Fishing throughout the Black Hills is still great! We had some rugged weather a couple days ago that dumped a little moisture over the Hills, and it’s helped the flows out on many of the local streams. Fishing has been solid just about everywhere, and there’s starting to be more dry fly fishing opportunities, especially terrestrial patterns.
Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing good, especially if you’re not concerned with the size of the fish. Dry-dropper type rigs with a Hippie Stomper or Klinkhamer for a dry fly/indicator have been good. Trail a Tung Teaser, Psycho, Tungsten Zebra, or various jig patterns in the 14-16 range a couple feet below as a dropper fly and you’ll pick up plenty of fish. Below Pactola has been fishing well, mostly with various double nymph rigs. Try a Boat Anchor Scud, Tungsten Rainbow Czech, or your favorite worm pattern trailed by a Split Back BWO, Zebra Midge, Two Bit Hooker, or various other small, slender flies and you’ll pick up some fish. The flows came up a little bit, so there’s some fish in a little skinnier water as well. Try the same dropper patterns as the nymph rig trailed below a Hi Viz Beetle or other small terrestrial and you’ll pick up some fish as well. There’s been a few BWO’s and midges coming off sporadically as well, so have a few Morgan’s Midges, Comparaduns, F-Flies, and Students along as well incase you see some noses poking up. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing excellent. There’s some Tricos hatching on a lot of mornings in town, so if you’re out early have a few trico dries. Nymphing has been solid with various jig patterns trailed by a Zebra Midge or small BWO pattern if you’re in the deeper holes. If you’re fishing the choppy water, Hippie Stompers and droppers are hard to beat. I’ve been doing really well on Skinny Jigs and Jig Assassins a couple feet below a Royal Hippie Stomper. Fish everything, as there’s fish in water that hardly covers their backs quite often throughout the summertime.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing great! We’ve been guiding there a lot, and people are astounded with the number and quality of the fish. The fish in town and in the canyon will eat a lot of the same patterns. I’ve been doing best with a larger jig fly trailed by a skinny jig or a quill jig in a size 16-18. Smaller midge droppers worked well yesterday for the pickier fish, but if you fish the right type of water you’ll find a lot of fish that are willing to eat the big fly. As with everywhere else, Hippie Stomper/dropper rigs are fantastic, especially if you’re just wanting to cover some water quickly. Worms are a great bet as well, especially after the flows bump up and are on the way back down. The fish in the canyon are in the fast water for sure lately, and will eat a lot of flies in the 12-14 range. I pumped a few yesterday and they’re loaded with caddis, so don’t be afraid to try an olive czech style nymph or our Bottom Bouncer Caddis! Besides those, Jig Assassins, Soft Spots, Peacock Quills, and Sweet Peas are solid bets. If they get picky, drop a small midge pattern a foot behind. If you want to learn how to effectively fish pocket water and steep, fast flowing rivers like Spearfish, give us a call to go out with one of our expert guides!
Castle Creek is prime for dry fly/terrestrial fishing. We were there with some clients late last week and did excellent fishing small terrestrial patterns, as well as nymphing the deeper holes. There’s some really nice brookies to be had up there right now! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Hippie Stompers trailed by a small jig or tungsten Zebra nymph have been the moneymakers. The key to Castle below the dam is finding either the choppier water, or the places where the creek makes a significant bend. These fish are ten times less spooky and way more willing to eat than the fish that are posted up in the glassy water! If you can get the fly in front of these fish without spooking them, they’re pretty likely to eat it.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, and are mostly going to be a dry fly game in the coming weeks. These creeks both get pretty choked with weeds by early summer, so your most effective technique is going to be fishing the lanes between the weeds with some sort of terrestrial/attractor dry fly pattern. Hippie Stompers, Hi Viz Beetles, Purple Hazes, Morrish Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, and various other attractor patterns will work well. You’ll see some caddis and BWO hatches occasional on these creeks as well, so have a few flies that are a bit more realistic with you as well. Stealth is the name of the game!
Lake fishing in the southern hills has been good for those that are looking for a little easier option. Center and Sylvan lakes are good bets right now. Small Mini Leeches or buggers either slowly stripped on an intermediate line, or fished a few feet below an indicator or great bets. There’s a good number of fish on the surface in the mornings/evenings as well, so have a few parachute adams or Callibaetis patterns with if you’re going to be there early or late.
Bass fishing is starting to heat up! All of the prairie lakes are fishing well, both on the surface and subsurface. Fishing frog patterns on the edges of the weeds and slop is a great technique to catch big bass, and it’s a ton of fun! We have some great weedless frog patterns here at the shop that are just the ticket. If you’re going to fish subsurface, a Grim Reaper or Crazy Craw stripped super slowly along the bottom will work perfect.
Overall the fishing has been solid. We’ve had a lot of successful guided trips out lately throughout the Black Hills, and everywhere’s been great! Give us a call at the shop or stop in if you’d like to book a trip with one of our guides, or if you want to ask questions about where to go or what to use.