Black Hills fly fishing has been solid over the past couple weeks, and the snow that the upper elevations got has bumped the flows a bit. The weather this weekend looks to be great as well, and will make for some great fishing!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has come up a bit in flow, but will still fish well with nymphs. Bigger patterns will work better in the dirtier water – North Fork Specials, Jig Hare’s Ears, Mop Flies, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Rainbow Czech Nymphs, and worm patterns in size 10-14 will work well. Most of the fish are going to be in the deeper slower runs with the cooler water temps, but you can find some fish in the deeper riffles as well. The upper stretches from Rochford up to Black Fox will fish well also, but with slightly smaller flies than the lower stretch closer to the lake.
Rapid Creek below Pactola has come up to 60cfs, which will spread the fish out and improve the fishing. Nymph fishing has been good, with pretty much standard smaller tailwater flies working well. Split Back Baetis, Two Bit Hookers, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Tungsten Midges, and Shotglass Baetis in size 18-22 will work well. Fish them below a Hunchback Scud, Rainbow Czech, Perdigon, or Jig Pheasant Tail in size 12-14. There have been some fish eating BWO’s on the cloudier days as well, so definitely have a few handy. CDC Thorax Duns, Students, and F Flies in size 16-18 will typically get the job done, but fishing an RS2 or WD-40 as a dropper will pick up a few bonus fish as well. From Johnson Siding all the way to the dam will be fishing well.
Rapid Creek in town has still been one of the best options lately, and the fishing has been excellent. The dry fly fishing has been good most of the day typically, so we have mostly been fishing dry/dropper rigs. Klinkhamers, User Friendlys, and Viz A Duns are good dry flies that are buoyant enough to hold up a decent sized nymph. For nymphs, we have been using Perdigons, Skinny Jigs, May It Be, Frenchies, and Walts Jigs in size 16-18 predominantly. The fish are sporadically rising throughout the day, so they can be eating BWOs, Midges, or Little Black Stones depending on the time of day. Nymph fishing has been good as well with the nymphs above and midge droppers.
Spearfish Creek has been fantastic, and the flows haven’t jumped up a bunch so it’s still fishing excellent. There have been some fish rising here and there, but nymphs are going to be your best bet throughout the day. Olive and Purple Perdigons are good bets, as well as Optic Nerves, Assassins, Jig Nightmares, and Skinny Jigs in various colors. 14-16 seems to be the best size, but if you’re in the slower water you might have to put on a small midge or BWO dropper to trick them. If you run into rising fish, smaller BWO emergers and dries will work well. Hackle Stackers, CDC Thorax Duns, Smoke Jumpers, and Students will work in size 16-20. The fishing has been good all the way from Cheyenne Crossing to north of Spearfish.
Castle Creek is good to great depending on the day, and there should be a few fish starting to run above the lake. The fish above the lake aren’t picky – any medium sized jig fly that they can see will work well. The fish below the dam are considerably pickier, but are still reasonably easy to catch as long as you don’t spook them. The BWO hatch has been solid, particularly in the upper stretch of the Kinney Canyon Walk In area, and the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish Creek will work well. For nymphs, you’ll need something in the 14-16 range to get down with the slightly higher flows. A midge dropper in whatever your favorite color is will work great.
Box Elder Creek has been fishing well from Norris Peak Road upstream. Dry/dropper rigs are your best bet.
Pactola has been fishing well for rainbows, both from the shore and boats. Fish a balanced leech or wooly bugger under an indicator with a big midge or jig nymph dropper. 4-6′ down seems to be the most productive, but you can adjust accordingly.
Pike fishing has been good on the prairie, and should start to get good in the hills soon with the warming water temps over the next few days. If you get out, try a type 3 or type 5 sinking line with medium sized flies in the 5-7″ range.
Fishing has been excellent – give us a call or stop by for the latest reports or gear that you need before heading out!