We’ve got plenty of water around right now, and the fishing has been solid! We have great flows in all of our streams, and lake fishing has been great also. A few of our local streams are a little on the high side, but should come into great shape in the next week. Pike fishing is heating up as well!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is high and dirty. Give it another week or two and it will clear up a bit.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is high – 160 cfs. It’s mostly going to be a nymphing game with the higher water, and you’re going to need some weight to get down. The standard Scud/Worm flies for your lead pattern will work well. Boat Anchor Scuds, Mop Flies, Tungsten San Juan Worms, Rainbow Czechs, Amexes, and various big jig flies in size 8-12 are good bets, and the added weight helps you get down to the fish. Droppers that imitate midges or Baetis nymphs are going to be most productive, but a variety of flies in the 16-22 range will work. Killer Mayfly Nymphs, Two Bit Hookers, Zebra Midges, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Annelids, RS2s, and Psycho nymphs are good dropper flies, but adjust as needed. You’re going to need some split shot and a 3/4″ bobber with the current flows – add weight until you’re down where the fish are. Streamer fishing can be good in the higher flows as well. A medium weight Rio Versileader is a must to keep your flies down where the fish are willing to chase them – a 4-7ips is the best bet. A wide variety of streamer patterns can work. Threesomes, Home Invaders, Dungeons, Sparkle Minnows, and Circus Peanuts are a few of our favorites.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing well, and is pretty high at 250 cfs. The higher flows are pushing some Didymo downstream, so finding water that doesn’t have a ton of it will be beneficial to your success. Nymph fishing is the name of the game in town right now. The same lead flies as below Pactola will work well, with slightly larger droppers. Jig Assassins, Jig Rainbow Warriors, Brush Hogs, Skinny Jigs, Pheasant Tails, Soft Spots, and Prince Nymphs are good flies in size 12-16 as a dropper. The fish are pushed to the sides of the stream and behind all of the boulders in town. You’ll be much better fishing these areas than you will trying to nymph the middle of the river. Streamer fishing can be productive some days as well, with slightly smaller flies like Sculpzillas, Kreelexes, and Thin Mints working well on a light sink tip.
Pactola reservoir is fishing exceptionally well for rainbows. If you want to catch some big, easy fish, Pactola is the place. The best method is to fish a couple nymphs under an indicator, but you can do well stripping smaller leeches and buggers as well. Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, Soft Spots, and a variety of other flies will work great.
Castle Creek above Deerfield is fishing well for bigger lake run rainbows. Various nymph patterns will do the trick – jigs in the size 12-16 are good bets. They’re not super particular, so just change between some of the standard patterns until you figure out what they want. Below Deerfield is fishing well also. There’s good BWOs around most days, and the regular old BWO patterns will work great – Sparkle Duns, Parachutes, F Flies, and Students will work just fine in 16-18. If there’s no fish on top, smaller nymphs will work well. Zebra Midges, Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, and Slim Jims will work well.
Spearfish Creek is a touch high and off color, but is still fishing well. Nymph fishing will be your best bet for the next couple weeks until the water comes down a bit. Larger nymph patterns fished in the softer water will be the most productive. Mop Flies, Tungsten Worms, Rainbow Czechs, Brush Hogs, Pat’s Rubber Legs, and various other tungsten flies in size 8-12 will make for good lead flies. Drop a smaller Skinny Jig, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Optic nerve, or Slim Jim in a size 14-16 as a dropper if they won’t eat the bigger fly. Typically you won’t have any issue getting them to eat the bigger fly, but if you’re further upstream in the canyon where the water is slightly clearer you’ll do better with the smaller dropper flies. From Savoy Pond upstream will be the clearest, and it gets progressively more stained as you go downstream.
Crow Creek has been high and muddy. The streamflow gauge was discontinued, so it’s a roll of the dice whether it will be clear or not. It should be fishable within a week if we don’t get any more significant moisture.
Sand Creek is fishing well, and is a little higher than normal. Nymph fishing will work well if you don’t see fish on the surface. Prince Nymphs, Optic Nerves, Jig Hare’s Ears, Slim Jims, Skinny jigs, and various midge patterns will work well. You can fish most of the water with a dry-dropper rig easily. Klinkhamers and Hippie Stompers are great indicator flies, and you’ll get a few fish to eat them as well. There are some Blue Winged Olives and Caddis around as well, and as the water clears up the fish will key in more on them. Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Henryville Specials, CDC Thorax Duns, and Sparkle Duns are good bets for dry fly fishing.
Pike fishing is heating up around the area as well – several folks have been having moderate success at Pactola, which is as good as can be expected there. Smaller flies than normal have been working better until the water warms up. Stockade and Sheridan will improve as the water warms into the high 40s and 50s. Most of the prairie lakes are fishing very well. Durkee, Gardner, Opal, Newell, and Wall are all good places to try if you’re willing to drive a bit. The prairie fish are typically a bit smaller, but much more aggressive and easier to catch. Oahe is a good option this time of year as well – spinning rod folks have been catching some tanks, so if you’re willing to work for it and cover some water you’ll find some quality fish. We offer pike guided trips as well if you’re looking to learn how to chase pike on a fly rod. Swing by the shop for the latest pike flies and leaders!
Fishing has been good, and flows have been solid for this time of year. Give us a call to book a day with one of our guides, or if you want the latest Black Hills fishing report!