Fishing in the Hills is good. Real good. Some people have been intimidated by the thought of the higher water, but the water isn’t really all that crazy right now. Yes, Rapid Creek is very high, and they’re trying to lower Pactola which is causing the flows to stay rather high. With that being said, the fishing is going to be off the wall as soon as the water comes down – the fish are going to be a good bit larger than they were last year. High water means happy trout. Just about all of the streams other than Rapid Creek are fishing great, and we’ve been having some really good dry fly fishing on some local lakes!
Spearfish Canyon as a whole is fishing well, including most all of the tributary streams! The water will spike a little bit with each rain we get, but it’s been trending downwards. The nymphing has been good, and is your best bet to get into numbers of fish. However, the Little Black Stoneflies have been hatching as well, and the hatches have been thick. Even if the water is slightly off color, the fish have been up on them in really good numbers. Little Spearfish, Hanna, and upper Spearfish have all been good bets also.
Just over the border in Wyoming, Sand Creek has also been fishing well. Sand is pretty much normal flows – it’s such a short stream that the rainfall seldom affects it, and if it does it’s only for a few hours. Dry-dropper setups are the most effective setups right now. I’d recommend a Parachute Ant or Beetle or a Klinkhamer for a lead fly with a Tungsten Psycho or Tung Teaser dropped below it about two feet.
Crow Creek is a little higher than normal, but the streamer fishing should be good. Once it comes down to around 70 cfs, the nymphing will pick up steam as well! Streamers will pick up some of the larger fish in Crow, which can be surprisingly big for the size of the stream. If you’re heading to Crow, keep your eye out for snakes as well.
Grace Coolidge in Custer State Park has been stocked, and is fishing well. If you’re looking to get into some slightly easier fish, or have a beginner, this is a great place for that. Smaller streamers, as well as standard larger nymphs have been producing well.
Sylvan and Center Lakes have been having great fishing over the past few weeks, and also some of the best dry fly fishing we’ve seen so far this year! The Callibaetis hatch has been thick, especially on Center Lake. The trout have been eagerly eating them, and a number of different patterns have been producing. Parachute Calliabetis, Parachute Adams, Klinkhamers, and large Smoke Jumpers or Students have been working when the fish are up on the surface. During the sunnier parts of the day when the fish are a few feet down, a Mini Leech on an intermediate line will keep you in the fish most all of the day. There’s been talk through the grapevine of Sheridan Lake having some great trout fishing too, as well as Dalton Lake.
Pike. Pactola. If you haven’t done it, get out in the next few weeks and give it a shot. We’ve been catching some very, very nice Pike over the past couple weeks. Big flies fished on a fairly quick retrieve have been getting smashed by big Northerns in the 10-20 pound range. Use 50-80 pound hard saltwater fluoro for bit tippet – you’ll get a lot more hits than using standard wire.
The Missouri River near Pierre has been fishing pretty darn good as well! The White Bass fishing is still good, and the Smallmouth Bass are just starting to heat up. We fished on Lake Oahe, as well as Lake Sharpe near Pierre and West Bend and caught fish everywhere we went. It wasn’t hot and heavy, but we caught 8 or 10 fish at each place we stopped. The smallmouth fishing should be incredible over the next few weeks!
That’s a wrap! The fishing has been great, and will continue to get nothing but better over the next few weeks. The water we’ve been getting is going to keep the fishing great over the course of the summer and well into the fall. We’re in good shape for the rest of the year! Our guides have all been having great success as well, so if you’re in the area and are looking to learn about Black Hills flyfishing, book one of our expert guides for a day – you’ll be glad you did! As always, feel free to call or email if you have any questions about Black Hills fishing!