With the unseasonably warm temperatures over the past few weeks, the fishing has continued to be excellent. Rapid, Spearfish, Castle, Crow, and Sand Creeks are your best bet, and will continue to be the best option until late winter/early spring.
Rapid Creek above Pactola is off color and icy. You might catch a few fish, but we’d let it be until the water comes up early next spring.
Rapid Creek below Pactola to Johnson Siding is fishing well, and stays more or less open all winter. Nymph fishing is the name of the game pretty much everywhere right now, and the catch and release area is no exception. Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Split Back Baetis, Two Bit Hookers, UV Midges, and a number of other small nymphs will work great in size 16-20. Use a larger jig fly in front in a size 12-14 to help get your second fly down. Most of the fish are going to be in more ‘winter’ type spots – slower and deeper will be your best bet. 5x tippet is typically small enough, but if you’re not doing well try stepping down to 6x on your bottom fly. There are still some spawning fish around as well, so try and avoid walking/fishing in shallow riffles with smaller sized gravel.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing great, predominantly from Founders Park upstream to Canyon Lake. You can catch a few fish above Canyon Lake as well, but the water is typically warmer below the lake and the fish are more active. Nymph fishing will be your best bet. We’ve been doing good Euro Nymphing, but you can do well fishing with an indicator as well. We prefer yarn/wool indicators in the winter because they show subtle strikes better than a bobber. Perdigons in olive and purple, French Dips, Scud Muffins, and various Zebra Midges have been working great. As with Rapid Creek further upstream, be mindful of spawning fish – the feeding fish will be in deeper, slower water.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is fishing well. You can do just fine fishing the same flies as Rapid Creek. There’s a chance of a BWO hatch as well, so have a few CDC Thorax Duns, F Flies, and Sparkle Duns in 18-22 incase you see some rising fish. The brook trout are great looking this time of year!
Spearfish Creek in Spearfish and in the canyon is fishing fantastic. You’ll do the best from 10-2, particularly in the canyon. The fish are the most active during the warmest part of the day. Perdigons have been the star as far as flies go, but you can do well on some larger patterns as well. Jig Baetis, Mic Drops, French Dips in orange, Jig Assassins, and various midge droppers will all work well. In Spearfish, we’ve been doing best if you can find thigh-deep water that’s flowing around walking speed or so. If you’re fishing in slower water the fish are really particular, and they aren’t really in the faster stuff.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek have the warmest water of any streams in the area, and will stay that way until late winter. Because of that, they often have the most active fish in the winter months, particularly after long cold stretches. Nymph fishing with the same patterns as Spearfish will work great. You may run into some rising fish eating midges or BWOs, so have a few dries as well. Morgan’s Midges, Eric’s Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, Students, CDC Thorax Duns, and Sipper Midges are good flies.
Fishing has been solid, particularly at lower elevations. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest conditions!