This weekend looks like it’s going to be a great weekend to be out on the water – partly sunny and highs in the 40’s with little wind. Next week is looking to have even better weather, with highs in the 50’s. In short, the next week is going to be the best weather we’ve seen in awhile and the fishing should be excellent. The fishing has been solid on all of the lower elevation streams, as well as both tailwaters.
Black Hills Fishing Report by Stream
Rapid Creek below Pactola is low, but is fishing as well as can be expected at 20 cfs. If you’re headed up there, small has been the name of the game. Various midge patterns in sizes 18-22 are always productive, but there are also good numbers of Baetis around, as well as some Little Black Stoneflies on the right days. Two Bit Hookers, Split Back BWO’s, T Baetis, and even standard Pheasant Tail nymphs are good dropper patterns trailed behind a larger weight fly – scuds and worms are always a solid bet! There are Blue Winged Olives hatching on some of the warmer days, and the fish are definitely on them. If you run into rising fish, sparse flies are the key – F Flies, Students, Comparaduns, and CDC Thorax Duns will all move fish. If they aren’t digging the dry, drop a Two Bit Hooker or Pheasant Tail a foot or so behind it and you’ll pick up some fish. The water is low below Pactola, so the fish are going to be stacked up in the deeper slots and holes. Rapid Creek in town has a better flow, and the fishing has been solid. There’s been good numbers of fish up on midges in the late morning, and they’re more than willing to eat a well presented fly. Eric’s Midges and Morgan’s Midges are both excellent flies, but adjust as needed. On the warmer days there have been BWO’s coming off in the mid afternoon – the fish in town will eat the same flies as the basin fish. If you’re out and don’t see much for surface activity, the standard scud/jig trailed by a midge/baetis pattern will work great. With the longer days and warmer temps the fish have been starting to move into some of the skinnier riffles, so don’t overlook the fishy-looking water between the holes as well. The fishing in town has been excellent!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing well both in the canyon and in town, but you might want to bring your snowshoes if you’re headed to certain stretches of the canyon – there’s a lot of sections that don’t see much sunlight, and the snow can get pretty deep. The fishing has been great on both sections, however. The flies haven’t changed much since late last fall. Various jig patterns are some of your best bets, and the fish seem to be more interested in size 14-16’s rather than the smaller flies. Soft Spots, Skinny Jigs, Jig Pheasant Tails, Assassins, and Yellow Spots are good bets for lead flies. I haven’t had to stray much from the larger bugs, but if you want to fish a dropper a smaller jig pattern in 16-18 will work just fine and probably get you a few bonus fish. Sunny spots have seemed to be key in finding active fish. There’s plenty of fish in all of the deeper runs, but there’s some fish that are moving into the shallower, quicker water as well.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing about the same as they have been the last couple months – pretty darn good! Crow Creek is going to be more nymphing, and Sand Creek will have more opportunities for dry fly fishing. These creeks have the warmest water temps right now, and the fish act more or less like they would act in the early summer. On Crow Creek, anywhere where the water gets slightly deeper than the surrounding area you’ll find fish. Hot Spot style nymph patterns work great, as well as various scuds. If you find picky fish, put a smaller dropper pattern on and you’ll typically get some action. The fish on Sand Creek are notorious for sitting in ankle deep water or less, especially when they’re rising. Don’t overlook any water when you’re fishing there, it pays off! The BWO’s have been coming off in good numbers, especially on warmer, overcast days. Standard fare typically works just fine – F Flies, Students, and Comparaduns will work well in sizes 16-20.
Overall, the fishing has been solid! We’ve had a few guided trips out over the past couple weeks, and they’ve been very successful – folks in the shop have all been reporting solid fishing as well. Swing by the shop and we can get you headed in the right direction!