Fly fishing in the Black Hills has been exceptional over the past few weeks! The water has come down to very fishable levels everywhere except Rapid Creek, and the fishing has been very good. Pactola is at 102% as of yesterday, so I would look for Rapid Creek at Silver City and below the dam to be fishable within the next week or so hopefully, as well as in town. The fishing is going to be spectacular from Pactola all the way through Rapid City once the water gets below about 300 cfs!
Spearfish Creek throughout it’s entirety is fishing great! From Cheyenne Crossing all the way to the interstate has been great, and the fish have been more than eager. In the canyon, we’ve been using a lot of Czech nymphing techniques with flies such as Jig PT’s, Jig Red Butts, North Fork Specials, Yellow Spots, and UV Czechs. We’re always saying it, but don’t overlook some of the fastest water in the canyon – the fish are shoved out to the edges where they’re easy to get to, and nobody else is fishing for them! Savoy Pond and Maurice Intake are also fishing well, but you have to get a little trickier with them and use smaller dropper flies like a Two Bit Hooker or GoGo Dancer.
Rapid Creek high up in the drainage is fishing well also – Hans and I ran up by Rochford last week and caught quite a few on hopper-dropper type setups! The fish aren’t huge, but there’s lots of 10-14″ browns to be had. Hardly anybody fishing up this high either. However, if it rains, give this area a few days to clean up – it gets dirty easily.
Castle Creek above and below Deerfield is also good, as well as Ditch Creek. Above the lake the fish are suckers for attractor dry flies in fairly small sizes – Humpies, Parachute Ants, and Klinkhamers in size 12-16 will keep you into the brookies and rainbows all day long. The beaver ponds on upper Castle can be insane fishing at times! Below the lake, most folks have been fishing hopper-dropper setups, with a Morrish Hopper or Chubby Chernobyl as a lead and a Tungsten Warrior or UV Czech for a dropper fly.
Custer State Park has been decent as well. Most people are fishing French Creek and Grace Coolidge. If you want to catch wild fish, French Creek will be your best option – Hazelrodt is probably the best access point. These aren’t picky fish by any means, you can get away with some variety of attractor dry fly with a fairly large 12-14 dropper fly. There’s quite a few stocker rainbows, but also good numbers of wild brookies and browns around as well!
The hopper fishing on Crow Creek and Sand Creek has been exceptional over the past week or so. The trout in both of these streams are more than willing to move a long ways to crush a hopper pattern! Fairly long casts are necessary though, as the fish are pretty spooky. 30-45 foot casts were the rule last weekend. Patterns like Rainy’s Bullet Head Hopper, Grand Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, and Chubby Chernobyls will all put fish in the net. There’s rumors of an exceptional Trico hatch early in the morning on both of these streams also. There were a smattering of Caddis, PMD’s, and some sort of Sulphur-like mayfly still hanging around at about 9:00 am, and the fish were actively feeding on them. This is a super-snake area however; I was startled by a ridiculously large bullsnake with a circumference about the size of my calf the other day, so be cautious of the snakes if you’re headed that direction.
Box Elder, Elk, and Little Elk Creeks are all fishing well also and will continue to fish better and better as the summer wears on. Attractor dries and generic nymph droppers will keep you into the fish all day on these three streams – no need to get technical.
Fishing is the Black Hills is great right now! This is going to be the summer and fall to be here – it’s the best we’ve seen in years. I’ve had many clients lately that have been blown away by the overall quality of Black Hills fly fishing, and I know the other guides have had the same. As always, if you have any other questions about fly fishing the area, or want to hire one of our expert guides, give us a call at 605-341-2450 or shoot us an email at email@example.com!