Spring has finally sprung in the Black Hills, and the fishing has been excellent. The water on most of our streams is up above average, but the vast majority of places are still very fishable. The dirtier water scares some folks off, but you can get away with bigger flies, heavier tippet, and the fish aren’t nearly as spooky. Fishing has been great for those who are willing to branch out a bit!
Rapid Creek near Silver City is blown out, and will most likely be muddy for the next couple weeks. Check back for our next report.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is 120 cfs, which is on the high side but is more than fishable. Nymphing is the most productive with the higher flows, and you’re most likely going to have to use some weight to help get down to where the fish are. Big, bright lead flies have been working well – Tungsten worms, Boat Anchor Scuds, Soft Spots, Squirmy Wormies, and various others in size 10-12 are a good bet for your first fly. The fish are still their normal picky selves, so you’ll need to fish a smaller dropper even though the water is up. Midge and BWO patterns the the most productive. Two Bit Hookers, Killer Mayfly Nymphs, Split Back Baetis, Annelids, Zebra Midges, Bling Midges, and Green Weenies are good bets in size 16-20 for a dropper fly. There’s limited dry fly activity, but you might see a few BWOs around. If you see fish on the surface, try a Student, F Fly, or Sparkle Dun in 18-22. Streamer fishing can be good at times, and a huge variety of patterns can work. You’ll need a sink tip, and make sure you’re getting it down to the fish. Be mindful of the spawning rainbows during the next couple weeks as well – it’s not worth the hero shot. If the fish are paired up, on light colored gravel, or in shin to knee deep water, leave them alone and let them continue to sustain the fishery.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing well, almost exclusively with nymphs. The fish aren’t going to be in the middle of the deepest, fastest water. Focus more on the softer edges, behind rocks, and near the banks and you’ll do much better than the folks fishing in the middle. The fish are digging bigger flies than normal – Mop Flies, Jig Pheasant Tails, Assassins, Brush Hogs, Tungsten Worms, and various Czech nymphs in size 10-14 are going to be your best bets. You can fish two, but I would recommend keeping them about the same size rather than fishing a smaller dropper pattern. Smaller streamers are effective fished on a lighter sink tip as well. Sculpzillas, Kreelexes, Home Invaders, Thin Mints, and Grinches are good bets in size 4-10. The fish in town are a little sparser than the past couple years, but the fish we’ve been catching have been big, fat, and healthy.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is a bit snowy still, but that shouldn’t be an issue after the next couple days. Dry droppers are almost always the way to go unless the water is really high. Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and Bloom’s Parachute Caddis are good bets for the dry fly. Skinny Jigs, Assassins, Perdigons, and Tungsten midges are good droppers. The fish aren’t super picky, but they’re squirrely. Get the fly in front of them without spooking them and you’ll do great!
Spearfish Creek spiked up to 120 cfs a couple days ago, and has leveled out since. It’s a little on the dirty side, but definitely not muddy. As per usual, nymphs are going to be the way to go with the higher flows. Mop flies, Tungsten Worms -seeing a trend here? – Rainbow Czechs, and big jig flies in size 10-12 are good lead nymphs. Good dropper flies include Assassins, Skinny Jigs, Brush Hogs, Jig Hare’s Ears, Jig Pheasant Tails, and various other jig patterns in size 12-16 make a good dropper. The fish are definitely going to be pushed away from the main current, so focus on the edges and anywhere where the current is softer or broken.
Crow Creek is really muddy, but Sand Creek is fishing excellent. This is one of the only real options for dry fly fishing right now, and it’s been solid. There’s caddis and BWOs hatching, so be mindful of which one the fish are eating and you’ll be successful. Sparkle Duns, Hackle Stackers, Students, and CDC Thorax Duns are good bets for the BWOs. Good caddis patterns are Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Henryville Specials, and tan Klinkhamers in size 14-18.
Pactola reservoir is fishing excellent for holdover hatchery rainbows. They’re big, and they’re easy. Fish a couple jig flies or a leech under a bobber, or strip in smaller wooly buggers and leech patterns. The average fish is in the 16-20″ range, and they’re not very hard to catch – good, clean fun!
Pike fishing is just getting heated up around the area as well. The prairie lakes are warmer, and the fish are starting to spawn. Hills lakes are just thawing out and the fish are looking for some warmer water and a meal. We’ll have an updated report in the next week or so!
Fishing has been great. We’ve had a good number of guided trips out and have quite a few on the books, and it’s been a successful season so far. Give us a call to book your day with one of our guides. Also, don’t forget to swing by our new location at 1010 Jackson Boulevard! Lots of space, and awesome parking. We’re still getting settled, and will have more and more inventory out each day. Give us a call or swing by if you want an up to date fishing report!