The fishing on Rapid Creek in Rapid City has been fantastic lately, and there’s been multiple hatches that are creating some spectacular dry fly fishing! Whatever time you find yourself on the water here in town, there’s more than likely going to be a few fish on the surface. If not, you can likely make them come up! Nymphing is working as well, but it’s a nice change to be able to take the bobber off and cast a few dries.
If you’re an early riser and like getting on the water at a good time, there’s a great Trico hatch from sunrise until 9 or 10 in the morning. This isn’t an easy hatch to fish usually, but it can be a fun, technical one. Because the bugs are so small, the fish are usually eating pretty large numbers of them and rising steadily. This hatch seems to make the fish be pretty skittish, so keep your distance and present your fly delicately! A couple flies that work well are the Chubby Trico and the old reliable Organza Trico Spinner. Put a long tippet on your leader so you get a better drift, and fish 6X and you’ll do well!
During the day, the fish on Rapid Creek are in terrestrial mode. They’re more than willing to eat hoppers, beetles, ants, and other tidbits that might find their way into the creek. When fishing during the middle of the day, I’d look more to the fast water and oftentimes the shallower stuff as well. I guided a couple guys in town the other day and they caught a lot of fish on a size 12 Stimulator – the fish didn’t have any hesitation to eat the big fly. Many of the nicer fish were in water that was a couple feet deep or less, so don’t overlook the shallow stuff! Shaun has been doing very well on hopper patterns as well. A few flies to try in town include Hippie Stompers, Morrish Hoppers, Stimulators, Bloom’s Parachute Ant, and Bloom’s Cricket.
If you’re heading out after work, there has been a great caddis hatch in the afternoon/evening that has been bringing a lot of fish up to the surface. The fish have seemed to been keying on the skittering bugs, so a little movement is a good thing. We generally cast downstream at a 45 degree angle roughly, and hold your rod high and shake it from left to right. The shake will make your fly move forward and backward in a rapid motion as it swings across the current, and it drives fish nuts! Elk Hair Caddis are a classic and solid bet, as well as Parachute Caddis. Fish heavier tippet than you would think – 4X is a good bet, as you’re tight to your flies when the fish eat them and you’ll break them off if you fish too light.
If you like light rods and rising fish, this is a great time to be fishing on Rapid Creek right in town! We’ve been having great luck guiding as well as fishing on our own, and there’s been a number of people in the shop reporting great fishing. Get out and give it a few casts!