May 12, 2019 5 min read
Fishing has been excellent just about everywhere in the Black Hills over the past week, with a wide variety of opportunities available.Most of the trout streams are at a fishable flow, and there’s some great lake and warmwater opportunities around right now as well. The weather and fishing should be excellent this week!
Rapid Creek above Pactola came up to over 200 cfs again the last couple days – it’s going to be a muddy, fast place for awhile. Give it another week of dry weather and it might be fishable. The high water should pull some fish out of the lake, which will be nice when it comes down.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is around 175 cfs, which is high but still fishable. Nymphing is going to be the name of the game for the most part, but there may be some limited streamer fishing as well. Nymph fishing hasn’t changed much from the last week – big bobbers, lots of weight, and reasonably small flies for a dropper. Use a big tungsten fly for your top fly, the particular pattern isn’t super important, as long as you have something heavy enough to get down. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Boat Anchors, and Squirmies should get the job done. Good droppers include Split Back Baetis, Two Bit Hookers, Killer Mayfly Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, WD-40s, and various Zebra Midges in 16-20. Thinner, dark patterns have been getting the job done with the fish starting to key in on Baetis nymphs. Weight and depth are what’s going to be the difference between catching fish or not – don’t be afraid to get it to drag on the bottom, then shorten up from there. The folks that are doing well are getting their flies down to the fish quickly. If you want to streamer fish, larger articulated patterns fished on a sink tip will do the trick.
Rapid Creek in town is cruising at 250 cfs or so, which is high. Most of the fish are going to be anywhere there’s slightly softer water, as well as the deeper inside corners. Nymphing is pretty much the way to go right now, with a wide variety of stuff moving fish. Mop Flies, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Worms, and various other big jig flies will get some attention in size 8-12. You can try some smaller droppers in 14-16 if you’re in some slower water where the fish can get a longer look at your flies. Jig Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Soft Spots, Assassins, Bloom’s Optic Nerve, and Skinny Jigs are good droppers. The fish are more than willing to eat if you get your flies down to them! The high flows have flushed out most of the didymo as well, so it’s nice and clean.
Spring Creek is fishing well, both on the trailhead and down by the road. Nymph fishing is the best bet to stack some numbers up. Jig Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, Optic Nerves, Brush Hogs, Prince Nymphs, Soft Spots, Assassins, and Tungsten Rainbow Czech nymphs are all good choices in size 12-16. You can do well fishing with a single fly, but in the deeper runs you may have to put two on to have enough weight to get down. Fishing has been pretty darn solid here over the past few weeks!
Castle Creek report hasn’t changed much over the past week, so this is pretty much verbatim from last week – Castle Creek is fishing well both above and below Deerfield. The lake rainbows are pushing up into the creek, and it’s pretty easy fishing for nice sized fish. Various jig patterns in size 12-16 will work great. They’re not picky, just get it in front of them and you’ll do well. Below the dam is a bit more technical, but is still fishing great. Dry-dropper rigs will cover the vast majority of the spots down there. Klinkhamers, Henryville Specials, Elk Hair Caddis and Stimulators are good lead flies. Droppers that will work are tungsten Midges, Skinny Jigs, Psycho Nymphs, and Tung Teasers. There are a few BWOs around most days in the mid morning as well – good patterns include Sparkle Duns, No Hackles, Brooks Sprout, Parachute BWOs, and Students in size 16-18.
Spearfish Creek is fishing killer right now, and has some of the most normal flows at 100 cfs. That’s the perfect flow to spread some fish out, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a few of them. As per usual, jig nymphs are going to be the star of the show both in town and in the canyon. Slim Jims, Jig Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, Optic Nerves, Lightning Bugs, Skinny Jigs, and various worm patterns will work well, both as lead flies and droppers. Fish a 12-14 for your top fly, and drop a 14-16 below it. With the current flows, you shouldn’t have to go much smaller than that, but if you run across some pickier fish in slower water try a zebra midge or similar pattern in 16-20. The name of the game on Spearfish is line control, so get your line up off the water and fish close and you’ll be surprised how much better you do. The new Ninja Leaders with sliding indicator we have at the shop are the cat’s meow for Spearfish – pick one up before you go!
Sand Creek is a little on the high side, but is still fishing well. Dry-droppers will get the job done in most spots on Sand. Hippie Stompers, Klimkhamers, and User Friendlys are great options for indicator flies that are easy to see, but will still get some looks from fish. Skinny Jigs, Psychos, Tung Teasers, Slim Jims, Pheasant Tails, Brush Hogs, and Hare’s Ears are good dropper flies in size 14-16. The fish on Sand Creek typically aren’t super selective, so be stealthy and you’ll be surprised how well you do.
The pike fishing has been very solid over the past few days, and should continue to be excellent through the month and into June in the higher elevation hills lakes. Opal, Tisdale, Keyhole, Sheridan, Pactola, Stockade, and various other prairie lakes are fishing great. Most of the fish are going to be reasonably shallow this time of year, so you can get away with an intermediate or type 3 line. If you’re fishing Sheridan or Pactola, something slightly heavier line a Sonar Intermediate/3/5 will be a better choice. Fly choice is more of a personal preference than anything else, but having a variety to change between is a good idea. We have a great selection of pike flies from EP, Rainy’s, and Umpqua in the shop right now! There’s some opportunities for big lakers on Pactola right now as well – super heavy sinking lines and fishing structure will find you the most fish. Smaller baitfish patterns have been the most successful. These are big, old fish that will take you for a ride!
This is a fantastic time of year to be fishing in the Black Hills – there’s lots of different opportunities, and the fishing is great! Swing by the shop for the best bugs and gear, or to grab a map or hire one of our expert guides for a day.
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