing very well and can be fished with dry flies primarily! Purple Hazes, Parachute Adams, Klinkhamers, small Stimulators, and whatever other dry flies you like will bring fish up. The fish generally aren’t super big, but it’s fun fishing. You can put a fly on, and more or less fish the same pattern all day. Presentation is key on the smaller streams, and the fish aren’t super picky!
Overall the fishing has been great throughout the Black Hills! We’ve been guiding a fair amount, and we’ve all been having some very successful trips and happy clients. Our calendar is booking up a bit for the summer season, so if you want to hire one of our guides for a fantastic day of fishing in the Hills, book sooner rather than later. Hiring a guide is a great way to see some of the best water in the Black Hills! If you’re more into DIY trips, swing by the shop and we can get you the right flies and a map and get you sent in the right direction!