Fishing here in the Black Hills continues to be great! The water has been a little higher than normal, but very fishable. From dries to nymphs to streamers, we’ve been having pretty good success nearly everywhere! Here’s a short breakdown of each watershed.
Rapid Creek continues to be high and clear, and fishing very well. The Trico hatch is just getting going in town, and the fish are taking notice of it! Quite a few fish up on top early, and they’re pretty willing to eat a variety of trico patterns if you hit it right. Nymphing in town through the heat of the day with worms, caddis patterns, and a variety of midges and mayflies has been putting fish in the net as well. In the evenings, caddis have been coming off in good numbers, and we’ve been having good success skittering caddis close to the banks – fun fishing that makes for some explosive takes. Below Pactola has been fishing good as well, mostly with PMD nymphs, Worms, and Baetis nymphs. There are also good numbers of Yellow Sallies, PMDs, BWOs, and Midges hatching throughout the day. There are definitely some dry fly opportunities, but nymphing is still your best bet for hooking up!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing great – lots of fish that are more than willing to eat nymphs! The key to fishing Spearfish right now is to not overlook the faster pocket-water stuff. There’s ton of fish in the fast water that are game to eat bigger tungsten nymphs. Don’t hesitate to use large, heavy flies, and additional weight if needed. Large Red Fox Squirrels, and a variety of jig flies have been getting it done for me, in sizes 12-16. If the fish get picky, tie a small dropper off the end of your lead fly and throw on a smaller midge or baetis pattern and you’ll pick up a few bonus fish. Above Savoy there have been quite a few fish eating ants and beetles as well. It’s been great, and if you’re a Tenkara aficianado, this is the creek for you!
Castle and Ditch Creek have been great brook trout fishing, and above the lake is the place to go if you like to fish big, bushy attractor dry flies. Not big fish, but really good numbers. The brookies up there are more than willing to plow any number of larger dry flies, which makes for exciting fishing! Humpies, Beetles, Parachute Hopppers, and big Parachute Adams are the way to go, in sizes 10-16. If the fish get picky, or if you hit a bigger pool where they’re harder to tempt up to the surface, put on a Tung Teaser or a Psycho dropper and go to town. Fun, relatively easy fishing!
Spring Creek is getting a little on the warm side, but should still hold out as long as it doesn’t get much warmer. Focus your efforts on the trailhead up to the dam, and you’ll be rewarded. The flows are pretty high, but still very fishable. Bigger nymphs will do the job up there, such as North Fork Specials, Tung Teasers, G-Strings, Kern River Emergers, and Prince Nymphs will get the job done. Weight is your friend on Spring Creek right now.
Custer State Park has been fishing pretty reliably lately, with the lakes having the best fishing. Grace Coolidge Creek below Center Lake has been fishing well, and I’ve heard French Creek has been alright some days. Sylvan Lake and Center Lake have both been fishing well with intermediate lines and small streamers, and with Callibaetis dries in the evenings. A belly boat or pontoon boat is a big advantage, but you can have good success from shore as well.
Most all of the creeks and streams in the Black Hills are fishing great, and it’s shaping up to continue to be a great summer of fishing! Feel free to call or email the shop if you have any other questions, as always. Thanks for reading!