Fishing has been fantastic throughout the lower elevations of the Black Hills, and the higher elevation streams have thawed out and are starting to fish great as well!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is a bit high and dirty, but you should be able to find some nicer fish with bigger nymph patterns. Tungsten worms, Mop Flies, Pat’s Rubber Legs, and various jig patterns in size 12-14 will work well. As the water clears up, you’ll have to start fishing with smaller dropper patterns like Perdigons, Zebra Midges, and Skinny Jigs.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is 40 cfs, which is lower than we’ve seen for a while but still higher than average. Fishing has been pretty par for the course for the C&R area – big fish that are typically pretty picky. Smaller midge and BWO dropper patterns fished behind a scud or worm pattern. Two Bit Hookers, Rio’s May It Be, Split Back BWOs, and a variety of midge patterns in size 16-20 will all work well. There have been a few Blue Winged Olives hatching some days as well, so it’s a good idea to have a few F Flies, Sparkle Duns, Brook’s Sprouts, and Comparaduns in size 16-18 handy.
Rapid Creek in town has been crazy good! The dry fly fishing most days is excellent, and the nymph fishing has been consistently great. There are BWOs, Little Black Stoneflies, and Midges hatching, so a wide variety of dry flies can work. If you want something that works for more or less all of those hatches, an F Fly in black/gray is hard to beat in size 18. A few other good patterns to have are CDC Thorax Duns, Griffith’s Gnats, Henryville Specials, Students, and Hackle Stackers. We’ve been fishing Hippie Stompers as an indicator, and have even caught a number of fish on them! If you’d rather fish nymphs, pretty standard stuff has been working great. Perdigons in olive, purple, and gold, Skinny Jigs, Sexy Walt’s, Assassins, and French Dips in size 14-16 will work well. Fish an 18-20 midge below as a dropper if you run into some pickier fish.
Spearfish Creek is fishing excellent in town and in the canyon. It’s mostly nymph fishing, but you can run into some rising fish here and there. For nymphs, pretty much the same stuff as Rapid Creek will work great. Perdigons, Jig Pheasant Tails, Duracells, Optic Nerves, Assassins, and North Fork Specials in 14-16 are good bets. Small midges as a dropper will work great. Smaller Zebra Midges and BWO patterns are good dropper patterns in the slower water as well – Flying Zebras and Two Bit Hookers are good bets in a size 18. The water might get a little dirty with the forecasted rain/snow tomorrow – if the water comes up and gets a bit off color, don’t hesitate to try a Mop Fly, Squirmy, tungsten worm, or smaller Pat’s Rubber Legs in size 8-12.
Castle Creek is fishing well below Deerfield, and there are a few rainbows running up above the lake as well. Above the lake you can use the same flies as Rapid or Spearfish Creek – the fish typically won’t be very picky. Below the dam there have been BWOs and Little Black Stoneflies hatching most days. F Flies, Henryville Specials, CDC Thorax Duns, and Parachute BWOs in 16-18 have been working well. Fishing a nymph pattern under a dry/dropper is a good bet as well, and you’ll get the occasional fish to come up and eat a Hippie Stomper or Klinkhamer as well. Smaller Perdigons, Tungsten Zebra Midges, Jig Pheasant Tails, He Men, and Rain Drops are good droppers in 16-18.
Box Elder Creek has been fishing well near Nemo as well – dry dropper rigs like you would use at Castle Creek will work great.
Spring Creek is fishing well by the road and on the trailhead, but is getting pretty low and could use some rain or snow. The trailhead is still open as of today, but could close at any time with the road construction. Nymphing will definitely pick up the most fish – various jig patterns will work great, if the fish are picky try a midge dropper.
Pactola has opened up for the most part, and the fishing for big rainbows along the shoreline has been great. Try a balanced leech under an indicator about 5-6′ off of rocky points and shorelines.
Fishing has been solid and will continue to be great over the coming week. Swing by the shop for the latest info or gear before you head out!