Fishing has been great locally over the last week, and the weather and streamflows have been solid for this time of year – get out and catch a few fish this weekend!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fishing well, but can get a little off color in the afternoons if the temps are warm enough to melt snow further up. If the water is a little off, streamer fishing can be good with various medium sized streamer patterns on a light sink tip. Nymphing is good pretty much all day as long as the water stays reasonably clear. North Fork Specials, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Tung Teasers, Jig Hare’s Ears, and Jig Prince Nymphs are good bets in size 12-14. If the fish are picky, you can drop a small midge pattern or size 16 jig fly below as a dropper and do well. Typically you can do just fine on the larger flies, however. The fish will be transitioning into the slower, deeper water as the water temps cool as well.
Below Pactola is fishing well, mostly with nymphs. The fish are eating their normal wintertime midge and baetis patterns, and will continue to do so until spring. The flows are great for this time of year as well, so the fish are a bit more spread out than they typically would be in late November. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Boat Anchor Scuds, and Hunchback Scuds are good lead patterns. Drop a small trailer fly behind – you’ll pick the majority of your fish up on smaller dropper flies. Serendipities, Bling Midges, Zebra Midges, Two Bit Hookers, Annelids, Green Weenies, WD-40s, and RS2s in size 18-24 will work well. 6x for your dropper fly will increase the number of fish you hook as well. Be mindful of spawning browns – they’re the future of the fishery, and it’s not worth monkeying around with them to get a hero shot. There’s lots of fish in the deeper runs and slots that aren’t spawning and are more than willing to eat!
Rapid Creek through town has been fishing excellent, and will be one of the best choices throughout the winter! You can do well fishing a dry dropper rig most of the time, but you may need to fish an indicator rig if you end up in the deeper/faster water. Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, Purple Hazes, and various other bushy dry flies in size 12-16 are good indicator flies and you’ll get a good number of fish to eat them still. The fish have been liking slightly smaller flies with the cooler water, but not super tiny. Skinny Jigs, Green Weenies, Red Butts, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Brush Hogs, and Jig Lightning Bugs have been good bets in size 14-18. The fish aren’t super selective, so if you’re getting your fly in front of them and they’re not eating it keep changing until you figure out what they like on any given day. There’s a few fish on the surface on midges some days also – Eric’s Midges and Morgan’s Midges are good bets in size 18-20 if you see fish on the surface. Fishing has been great in town!
Spearfish Creek has been good, primarily with nymphs. Pretty standard stuff has been working well, with the addition of some smaller dropper patterns as the water cools off. Red Butts, Brush Hogs, Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, Sweet Peas, Party Crashers, and various other skinny tungsten flies have been good bets in size 14-16. You can typically get away with flies in that size range, but if you’re not having much luck try a smaller midge or baetis dropper pattern. The fish aren’t super particular, but they’re starting to move into the slower, deeper water for the winter. They’re more concentrated than they are throughout the summer, so if you’re not catching fish in the faster and shallower water keep moving until you get to something slightly slower. There’s no shortage of fish on Spearfish, so if you’re not finding fish keep looking around until you find the type of water they’re in!
Castle Creek is fishing well, but will continue to get more ice throughout the coming weeks. Nymph rigs with a tungsten jig fly for weight trailed by a smaller midge pattern in 18-20 will pick up most of your fish.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, and will stay pretty stable through the Spring. If you see fish on top, fish a dry. If not, fish nymphs. The fish on the surface will be eating mostly midges, so good flies include F Flies, Sparkle Duns, Morgan’s Midges, Eric’s Midges, and Sipper Midges in size 16-20. Long tippets and long-ish leaders in the 9-10 foot range will up your odds on both Sand and Crow. If there’s not much on the surface, nymph fishing is always pretty solid. Tung Teasers, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Frenchies, Jig Soft Spots, Assassins, Slim Jims, and various other nymphs in 14-18 will work well. Get it in front of the fish without spooking them and you stand a solid chance of hooking them on a wide variety of flies.
Easy fishing on Pactola for big rainbows. Deerfield will be pretty tough to fish from shore because of the ice, but if you have a boat you can get out beyond it and do well. You can strip smaller leeches and wooly bugger type patterns and do well, as well as fish larger nymphs under an indicator if. If the wind is blowing and moves your bobber around, even better.
Fishing has been solid – get out and take advantage of some great fishing this week!