March 26, 2018 4 min read
The fishing throughout the Black Hills area continues to be solid, and the weather looks like it’s going to stay solid for the coming week as well. We might see a bit of runoff over the next day or two, but the creeks will still be more than fishable and the higher water will probably move some fish around as well. The lower elevation creeks will still be your best bets, but over the next few weeks the upper stretches of many streams will open up and be an option as well. Fishing is solid right now!
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well, but as usual the fish are picky. The flows are 20 cfs still, so the vast majority of the fish are going to be in the deeper runs and holes. The water should come up in the next few weeks, which will improve the fishing as well. If you’re headed up there, small midges are key – the vast majority of the fish you’re going to catch are going to be on size 18-22 flies it seems. Bling Midges, Zebra midges, Two Bit Hookers, and Cheesman Canyon Emergers are all great bets. Any type of scud or worm is a good lead fly. Boat Anchor Scuds, Hunchback Scuds, and various annelid and worm patterns are good choices. Light tippet and persistence are key on Rapid Creek below the dam right now. The fishing on Rapid Creek in town has been excellent, with lots of fish up on the surface throughout the day. There’s BWO’s and Midges hatching most days, and the fish are definitely up on them. Morgan’s Midges, Eric’s Midges, Griffith’s Gnats, F Flies, Students, Parachute BWO’s, and Sparkle Duns are good bets in size 16-20. The fish in town aren’t super particular typically, but it’s a good idea to have a variety of patterns to throw at ’em. If you don’t see a lot for surface activity, you can nymph and do well with a jig and midge combo. The water is still low enough that you can fish a dry-dropper rig in the majority of runs, and that’s what I typically do. It’s much more pleasant to fish and cast than an indicator rig, and you’ll get a surprising amount of fish to come up and eat a Hippie Stomper or Klinkhammer even when there’s no surface action. 2-3 feet of 6x tippet is a good length to start with, and any small tungsten jig or nymph in the size 16-18 range will work great!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing well, both in the canyon and in town. The snow is down to a manageable depth in many parts of the canyon, so that’s a better option now than it has been for the rest of the winter. The fish in town and in the canyon will eat more or less the same flies. Bigger caddis larvae nymphs are a good choice if you’re in the canyon in the next few weeks, as well as a variety of jig flies. Bottom Bouncer Caddis, Jig Hare’s Ears, Yellow Spots, Jig PTs, Soft Spots, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and various worms are good places to start. For a dropper, you can either use a small jig or midge pattern – I’ve found that the Spearfish fish will eat bigger flies than many other creeks in the winter, so I typically don’t go too small. There’s a lot of fish around, and they’re pretty evenly spread out. Make sure and fish just about everything, because there’s fish in knee deep riffles and head deep holes alike.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is fishing well, but the snow last night and today may make it hard to access. If you head up, there’s good dry fly fishing midday and nymphing is good all day. Students, F Flies, and various other small parachute patterns are all good choices if you run into some fish on the surface. Nymphing with any kind of midge or small baetis pattern below a jig or other weight fly will keep you into the fish. Focus on anywhere where the creek bends or any obvious deep spots. The riffles are pretty skinny right now, so the fish are definitely more concentrated in the deeper water.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek got a bit more snow than many of our other local streams, and might be a bit on the dirty side for a few days. Mornings will fish better since the water will be clearer, but you can nymph them all day. It’s surprising how good the fishing can be even with stained water. Larger nymphs are good choices – various jigs in size 14-16 are good bets, and trail it with whatever your favorite dropper is. When the water clears up after a couple days the dry fly fishing will be back to normal as well – mostly BWO’s and midges, especially on Sand Creek.
Pike fishing hasn’t quite gotten fired up yet, but we’re getting closer every day. This is some of our favorite fishing of the year, and we have a good variety available to us. If you want to have more shots at smaller fish, we’ve got plenty of options for that. If you want to chase one big fish all day, head to Pactola and get your casting shoulder ready. We’re fully stocked on pike rods, lines, flies, and leaders – swing by before you head out for the latest intel and gear. If you want to spend a day with one of our guides learning the ropes of pike fishing, give us a call at the shop and we can get you on the books! Here’s a link to our pike fishing guided trip page on our website – Guided Black Hills Pike Fly Fishing
Fishing has been solid, and we’ve been getting some welcome moisture that will help keep the streams full and cold this summer. We’ve got a number of guided trips out this week, and will gradually get busier throughout the spring into summer. Early spring is a fantastic time to be fishing in the Black Hills – give us a call or swing in for the latest intel, pick up some flies, or book a day with one of our expert Black Hills fly fishing guides!
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