Snow has been the theme so far this winter and spring, but the fishing continues to be solid. Fishing throughout the Black Hills has been good to excellent most days, and there’s been some fantastic dry fly fishing when the wind isn’t blowing. As has been the case over the last month, the lower elevation streams have been fishing better than the higher elevation stuff, but if the weather continues a warming trend the upper stretches will start fishing as well.
Rapid Creek above Pactola is open for the most part, but will be pretty dirty especially if the weather is warm. If you’re headed to the Silver City area, I would fish bright streamers on a sink tip or nymph with bigger worm style patterns to make sure the fish can see them. Below Pactola has been fishing well, but is a little on the busy side on nicer days. There’s been some BWO’s and midges hatching most days. Try a Student, F Fly, Sparkle Dun, Morgan’s Midge, or some variety of small, dark dry fly and you’ll move a few. They’re picky, but can be persuaded if you’re persistent. Nymphing has been good, more so if you’re willing to change small dropper patterns until you figure the fish out. Any scud or worm pattern that’s heavy enough to get to the bottom will be good for a lead fly. Any number of small dropper flies can work, but a few favorites are Bling Midges, Bubble Backs, Annelids, UV Midges, Two Bit Hookers, Split Back BWO’s, and your favorite kind of Zebra Midge in size 18-22. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing very well, with some of the best dry fly fishing around right now happening right in town. There have been lots of BWOs hatching from mid morning through the afternoon, with a few midges coming off sporadically as well. CDC Thorax Duns, Students, F Flies, Purple Hazes, and Brook’s Sprout Emergers have been good bets in sizes 16-18. The bugs themselves are pretty big, so there’s not a lot of incentive to go too small. Most days the fish will eat the dry, but if they get picky or you’re fishing early in the hatch drop a Barr’s Emerger or Two Bit a foot or so behind your dry and you’ll pick up some fish. Nymphing has been good in town as well, with most of the fish being pretty willing to eat flies in the 14-18 range. Skinny Jigs, Sweet Peas, Peacock Jigs, Assassins, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and Jig PT’s are all good bets. Typically a 16 is small enough, but if you’re fishing more popular water you might have to drop a smaller midge or BWO pattern off the back to pick up a few more fish. Fishing on Rapid Creek in town has been the best it’s been all year!
Spearfish Creek is fishing well, and the canyon continues to fish better and better each day with the increased sunlight. The snow next to the road is pretty deep, but once you get down next to the creek it’s not too bad. The rainbows are staging to spawn in the lower canyon right now, so avoid fishing to fish that are in obviously skinny water. There have been Little Black Stoneflies hatching on the nicer days in the canyon and the fish are definitely taking notice of them. F Flies, Henryville Specials, and small black Stimulators are good flies in size 16-18. Most of the fish are up between 12-3, but that can vary depending on the weather. Nymphing has been solid in the canyon. Most of the fish are in knee to waist deep water, so avoid some of the skinnier summertime type water. Various jig patterns have been about all I’ve used lately up there. Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, Jig Hare’s Ears, Frenchies, Pheasant Tails, and Assassins in 14-16 will seal the deal on most fish. If you’re in really slow water, I would fish a midge dropper instead since the fish have so long to look at your flies. Fishing on Spearfish Creek in town has been good as well. The water can get a bit dirty on the warmer afternoons from snowmelt, but the fish don’t seem to mind as long as you get your flies where they can see them. The same flies as the canyon have been working well, but if the water gets dirty I’ve been running a Tungsten Rainbow Czech, North Fork Special, or Tungsten worm for a lead fly. It’s surprising how well they can see smaller flies in the dirtier water though, so don’t count out the dropper if the water is a little off.
Castle Creek is fishing well, but really snowy. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s been Little Black Stoneflies hatching and the nymphing has been good with the same flies as Spearfish and Rapid Creeks.
Crow and Sand Creeks 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, and Brush Hogs are good starting points. If the fish get a little more selective, try a smaller 16-18 dropper fly.
Overall the fishing has been great. We had a lot of trips out last week, and all of them had excellent fishing. Give us a call or swing by the shop if you want the latest scoop or want to get on the water with us for a day!