The weather and fishing have both been solid over the past week, and it looks like there’s going to be some great opportunities to get out this week as well! We’re slowly climbing out of the short days of the winter solstice, and the fishing has been steadily improving since then. There’s some solid fishing to be had this time of year, and we’re starting to see some dry fly opportunities as well.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is still at 35 cfs, which is a great flow for this time of year. There’s some fish on the surface on midges in the afternoons, and they can be kind of tricky. Various small midge patterns will work well – F Flies, CDC Midges, Eric’s Midges, Morgan’s Midges, and Sipper Midges in size 18-22 will work well if you see some fish on the surface. 6x tippet and longer leaders are your friend for fishing on the surface in the winter. Long tippets pile up when you cast them, and help you get longer drifts in tricky currents. Nymphing is working well if you don’t see fish on the top. Use a heavy scud or worm for your lead fly, and trail a midge or baetis pattern below. Any number of midge patterns will work just fine, just don’t be afraid to change sizes/colors if you’re not doing well. The fish change what they like day to day, so don’t hesitate to change it up a bit.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing good to great depending on the day. Nymphing has been a solid bet, mostly with jigs and midges. Slim Jims, Assassins, Soft Spots, Jig Hare’s Ears, and Skinny Jigs are good bets in size 14-16 for your first fly. Drop a midge or smaller nymph below to pick up some bonus fish. Zebra Midges, Skinny Nelsons, Bling Midges, Pheasant Tails, and WD-40s are good dropper flies in size 18-20. The fish have spread out a bit from, so don’t hesitate to fish some of the shallower water as well. There are a few fish up on midges on the nicer days, so definitely have a few dries if you’re headed out. The same patterns as below Pactola will work great!
Spearfish Creek is fishing great, both in town and in the canyon. Nymphs will be your best bet with the cooler water. Slim Jims, Skinny Jigs, Assassins, Duracells, and Bloom’s Red Butt Jigs are great lead flies in size 14-16. You can get away with the larger flies in most spots, but if you’re in the slower stuff you might need to drop a smaller nymph off the back of your jig fly. Zebra Midges, Lightning Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Two Bit Hookers, and various other small, slender dropper patterns in size 18-20 will get it done. There’s lots of fish in the choppy, thigh deep water this time of year, so don’t limit yourself to just the big holes.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well. Nymphing was best last time I was up there, but there’s definitely some opportunities for a BWO hatch this time of year. Various larger nymph patterns worked just fine – Soft Spots, Yellow Spots, Sexy Walt’s, Pheasant Tails, Pink Squirrels, and Brush Hogs are good nymph patterns. If you run into some pickier fish, drop a Zebra Midge or any of the droppers listed above as a second fly. If you see fish on the surface, they’re either eating BWOs or Midges. Any of the midge patterns for Rapid Creek will work great. If they’re eating Blue Winged Olives, try a Student, F Fly, CDC Thorax Dun, Smoke Jumper, or Purple Haze in size 16-18.
Fishing has been solid just about everywhere in the lower elevations. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest flies and advice!