Fishing continues to be solid throughout the Black Hills, and the moisture we’ve been getting has been great for the streams and the trout! We’ve been out quite a bit over the past week, both guiding and fishing on our own and have found a lot of willing fish. Nymphing is the name of the game most places, but there’s been some opportunities to fish smaller terrestrial patterns and a few Blue Winged Olive hatches as well.
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fluctuating every time we get any moisture, and the fishing will most likely be dependent on the water quality. If it’s not super muddy, you should be able to do well on larger nymph patterns. Pat’s Rubber Legs, Mop Flies, North Fork Specials, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, worms, and various jig patterns in size 10-14 will move some fish. Make sure you’re getting it down, and if you’re in good water fish it thoroughly – they can’t eat your fly if they can’t see it, and if the water’s dirty they can’t see as well! Streamers will work for the larger fish as well. Big and flashy or something with a big profile like a Home Invader or Dungeon will work the best on a light Versileader in the 3-5 ips sink range. Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well, and has improved since the flows bumped up to 80. The fish have spread out a little more, rather than being in the 5 deep holes. That being said, they’re still going to be rather tough to catch – like always. There’s been some fish up on BWO’s on the right days. Try an F Fly, Student, Comparadun, or whatever your favorite BWO pattern is in an 18-20. Fish a long tippet as well, you’ll get a much better drift. Nymphing has been consistent, with more or less the same flies as the last several months. Fish a big scud/worm for a weight fly, and trail a small midge or Blue Winged Olive dropper behind. Boat Anchor Scuds and tungsten worms are good lead flies. Good droppers include Serendipities, Zebra Midges, Green Weenies, Two Bit Hookers, Annelids, Split Back Baetis, and any number of other small, thin flies in a 18-22. Make sure and fish your droppers on light tippet and make sure you’re getting to the fishes level. They won’t move too far out of their way typically!
Rapid Creek in town has been fishing fantastic. The flows are about perfect, and the fish have been pretty willing to eat a wide variety of flies. I’ve been fishing with a Hippie Stomper and a smaller jig dropper and doing well, but you’ll probably catch more fish on a two nymph rig. Jig flies in the 14-16 range have been working the best, but fish a 12 if you need to get down a bit deeper. Assassins, Soft Spots, Optic Nerves, Peacock Jigs, Skinny Jigs, and the good ol’ Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tails have been working great. I would either fish a double jig setup with the smaller one as the trailer, or a bigger, heavier jig with a midge dropper. The fish haven’t been super particular, but don’t be afraid to change if you’re on fish and they’re not into it. A lot of the fish have been in the shallower water since the flows came up, so don’t overlook the knee to waist deep stuff as well.
Spearfish Creek continues to fish great, both in town and in the canyon. It’s mostly a nymphing game, but it’s been solid. The two jig setup works fantastic on Spearfish as well, and it’s heavy enough to get you down in fast pocket water. The fish in Spearfish seem to like skinny flies, so make sure and fish something that’s not super bulky. Peacock Jigs, Assassins, Sweet Peas, Party Crashers, and Skinny Jigs have all been solid bets. If you want to fish the bigger, slower pools you might have to put a midge or BWO dropper on in size 18-20. They’re a little pickier when they can get a better look at your flies. You can fish smaller terrestrials in town, especially if you can see the fish in pretty shallow water. Foam Beetles, Ants, and smaller Klinkhamers will work well, as well as a simple Parachute Adams. As usual, make sure and fish everything and you’ll be surprised where you find the fish at!
Castle Creek is fishing well both above and below Deerfield. You can get by with a dry-dropper rig just about everywhere if you want to fish nymphs. Hippie Stompers are about all I use for an indicator fly any more, but a Klinkhamer or Stimulator will work just as well. Good droppers are Tung Teasers, Tungsten Psychos, Sweet Peas, Flashback Pheasant Tails, and jig Hare’s Ears in size 16 or so. If you run into some pickier fish, various midge patterns will work great. There’s a few BWO’s hatching most days as well – the same flies as Rapid Creek will work just fine. If you’re fishing Castle, make sure and focus on the places where the creek makes a sharp bend. The fish are a lot less spooky and they’re much easier to catch than the fish in the straight and slow water.
Spring Creek has been starting to fish fairly well below Sheridan. They’ve been running the cold water valve, and there’s a decent number of fish around. Concentrate on the larger pools and runs along the road, and hike up from the trailhead towards the dam for more opportunities. Mostly nymphing, but there’s been some caddis and yellow stones this week. Barr’s Tung Teasers, Jig Pheasant Tails, and Jig Prince nymphs will be good options. Try woolly buggers, sculpzillas, Kreelexes, and other small to mid sized streamers in the large pools.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, with Sand Creek having better dry fly fishing. Blue Winged Olives are going to be the strongest hatches until we start to see more caddis and little yellow stones later this month. 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. Terrestrial season is upon us, so don’t be afraid to fish beetles, ants, and small hopper patterns as well. Klinkhamers are an awesome searching pattern for both of these creeks. 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.
Warmwater fishing is getting much better. Pactola and Sheridan have been fishing fairly well for Pike, and the warm weather this week will really make the fish start to get more active. Bass dams on the prairie are beginning to get good as well – quite a few folks have had some luck for largemouth near Wall. Smallie fishing on Angostura is heating up as well – try Murdich Minnows or Grim Reapers on rocky banks or sunken trees. Definitely get out for pike in the coming week. Should really start to fish well as the water temps on Sheridan and Pactola inch up.
Fishing has been solid, and the opportunites are numerous. Give us a call at the shop at 605-341-2450 or swing by if you have any questions, want some of the latest flies, or if you’d like to book a guided trip for a fantastic day of small stream fishing in the Black Hills with one of our expert guides!