Fishing continues to be solid throughout the Black Hills! We’re supposed to get a little more wintery early this coming week, but nothing that will keep folks from getting out on the water. Lower Rapid Creek and Spearfish Creek are going to be your two best bets for the next few months primarily, but there’s a few other options as well. There’s not many folks out fishing this time of year, so it’s a great time to head out and toss some flies around.
Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing pretty good, but will probably only last a few more days before it starts to get on the cold and icy side of things. If you’re headed up there pretty quickly, smaller streamers and standard nymph rigs should get the job done. Jig Assassins, Soft Spots, Jig PTs, and Brush Hogs are good lead flies, trailed by a midge or BWO dropper in 18-22. The deeper, slower runs are where you’re going to find the vast majority of the fish when the water is this cold. Below Pactola has been fishing well, with the same flies working well. Definitely don’t be afraid to change your dropper fly frequently – they can be pretty picky. Two Bit Hookers, Split Back BWO, Don King UV Midges, Green Weenies, and a variety of other small, skinny nymphs in 18-22 will work well. Typically a scud or worm is a good bet for a lead pattern – preferably something heavy so you don’t have to use any weight to get down. Slow, methodical fishing will be your best bet, rather than jumping from hole to hole. If you’re on fish, figure them out. In town has been fishing very well, and is one of the best bets around right now. Dry-droppers will still work rather well in the majority of water, but if you’re fishing some of the bigger, deeper holes you might need to put an indicator of some variety on. Hippie Stompers make a great indicator, trailed by a tungsten fly in sizez 14-18. Tung Teasers, Skinny Jigs, Assassins, Soft Spots, Sweet Peas, and Brush Hogs are good choices. If you’re nymphing, trail a size 18-22 midge below any of those patterns. Smaller streamers can be productive in town as well, if you’re so inclined. Kreelexes and Lil Kims are a couple shop favorites!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing great, mostly with nymph rigs. I like the double-jig setup personally, with a 12-14 as a lead fly and a size 16 dropper. Keep your dropper fly real skinny and you’ll do better – skinny jigs are my favorite. For lead flies, any of your favorite jig patterns will work – Red Butts, Soft Spots, and Assassins are some of our favorites. The canyon has been fishing well, but it’s pretty cold up there for most of the morning – there’s not a lot of point in being there before 10 in the morning. The fish are a lot more active from mid-morning through the afternoon. In town in Spearfish has been fishing great with the same flies as in the canyon. Focus on the slower edges, but don’t overlook some of the quicker stuff as well!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well also, and are the best chance to find some good dry fly fishing throughout the early winter. Midges are going to be the predominant hatch throughout the winter. Eric’s Midges, Morgan’s Midges, Purple Hazes, and Sipper Midges are good flies when you see some fish up on the surface. Nymph-wise, the same stuff as Spearfish Creek will get the job done. Focus on the deeper water that has a bit of chop to it and you’ll do better – the water is going to be warmer on Crow and Sand than anywhere else, so the fish are going to be in more summer-like water.
Overall fishing has been solid. Swing by the shop and we can get you the right flies and point you in the right direction on where to go, or give us a call at 605-341-2450 if you have any other questions!