Cold and snowy in the Black Hills today, but warmer weather is on the way! The fishing has been good to great depending on the day, and has become pretty standard mid-winter type fishing for the most part. Lower elevation stuff and Rapid Creek below Pactola are going to be your best bet, with a bit of fishing in Spearfish Canyon as well.
Rapid Creek above Silver City is going to be really icy and cold. It’ll be a better option come Spring.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing decent most days, and can be great on the right day. It’s mostly a nymphing game, and you’re going to catch the vast majority of your fish on small dropper nymphs. RS2s, WD-40s, Pheasant Tails, Foam Wings, Two Bit Hookers, Split Back Baetis, and various midge patterns will pick up the vast majority of your fish this time of year. Use a heavy tungsten scud or worm to help get down, and don’t be afraid to use additional weight if you need to get down deeper or faster. Streamers can be a decent option as well some days, but nymphing will be the name of the game for the next month or so most likely.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing well, but the fish are slightly pickier than they were with the high flows all year. Most of your fish are going to come on the same types of flies as below the dam – small midges and BWO patterns will be your best bet. In addition to the patterns listed above, Frenchies, Bling Midges, Don Kings, and Skinny Nelsons are good bets in town. If you’re not catching fish and you know you’re in front of them, keep changing your bottom fly and don’t be afraid to go smaller. Lots of fish in late December/Early January are caught on 20s and 22s. 6x is your friend as well. Keep moving and changing until you figure ’em out!
Spearfish Creek is fishing well. Small streamers can be good bets some days, with Kreelexes, Mini Dungeons, Lil’ Kims, and various other medium sized streamers working well. Nymphs will work well just as well as anything else. The flies have really varied lately – everything from Mop Flies to scuds to skinny jigs to midges. The fish on Spearfish are really opportunistic, so don’t be afraid to change. The same old jig patterns trailed by a midge will probably work just as well as anything – just make sure you’re getting it in front of the fish and don’t be afraid to change if you’re not doing well.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are good, and have the warmest water temps in the area. The fish aren’t super selective typically – get the fly in front of them without spooking them and you’re in solid shape. Try a Soft Spot, Brush Hog, Perdigon, Hare’s Ear, or Skinny Jig with a midge trailer. The fish are mostly going to be concentrated in the deeper, slower water. They’re pretty easy to find for the most part!
Fishing is solid for the middle of winter, and will continue to get better as the days get longer. It looks like there’s some solid weather coming up after this weekend, so get out and catch a fish or two!