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February 28, 2020 4 min read
The longer days and nicer weather have created some fantastic fishing opportunties around the Black Hills over the last couple weeks! The fishing has been great on most area streams, and the dry fly fishing has really picked up as well. The weather this weekend looks excellent to get out and enjoy some Black Hills fly fishing!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is mostly frozen and off color. We’ve had a lot of people ask about it lately – give it a few more weeks or a month and the fishing will be good up there.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is flowing around 50 cfs, which is fantastic for a wintertime flow! The fishing has been solid, and there’s a nice size structure of fish this season – which may be mostly due to the higher flows we’ve experienced since last spring. Nymph fishing is going to be your best producer, but you can catch fish on dries and streamers as well. Nymph fishing with various midge and baetis patterns will be your best bet. Try a scud, worm, or jig for your lead pattern, and trail a Green Weenie, Zebra Midge, Midge Perdigon, or small Frenchie below as a dropper fly. There’s lots of fish in the obvious holes, but the water is high enough that a lot of the in between water is holding good numbers of fish as well. You might run into a few fish eating BWOs or midges on the nicer days as well.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing fantastic, and the dry fly fishing has really turned on. There are lots of fish up on midges most days, and there are some Blue Winged Olives and Little Black Stoneflies around as well. Eric’s Midges, Trigger Point Mayflies, Morgan’s Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, F Flies, and Sipper Midges in 16-20 are good bets. The fish haven’t been super selective unless you’re in the spots that consistently get pressure, so don’t be afraid to move around a bit. The nymph fishing is solid as well if you don’t run into fish on top. Good nymphs include jig Buggers, Perdigons, Jig Squirmies, Frenchies, French Dips, Killer Bugs, and various midge patterns. The fishing in town has been excellent, so don’t overlook it!
Spearfish Creek is fishing well, but with the amount of snow in the canyon it’s going to be a bit harder to get to the stream. The fishing is good if you can get there, however. Fishing in town is really good and is much easier to get around in. Nymph fishing is the name of the game, particularly on warmer days when the water gets off colored. Squirmies, Mop Flies, Perdigons, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Killer Bugs, and various other jig patterns in size 12-16 will work great. With slightly warmer water temps the fish have spread out a bit as well, so don’t hesitate to broaden your horizons from the obvious holes. The fishing is often a little better if the water is a little off as well, so don’t let a little mud scare you away. With the large amount of snow in the canyon and up near Cheyenne Crossing, I would guess that Spearfish will get a pretty substantial runoff this spring as soon as the temps stay fairly warm.
Sand Creek and Crow Creek are fishing well right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Crow Creek gets muddy with the snow melting. There’s no gauge on Crow Creek any more, so it’s a bit of a gamble whether it will be muddy or not. If it’s muddy, you always have Sand Creek and Spearfish just a stone’s throw away. BWO’s are hatching in good numbers on Sand Creek and the fish are definitely up on them. CDC Thorax Duns, Students, F Flies, and Sipper Midges are good flies in size 16-18. The nymph fish has been really good as well if the fish aren’t on top – French Dips, Perdigons, Assassins, jig Hare’s Ears, Pat’s Rubber Legs, and various other jig patterns are good bets. If the water is clear, drop a midge or BWO nymph for a dropper fly.
Spring Creek below Sheridan Lake is good, mostly on the trailhead. Down by the road is pretty frozen still, but that should open up in the next few weeks with the warmer forecast. The nymph fishing has been particularly good, but there are fish eating midges off the surface most days as well. The fish have definitely been holed up in the deeper, slower runs with the cold water temperatures, so focus your efforts there. As the water warms up the fish will spread out more. Good nymphs include French Dips, various Perdigons, Root Beer Midges, Green Weenies, Two Bit Hookers, Killer Bugs, and various worm patterns. If you run into fish on the surface, try a Griffith’s Gnat, Morgan’s Midge, or Eric’s Midge. The fish rising aren’t super particular, but they can be spooky.
Fishing has been excellent over the past couple weeks, and should continue to get better with the longer days and warmer temperatures. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest report or hot flies!
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