60 degrees today in Rapid City, and a whopping 67 tomorrow! The fishing opportunities this weekend will be fantastic, with many places to go. Options are good. Dries? There should be plenty. Nymphing is always a good option. Streamer fishing will be good for those hunting for a couple of big fish as well. It’s not very often that we see weather like this in February, so take advantage of it!
Dry fly fishing should be good on Rapid Creek, Sand Creek, Crow Creek, and Spring Creek. Midges are still the primary hatch of choice, but the Blue Winged Olives are going to pop any day now. When looking for rising fish, especially on midges, take your time and don’t be afraid to watch a promising run for a few minutes. The riseforms can be incredibly subtle during the winter months, and oftentimes all you will see is the tiniest piece of the fishes snout and a bulge of water. That being said, if you know there’s fish in a good-looking dry fly run, take a few minutes and take it all in – you’ll more than likely find fish that you might have otherwise walked past. Good flies for the midge hatch will be Eric’s Midges, Morgan’s Midges, F-Flies, and Griffith’s Gnats. If you start seeing Baetis, put on a small Student, Smoke Jumper, CDC Thorax Dun, or a Parachute BWO in 18-22.
Nymphing will be good just about anywhere you find yourself this weekend, with little variation in the way of fly choice. We’re almost always fishing a double fly rig with a small dropper. For lead flies, try a Tungsten Rainbow Czech, Tungsten San Juan, Jig Pheasant Tail, Jig Assasin, or a Hunchback Scud. Behind that try a Three Dollar Dip, Two Bit Hooker, Killer Mayfly Nymph, WD-40, or your favorite flavor of Zebra Midge. If you’re nymphing make sure your getting your flies really close to the bottom. The water is still pretty cold, and if the fish are on the bottom, you need to be too.
If you’re hunting for a big fish, streamer fishing is definitely your best option. A lighter RIO Versileader is a necessity to keep your flies down in the strike zone this time of year – I like the 3-4 inch per second flavors. As far as fly selection goes, there really is no rhyme or reason to it. Get your fly out there and if it’s not working, change your size or color or both. I’ve had consistent success on Lil’ Kims, Home Invaders, Kreelexes, and Sculpzillas. Don’t be afraid to go pretty heavy on your tippet also. I like 10 pound Maxima for about all of my streamer fishing, mostly because you don’t lose many flies. The fish don’t seem to be tippet shy whatsoever when they’re chasing a substantial size streamer, so don’t go too light!
The fishing this weekend should be fantastic, and the weather is going to be as well. Stop by the shop for all your Black Hills Fly Fishing needs before you head out!