We’ve been in quite the cool, damp weather pattern over the past few days, and the next few days look to be more of the same. Most of the creeks in the central Black Hills are high but fishable, with the northern hills streams being more normal flows. Despite the strange weather, the fishing has been excellent throughout the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is high, and will most likely come up quite a bit with the moisture over the next couple days. Let this come down below 200 cfs before making the drive up.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is at 250cfs, which is pretty high but still fishable. Nymph fishing is going to be your best bet, and the fish are definitely keyed in on Baetis nymphs and various scuds and worms. Use a Squirmy Wormy, Mop Fly, Tungsten Rainbow Czech, or Boat Anchor Scud for your lead fly in size 10-14. Drop a Two Bit Hooker, T Baetis, Skinny Nelson, Pheasant Tail, Skinny Jig, or Split Back Baetis in size 16-20 as a dropper. Fish it like you’re fishing a bigger western river – use a larger indicator, and you’ll definitely need some weight to help get down. We’ve been running a couple size 4 split shot and a 3/4″ bobber about 5 feet above the fly in most spots, but you can adjust as needed depending on the spot you’re in. Placerville area could be a good option as well, especially downstream of the camp. Streamer fishing is a good option as well with a sink tip line and pretty big flies – Dungeons, Home Invaders, and Threesomes are good bets.
Rapid Creek in town is right around 310cfs, which is cruising pretty quick. Nymph fishing with big flies is going to be the ticket. Mop Flies, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungsten San Juans, Sqiurmy Wormies, and various big jig flies in size 12-14 will be good bets. Find anywhere where the water is slower or broken, and you’ll find the fish. The fish don’t want to be in the middle of the fast current either – there’s a lot of fish on soft inside edges and behind all of the rock placements in town. The fishing in town can be really good even with the high water, so don’t let the flows scare you off. Find the slower water and you’ll find the fish. Streamer fishing can be good too, especially right next to the banks and next to flooded grass. Kreelexes, Sculpzillas, and Mini Dungeons are good bets.
Spearfish Creek has been staying pretty consistent flows, and hasn’t seen the drastically higher flows that the rest of the streams around the area have, and the fishing has been fantastic. Various combinations of jig nymphs have been working well, with a lot of thinner flies working great. For the lead fly, try a Soft Spot, Brush Hog, Optic Nerve, Yellow Spot, or Tungsten Worm for a lead fly in size 12-14. Good droppers have been Skinny Jigs, Assassins, Peacock Jigs, Duracells, and various tungsten midge patterns. The flows are high enough that the fish are spread out into a lot of different water, so you can do well fishing just about anywhere. I used the new Ninja Leaders up there last week, and they’re hands down the best leader for fishing Spearfish Creek I’ve ever seen – super easy to adjust, and they sink well and keep you tight to your flies.
Sand Creek is fishing great, with dry droppers being the best bet. Fat Franks trailed by a Skinny Jig, Tung Teaser, Psycho, Pheasant Tail, Assassin, or Duracell will work great. As usual, presentation trumps pattern on Sand Creek. Both above and below the private is fishing great! Crow Creek should be fishing well also, with the same nymphs as Spearfish Creek. There’s no gauge on Crow any more, so it’s a bit of a shot in the dark – Spearfish and Sand Creek are close if it’s blown out.
Spring Creek is fishing very well both by the bridges and on the trailhead. Pretty standard nymph fare will work just fine – Jig Hare’s Ears, Slim Jims, Soft Spots, Assassins, Yellow Spots, Pheasant Tails, Mop Flies, and worms will all work great. Fish a pretty big lead fly in the 10-12 range and make sure you’re getting down to the fish and you’ll do great!
Pike fishing has been solid over the past week, with some big fish caught. The cooler weather may throw it off for a day or two, but we should be back to business as usual by mid week. Sheridan, Pactola, Stockade, Tisdale, Opal, Keyhole, and various other lakes are all fishing well. A couple guys did great last week in the Grand River below Shadehill Reservoir as well. On the prairie you can get away with an intermediate line, but if you’re fishing in the hills you’re going to need a slightly heavier sinking line. Most of the fish we’ve caught lately have been in the 10-15′ range, which is perfect for the Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Intermediate/3/5 – it’s quickly becoming one of our favorite sinking lines for chasing pike! We’ve had better luck with smaller flies in the 4-6″ range over the past week, but don’t be afraid to experiment if you’re not doing well.
Fishing has been great, with a lot of good opportunities around the area. Swing by the shop for the latest gear and reports, and feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or if you want to book a day with one of our guides!