Winter has been here for the past few days, but it looks like the weather will be a little more favorable for getting out on the water later this week and this weekend. Despite the cold and damp weather, the fishing has continued to be excellent just about everywhere. Get out before winter actually comes!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing well, with more or less the same stuff as we’ve been doing well with over the past few weeks. If you’re in the deeper holes, nymph rigs with slightly smaller droppers have been working well. Make sure you’re close to the bottom and you’ll do well. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Boat Anchor Scuds, Soft Spots, and Yellow Spots are all good lead flies in size 12-14. For the dropper, try a Sweet Pea, Zebra Midge, Skinny Jig, Jig Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, or Jig Prince in size 14-18. There’s a lot of resident browns around up there right now, as well as some nice rainbows that have come up from the lake. If you’re in the skinnier water you can do well with the smaller dropper patterns trailed behind a Klinkhamer, Hippie Stomper, or Stimulator in size 12-14. Streamers are working well if you’re fishing the edges of the faster stuff as well.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is good to great depending on the day, but the fish are picky as usual. On days where it’s not windy, there’s good numbers of BWOs and PMDs hatching in the afternoons. Sparkle Duns, Smoke Jumpers, Hackle Stackers, Parachutes, Brook’s Sprouts, and various other sparse dries have been working well in olive or yellow, in size 16-22. If the fish get picky, keep putting smaller flies/tippet on until you can trick them. Oftentimes you can fish a small emerger a foot or so below the dry and do pretty well also. Versatility is the key to catching fish below Pactola. Nymph fishing has been good also, mostly with midges and small BWO and PMD nymphs. As per usual, fish a heavy lead fly like a tungsten worm or scud to help get you down to where the fish are. Two Bit Hookers, Zebra Midges, Split Backs in standard and Tungsten, WD-40s, and RS2s are good flies in 16-22. Don’t be afraid to fish the water that doesn’t get slammed by everyone as well – walk an extra 1/4 or 1/2 mile and you’ll be surprised how willing the fish are.
Pactola Reservoir is fishing great for big, fairly easy to catch rainbows. There’s lots of water that’s accessible without a boat, and it’s a good place to go and catch some big, easy fish. Stripping Wooly Buggers, Lil’ Kims, Sculpzillas, and various other small streamers is working well. You can do really well fishing a couple flies under an indicator as well – it’s not as exciting, but it’s really effective. Try various leeches, scuds, and jig patterns in size 10-14. There’s fish pretty much everywhere, but a couple good places include the north boat launch area, south boat launch bay, Bear Gulch, and pretty much any other bay.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing well. You can still do well fishing a terrestrial pattern with a dropper, but that will most likely peter out over the next few weeks. Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and Parachute Ants are good flies in size 10-14. There’s lots of fish that are still willing to eat the dry, but you’ll pick up a lot of fish on nymphs as well. Try various slender, tungsten flies and you’ll do well. Skinny Jigs, Pheasant Tails, Sweet Peas, Assassins, and Slim Jims are good bets in 14-18 as a dropper fly. There’s some fish in summertime-type water still as well, so don’t focus on just the biggest, deepest holes. If you’re going to fish some of the deeper water, fish the same flies as above as a dropper fly behind a size 12-14 tungsten jig fly. If the fish get picky, just switch over to a smaller midge pattern as the dropper and you’ll do well.
Spearfish Creek is fishing great as usual, and the fish have been pretty willing. Nymph fishing is going to be the best for numbers, but there’s some good opportunities for dry fly fishing as well. As far as nymph fishing goes, not a lot has changed from the past few weeks. Jigs trailed by another jig in the faster water, and jigs trailed by a midge in the slower water will work great. Jig Assassins, Slim Jims, Jig Pheasant Tails, Brush Hogs, Hare’s Ears, and various midge larva patterns are good bets. In the faster water, the fish typically will eat flies in the 12-16 range pretty readily, but if you’re in the slower stuff you might have to go smaller with both your flies and tippet. There’s some BWOs hatching in the canyon most afternoons as well, so have a few Comparaduns, Sparkle Duns, F Flies, or Students in size 18-20. Terrestrials can still be good on Spearfish Creek in town and in the valley as well. Try a Klinkhamer or size 14 Hippie Stomper, or even fish a size 16-18 Parachute Adams in likely looking spots. We’ve done really well in the fall blind fishing small parachute dries.
Castle Creek is fishing well, but it’s pretty cool up there in the mornings. Dry Dropper rigs will work well, with most of the fish coming on the nymph. Tung Teasers, Psychos, small jigs, Rainbow Warriors, and various other tungsten flies in size 16-18 will work well. You might see some fish on BWO’s as well – the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish Creek will work well. The fish aren’t going to be super picky, just cover some water and you’ll do well.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are good, just a little on the weedy side. Dry flies are going to be your best bet until the weeds go away, which should be soon with the cooler weather. You can do well just prospecting with a single dry fly. Try an Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, or Klinkhamer in size 14-16 and fish in likely looking spots – the fish are pretty willing to come up, and you’ll be surprised how well you can do fishing dries even if there’s not rising fish. If you’re in a not weedy spot, generic jigs and tungsten flies in size 14-18 will work great.
Pike fishing has been great lately – Jake went to Pactola this weekend and did well, and we’ve talked to a number of other folks that have been doing well on Pactola and Sheridan. Lighter colored flies have been working, but don’t be afraid to try darker stuff if you’re not getting much action. If you’re getting the fly in front of the fish and they like it, you’ll be getting fish that will chase it and look at it. Type 3 lines have been our go to lately, but intermediates have their place. If you’re fishing deeper structure, try a Sonar Int/3/5!
Fishing has been good, and there’s lots of options right now to go check out. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest intel, flies, or if you want to book a guided trip!