The weather has become a lot more spring like over the past few days, which is a nice change from the second winter we’ve been having. The fishing has been solid just about everywhere, and the flows have increased most places and opened up a lot more water to fish. There’s plenty of options for great fishing throughout the Black Hills for the coming week!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been around 100cfs, and it’s pretty dirty most days. You can catch some fish on bigger nymphs, as well as streamers. Try a Tungsten Rainbow Czech, G-String Worm, Boat Anchor scud, Mop Fly, or any big jig pattern in the deeper runs and holes. You’ll have to get your flies pretty close to the fish, so if you’re in a good spot take some time to change your depth/weight and make sure you’re in the bottom foot of the water column. Streamer fishing should move some fish as well. Kreelexes, Lil’ Kims, Dirty Hippies, Jointed Urchins, and Home Invaders are good bets on a 3-5ips sink tip. Below the dam the water has come up to 70 cfs, which will help out the fish and the fishing considerably. Nymphing with a scud or worm trailed by a midge or BWO has been the most productive. Good lead flies are Boat Anchors, Hunchback Scuds, various worm patterns, and many other tungsten flies in size 12-14. Drop a Two Bit Hooker, Bling Midge, Split Back BWO, or your favorite flavor of Zebra Midge off the back as a dropper on 6x. The fish have spread out considerably with the higher water, so don’t be afraid to fish places other than the big obvious holes. There’s some fish on top on Blue Winged Olives some days as well, so have a few Students, Sparkle Duns, No Hackles, or Parachute BWO’s in a size 16-20 in case you see some noses coming up. The fishing in town has been excellent, but has switched gears from dry fly fishing primarily to more nymphing. With the higher water, you can get away with a lot bigger flies than we’ve been fishing all winter. Jigs in the 12-14 range have been solid for lead flies. Try a Soft Spot, Assassin, Yellow Spot, Brush Hog, or Skinny Jig for a lead fly – adjust the size for the weight you need to get to the bottom. Various midge patterns have been good dropper flies, as well as smaller jigs like Sweet Peas and Duracell jigs in size 16. You can still find a few fish on the surface in town occasionally, and the same flies as the basin will get the job done. Don’t be afraid to blind fish a Hippie Stomper as well – we’re getting into the time of year that you can do great with a Hippie Stomper trailed by a jig.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing well, both in town and in the canyon. In town can get a little dirty in the afternoons, so fish a little bigger/brighter fly if you’re there in the afternoon. Good flies have been Soft Spots, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Assassins, Skinny Jigs, Brush Hogs, Jig Hare’s Ears, and a number of worm patterns. You can fish a small dropper if you want, but I’ve had better luck fishing another jig one size smaller than my lead fly rather than trying to fish microscopic flies. If you’re in the right type of water, the fish will eat a 14-16 without hesitation. If you’re fishing Spearfish while it’s coming up and getting dirty, I would fish mostly worms or big scud patterns. Smaller streamer patterns can work good as well. Be mindful of the spawning rainbows in the canyon right now – if there’s a lot of fish in skinny water and there’s lighter colored rocks around them, find some other fish to catch. There’s no shortage of fish in Spearfish Creek, so you don’t have to fish for the spawners that will keep the fishing good in the future!
Castle Creek is fishing good, and the rainbows will start to run out of the lake any day now. It’s some easy fishing, and they’re usually pretty eager. Fish any big jig fly or tungsten scud and you’ll find some fish. Below the lake has been fishing well, with good surface action most days. There’s little Black Stones and BWO’s hatching, and the fish aren’t typically super particular. Try a Parachute Adams, Sparkle Dun, Klinkhamer, or Henryville Special. If you don’t see any fish on the surface, try a jig with a small midge dropper in the deeper holes and corners. You can prospect water with a Hippie Stomper trailed by a dropper as well and find good numbers of fish.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, with Sand Creek having better dry fly fishing. There’s BWO’s and Black Stones hatching, often at the same time. The same dry flies as everywhere else will get the job done, just don’t be afraid to change until you figure out what they want. Nymphing has been good on both Crow and Sand, and the fish will typically eat fairly large flies. Soft Spots, Yellow Spots, Assassins, Peacock Jigs, Hunchback Scuds, Tung Teasers, Duracell Jigs, and Brush Hogs are good starting points. If the fish get a little more selective, try a smaller 16-18 dropper fly.
Fishing has been good, and should continue to be solid in the coming weeks. Call the shop or swing by for the latest scoop, hot flies, or if you want to book a trip with one of our expert guides – there’s no better way to learn to fly fish the Black Hills than with one of our guides!