The water has come down quite a bit on most of our streams over the past week, and most places – with the exception of Rapid Creek – are back down to near normal levels. The fishing has been excellent nearly everywhere, and even Rapid Creek has some great fishing from Pactola through Rapid City. Warmwater fishing opportunities for bass are getting started as well – it’s going to be a great week to be on the water in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is blown out. It’s going to be a couple weeks at the least before above the lake is fishable we would guess.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is really high. Nymph fishing is possible with big worms, scuds, and mop flies, but the water is up onto the grass and it’s tough to nymph fish without getting snagged up a ton. If you find a soft spot without a ton of junk in it, the above flies trailed by a Split Back BWO or Slim Jim in 14-16 will work well. Streamer fishing is probably the best option up there right now. Sink tips are a must have right now – either a Rio Versileader or a sinking tip fly line in Type 3-6 will be enough to help keep your flies down where the fish are. A wide variety of streamers can work – Lil Kims, Home Invaders, Dungeons, Threesomes, Silk Kittens, and Swimmy Jimmies are good choices, but adjust as necessary. Anywhere where the current is broken you’ll find some fish!
Rapid Creek in town is also really high, but the fishing is good in the slower spots. Nymphing with big flies in the slack water has been effective. The fish are especially fat and sassy with the higher flows, so the fish you catch are definitely in good shape. Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies, Rubber Legs, San Juans, and various big jig nymphs in size 10-14 are good choices. You won’t need much additional weight since the water the fish are in is pretty slow, but if you’re not getting down don’t be afraid to put on a split shot. Finding the soft water is the key in town right now. Soft inside edges and places where the current is broken by rocks etc will be your best bet.
Spearfish Creek has been avoiding the vast majority of the rain, and is in good shape. Fishing has been excellent in the canyon and in town, with the fish being pretty willing on both surface and subsurface presentations. With as low as the water is, you can get away with a dry-dropper in the vast majority of the water. For dries, try a Klinkhamer, User Friendly, Hippie Stomper, Fat Frank, or Bloom’s Parachute Ant. Good dropper patterns are Perdigons, Skinny Jigs, Slim Jims, Rainbow Warriors, Tungsten Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Assassins, and numerous other slender-bodied fly patterns in size 14-18. The slower the water, the smaller your fly should be. If you’re fishing in town, smaller terrestrial patterns should be on the menu as well. Foam Beetles, Parachute Ants, User Friendlies, and smaller hopper patterns are good flies fished closed to the bank.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is a good option as well, and has come down to 40 cfs which is a solid flow. This is fun, unsophisticated fishing. Fish any of the dry-droppers you would use on Spearfish Creek, and focus on the bends more than the straight stretches. The fish are pretty willing most days, especially if you’re stealthy. There’s not much in the way of cover on the banks to hide your approach, so moving slow is key. The fishing is great and there’s plenty of water to explore!
Sand Creek is fishing well, and you can get away with mostly fishing terrestrial patterns. Beetles, Ants, smaller Hoppers, and Hippie Stompers will work great. The fish are more squirrelly than they are selective, so be mindful of where you’re walking/wading and you will find some fish. If the fish get selective or won’t eat the dry in the middle of the day, drop a Perdigon, Skinny Jig, or Tungsten Zebra Midge below as a dropper in 16-20. There are good numbers of caddis around in the evenings as well – try a Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, Elk Hair, Henryville Special, or CDC Caddis in size 16. Sand Creek is a ton of fun to fish in the summer, but be mindful of snakes.
Spring Creek is good, and the flows have come down considerably. A wide variety of nymphs will work well, with stuff in the 12-16 range being the most effective. Hare’s Ears, Prince Nymphs, Mop Flies, Worms, and various jigs will get the job done. All of the bridges are blown out from the high water on the trailhead, but the fishing by the road is great. Good fishing close to town!
Warmwater fishing has been picking up after a rough spring for pike. Bass fishing is great both in the hills and on the prairie, and there’s some limited pike fishing around right now as well. Stockade and Sheridan are fishing well for both largemouth and smallmouth. Prairie lakes are fishing well, and there’s a ton of them to try! Poppers and Boogle Bugs are fishing well early and late, and Grim Reapers, Clousers, and Murdiches are good bets during the day. Branch out from trout fishing this summer!
Fishing has been excellent, and will continue to be great. We’ve had a lot of guided trips out lately, and they’ve been super successful – if you want a great Black Hills fishing experience, hire one of our guides for an outing! Feel free to give us a call before you head out for the latest report, or swing by our new shop for the latest flies, gear, and intel before you head out as well.