We’re in an unseasonably warm weather pattern, and the fishing’s been great! The weather for mid-December has been warm to say the least, with highs in the fifties and sixties over the past week. The fishing has reflected that, and everyone that’s been in the shop has been reporting good to great fishing, and we’ve been catching a fish or two ourselves.
Rapid Creek flows have been reduced to 35 cfs below Pactola for the Basin project, which is way lower than we’ve been used to this year but is still a great flow for early winter. There is some equipment down there, so be mindful while fishing this stretch. That aside, the fishing is still great – streamers, streamers, streamers! I’ve been almost strictly fishing streamers and doing really well, and we’ve been moving some big fish as well. Nymphing the standard wintertime scud-and-a-midge rig will keep you into lots of fish as well. Hans and I fished in town today and did great. We had luck on dry-dropper rigs with a size 18 tungsten midge dropper, and picked up a lot of fish in surprisingly shallow water. Jig flies did the trick as always in the water that was too fast or deep for the dry dropper. Streamers attracted a lot of attention as well, with a lot of follows and quite a few commitments! I did best on a Lil’ Kim in a size 4-6. Fishing in town has something to offer for everyone, and the dry fly fishing should just continue to build steam!
Spearfish Creek in the canyon is going to be real cold during most of the day, but is still fishing well in the open spots. If I was going to fish the canyon, I’d fish a midge off of a jig fly and I wouldn’t get there until 11 in the morning or so. The best fishing will most definitely be midday! Spearfish Creek in town is excellent right now, and nymphing is going to be your best bet to stay hooked up. Jig nymphs trailed by your favorite flavor of midge will do the trick. Streamers are an overlooked way to fish Spearfish as well, especially if you commit to it and work your way downstream and hit every likely pocket. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the size of the fish that you otherwise probably wouldn’t see!
Spring Creek is fishing well both by the bridges and on the trailhead, but could ice up after a few cold nights. Standard nymph and streamer fare will work just fine here, but there’s always the possibility of a great winter midge hatch!
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been fishing well! I’d stay away from here if the weather is going to be cold however – it’s usually considerably colder up there. The dry fly fishing on Castle can be spectacular given the right conditions in the winter, and the nymphing is always good as well. I’d stay fairly small and pink for nymphs and you’ll do just fine.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are the wintertime dry fly fisherman’s mecca of the Black Hills. If you want to fish dries, these are the two creeks to focus your efforts on! Over the next several weeks it will be primarily midges, and it will slowly transition over to predominantly BWO mayflies. If you’re heading north to either of these spring creeks, have a solid selection of midge dries and nymphs for droppers.
Overall the fishing is still great, and we’re keeping a spectacular season rolling! There’s a few pictures at the bottom of this post from the past couple days for your trout enjoyment. Stop by the shop before heading out and we will get you set up and head you in the right direction!