It looks like we’re finally out of the woods with the sub-zero temperatures for this winter thankfully. We’re forecast to get a fair amount of snow this afternoon/evening, and then the weather looks to be pretty conducive to getting out and doing some fishing! We apologize for the lack of reports over the past month – we haven’t been out much due to ice and temperatures in the single digits at best. We’ve been out a bit late last week and over the weekend however, and were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the fishing.
Rapid Creek below Pactola has been fishing well, primarily with nymphs. Smaller midge and Baetis patterns fished behind a bigger scud or worm for a weight fly will be your best bet. Zebra Midges, Two Bit Hookers, Annelids, Bling Midges, and various other skinny, sparse patterns in size 18-22 will get some interest from the fish. The fish in the slower water will be pickier than the fish in the quicker runs. You can catch some fish on smaller streamers as well. Dry fly fishing is an option if you see some fish on the surface, and it should keep improving throughout the rest of the month and into April. Be mindful of spawning rainbows this time of year when you’re up there as well – if they’re obviously spawning, do the right thing and leave them be and find some other fish that are actually eating.
Rapid Creek in town has been fishing great, but can get a little dirty if the temperatures get into the 40s. If the water has reasonable visibility, the fish are typically on the surface eating a combination of Little Black Stoneflies and Blue Winged Olives. If you see fish on the surface, try an F Fly, Student, Henryville Special, Black Stimulator, Sparkle Dun, or Parachute Adams in size 14-18. The fish are pretty willing when they’re on top, so you shouldn’t have to change your flies up too much. If the water is a little on the dirtier side or you don’t see rising fish, various nymph patterns will work well. For your lead fly, try a Jig Hare’s Ear, Red Butt, Soft Spot, Optic Nerve, or Tungsten Worm in 12-16. For your dropper, try a Skinny Jig, Root Beer Midge, Assassin, Zebra Midge, Two Bit Hooker, or Split Back Baetis in size 16-20. You can do pretty well fishing smaller streamers like Wooly Buggers, Kreelexes, and Lil’ Kims when the water gets a little on the dirty side as well. Fish a slow swing with some twitches and you’ll move some fish.
Spearfish Creek can be pretty icy in spots, but is fishing well where you can find slower open water. The lower parts of town will get really fast and muddy with the warmer weather later this week, so you’re better off fishing the southern part of town or the canyon. Nymphing is going to be the name of the game in the coming week. Fish a bigger lead fly like a Soft Spot, Rainbow Czech, Hare’s Ear, Worm, or Jig Pheasant Tail in size 12-14. For the dropper fly, you shouldn’t have to go too small – Skinny Jigs, Tung Teasers, Psycho Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, and various midge patterns in size 14-18 are good bets. Check the flows on the USGS website before you go if it’s going to be over 40-45, it can come up quick!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, and the warmer water has the fish happy. There’s BWO’s and Little Black Stoneflies hatching on both of these creeks, and the fish are definitely eating them. The same flies as Rapid Creek in town will work well – Try an F Fly, Student, Henryville Special, Black Stimulator, Sparkle Dun, or Parachute Adams in size 14-18. They typically aren’t super selective, but can be spooky. Nymphing will be good with the same flies as Spearfish Creek if you don’t see any fish on the top. Stealthy approaches and good casts are keys to catching fish on both Crow and Sand.
That’s about it for the opportunities this time of year! The fishing has been solid, and it’s been nice to get out a bit now that we’re out of the cycle of sub-zero days. We’re starting to book quite a few trips for this spring and summer as well, so if you’d like to get out with one of our guides give us a call at the shop at 605-341-2450. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest intel or to grab a few of the latest hot flies!