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Black Hills Fishing Report – 3/18/2020

March 18, 2020 4 min read

With all of the craziness going on right now, getting out and going fishing is one of the best things we can be doing right now! The fishing around the Black Hills area has been fantastic, and everything is waking up from winter. Fishing has been excellent on most Black Hills streams, and should continue to be great. Get out and socially distance yourself with some Black Hills fly fishing!

Rapid Creek above Pactola is off color, but there are some nice rainbows to be had if you’re willing to fish bigger stuff. Worms, Leeches, and various larger jig patterns are all good bets. French Dips, Duracells, Jig Hare’s Ears, Mop Flies, and Soft Spots are all good bets in size 12-16. The dirtier the water, the larger you should fish. Streamer fishing is an option as well, particularly once the water warms up a little more. Kreelexes, Lil Kims, Sculpzillas, and various bugger style patterns are good choices in size 4-8.

Rapid Creek below Pactola has been fishing particularly well the last week or so, especially on days where the water is more of a green color – I’m not sure what’s caused it, but there’s days that it’s clear and days where it’s a little off. Nymph fishing has been the best bet for sure, but you’ll see the occasional fish on the surface. Good nymphs include Boat Anchor Scuds, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, worms, Killer Bugs, and various large jig patterns in size 12-14. Good dropper patterns are Quilldigons, Two Bit Hookers, Split Back Baetis, small standard Pheasant Tails, and Perdigons in size 16-22. The fish are still mostly in the deeper, obvious spots for the most part but you’ll run into some fish in the in between water as well. There’s been a nice size structure of fish in the catch and release area this year, with a lot of nice fish in the 14-18″ range being the bulk of what you catch.

Rapid Creek in town has been fishing really well, and has some good dry fly fishing most days. It’s still mostly midges, but you’ll find some fish on BWOs as well. Morgan’s Midges, Eric’s Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, and Trigger Point mayflies have been some of the best patterns in 18-20, but you can catch some fish on bigger BWO patterns in size 16 some days. If you run into fish eating emergers, try fishing a Two Bit Hooker or Root Beer Midge below as a dropper. Nymph fishing has been really good – a lot of different stuff has been working well. We’ve mostly been Euro nymphing, but you can do well fishing an indicator rig as well. French Dips, Scud Muffins, Soft Spots, Perdigons, and various midge droppers have been picking up good numbers of fish throughout town. The flows came up out of the dam today, so it will probably get a little more off color in the next couple days – the nymph fishing should get even better with a little color in the water. The bulk of the fish are still in the deeper holes and slots, but the higher flows will move some fish into the riffles and shallower runs.

Spring Creek has been fishing great by the road and the trailhead. There’s a good midge hatch midday, and the fish have been up on them. The same dry flies as Rapid Creek will work great. Nymph fishing will catch the most numbers of fish, and it’s been really consistent. Skinny Jigs, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Assassins, French Dips, Scud Muffins, and Optic Nerves have been good lead flies. Drop a Flying Zebra or whatever your favorite midge pattern is below as a dropper in size 16-18. Spring Creek has been an excellent option that’s only a 20 minute drive from Rapid City!

Spearfish Creek has been good to great depending on the day, with both the canyon and in town fishing well. The snow in the canyon is still waist deep in most spots, but the fishing is good once you get to the creek. Nymph fishing is the name of the game, with smaller, slim patterns working well. Slim Jims, Assassins, Quilldigons, Perdigons, and French Dips are good bets in size 12-16. You typically don’t have to fish a really small dropper, but if the water is particularly clear you might have to fish a smaller midge or baetis pattern. Once the weather warms up a bit the flows on Spearfish should come up fairly substantially, which should create some fantastic nymph fishing. Once the flows come up, switch to larger worms, Mop Flies, and jig Buggers as your lead fly.

Crow Creek and Sand Creek are good, but Crow Creek can be dirty depending on the snowmelt situation. Nymph fishing will be your best bet on Crow Creek, with the same flies as Rapid and Spring Creek working just fine. Sand Creek has had some better Blue Winged Olive hatches, particularly on the upper sections. CDC Thorax Duns, Comparaduns, Sparkle Duns, F Flies, and Brook’s Sprout Emergers have been good bets in size 16-18. You can catch plenty of fish on smaller jig patterns as well, particularly with Quilldigons, Perdigons, smaller French Dips, and Assassins in size 16-18.

With the strange times we’re experiencing right now with COVID-19, we’ve put together a couple things that will make your shopping easier! We have put together a selection of flies for Rapid Creek, Spearfish Creek, and Spring Creek – there’s a dozen flies in each box picked for each watershed for $30. You can call an order in, order it online, or swing by and grab them quickly. We’re more than happy to run them out to your car as well if you don’t want to spend an extended period of time in the shop. In addition, don’t forget about our online store and free shipping over $30 for both fly tying and fly fishing gear – if you order from most places in the Black Hills, you’ll have your order the following day! Get out and clear your mind and go fishing – it’s one of the best things we can do right now. Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email with any questions or if there’s anything we can help you with!

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