Now that some of the snow has melted and getting to the streams is easier, the fishing has been solid! Rapid Creek, Spearfish Creek, and Spring Creek have been the three best options over the past couple weeks. The weather tomorrow looks to be fantastic, and will be a great December day to get out on the water.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well, primarily with nymphs. There’s still a few browns spawning, so be mindful of fish that are in water that seems abnormally shallow and fish that are obviously on redds – a circular, lighter colored piece of gravel. Fishing has been good from Placerville up to the dam, so there’s plenty of water to explore. Nymphing with small midge and baetis patterns will be the most productive method, but you could get a few fish on streamers or dries under the right conditions. Standard winter nymphs have been working well. Try a San Juan, Boat Anchor, Squirmy Wormy, or big jig fly as your lead fly, and trail it with a Zebra Midge, Flying Zebra, Green Weenie, Two Bit Hooker, or small standard Pheasant Tail. The fish have moved into winter-type water – the vast majority of the fish are going to be in the deepest part of the run, as well as any slower seams. Focus your efforts there and you’ll do better than fishing faster water. There’s a nice size structure of fish in the catch and release area this year, which has been a nice change. There’s good numbers of average fish in the 10-14″ range, but there’s still plenty of larger fish to be had as well.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing very well, and will continue to be one of the best options for winter fishing for the next few months. Nymph fishing has been the best bet for numbers of fish. Pretty standard fare has been catching the most fish – Duracells, Assassins, Skinny Jigs, Soft Spots, Frenchies, and various other jig flies in size 14-16 are good bets. A lot of the time we have been fishing with two jigs – one in a 14 and the dropper in a 16. If the fish get picky, drop a small Flying Zebra, Green Weenie, Skinny Nelson, or Zebra Midge below in size 16-20. Typically, the slower will require slightly smaller flies than the faster water, but adjust accordingly. You’ll see a few fish on the surface eating midges occasionally, but we typically don’t see good numbers of rising fish until mid-January or so. The fish in town are super healthy, and there’s great numbers of fish in the 12-16″ range this year thanks to the higher water. Don’t overlook the fishing in town, it’s been excellent!
Spearfish Creek is fishing well both in town and in the canyon, but getting around in the canyon can be difficult in certain spots depending on the depth of the snow. Essentially the same flies as Rapid Creek will work great – we’ll be using a lot of the same stuff over the next couple months with the colder water temps. Focus your efforts on the deeper slots in Spearfish throughout the winter, as there won’t be a lot of fish on the faster edges like there are in the summer. Also, make sure and set the hook on any slight hesitation of your indicator or line – when the water is cold, the fish don’t travel as far or grab the flies as aggressively. You’ll be surprised how many extra fish you hook if you commit to setting on any hesitation or wiggle of your indicator!
Spring Creek is fishing great from Sheridan Lake Road all the way up to the dam. As with everywhere else, focus your efforts on the slower/deeper water. Slightly larger lead flies will work well on Spring Creek. Mop Flies, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Squirmy Wormies, and various other worm patterns will make good lead flies in size 10-14. Drop a Skinny Jig, Optic Nerve, Yellow Spot, Soft Spot, or any number of Zebra Midge style patterns below in a size 16-20 and you’ll pick up plenty of fish. Spring Creek has been one of the best options this year, and continues to be fish great.
Fishing has been solid throughout the area and should continue to be great as long as the weather stays nice enough to get out. Give us a call or swing by the shop for the most current conditions!