Due to a busy past few weeks, we’ve been lacking in the fishing report and blogging department. Our guiding season has gotten off to a really busy start, and we’ve all been out on the water just about every day. Fishing has been pretty darn good, even with the warmer weather and drier conditions we’ve had lately. All of the major streams are fishing well, as well as all of the little creeks and streams around. If you don’t mind fishing smaller streams for smaller wild fish, it’s a great time!
Upper Rapid Creek is fishing well, mostly with dry-dropper type rigs. On most all of the smaller streams throughout the Hills, that’s our default setup throughout the summer. The particular fly probably isn’t of huge concern, but I’ve been using Humpies, Stimulators, Parachute Ants, and smaller hopper patterns in the 10-14 range for the dry. Trail them with a Tungsten Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail, Red Fox Squirrel Nymph, Rainbow Warrior, or Tungsten Psycho Nymph in 16-18. When you’re fishing the smaller streams like upper Rapid, don’t be too concerned about your flies and focus more on where you’re casting them! Trout in smaller streams can really be found just about anywhere, so don’t overlook the water that might only be ankle deep. Below Pactola is fishing well, but it’s been a bit on the busy side. Nymphing has been the most productive method lately. Fish a larger, scud-type pattern as a lead fly and trail it with a small baetis, PMD, or midge pattern. I like Boat Anchor Scuds, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and various other scud patterns in orange, tan, and olive in size 12-16. For your dropper, make sure you’re fishing 6x as well. Try any flavor of Zebra Midge, Tungsten Split Case BWO or PMD, Two Bit Hooker, or Tungsten Bruised PMD in 16-22 depending on how picky the fish are. There’s some terrestrial fishing opportunities as well, with crickets and beetles being the best bets lately. Big Secret Crickets, Bloom’s Parachute Cricket, Parachute Ants, and Hi-Viz Beetles are all good choices. The fish will come up from way down to check out a terrestrial, so don’t overlook fish that seem to be too deep to rise up to the surface. Streamer fish can be good as well, but can really vary depending on the day. Take a few up with you, you never know when the fish will be ready to chase down some bigger flies. Fishing in town has been good also, with a variety of nymphing and dry flies producing some action. There’s a good trico hatch in the mornings, but it’s generally over by 7:30 or 8. So if you’re going to get out early, definitely take a few Chubby Tricos or Parachute Tricos. During the day you can catch fish on terrestrials, but nymphing will definitely be the better choice if you want to catch more fish. Various jig patterns have been producing good numbers of fish, with 16’s definitely getting a few more looks than 14’s. Jig Assassins, Pheasant Tails, and Hare’s Ears have been good bets. If the fish get a little more touchy, drop a purple or black Zebra Midge below it. In the evenings there’s been a good number of caddis on the water and the fish are definitely looking up towards them. The good ol’ Elk Hair Caddis always produces some fish, and we’ve been having good luck on Bloom’s Parachute Caddis as well. If they won’t eat it dead drifted, cast it downstream and skitter it back up!
Spearfish Creek is fishing very well, and we’ve all been spending a fair amount of time both in the canyon and in town. The canyon is fishing very well all the way from Cheyenne Crossing down to Maurice Intake. Nymphing has been the name of the game for the most part, but from now throughout the rest of the summer the fish will always be susceptible to picking up a beetle or ant off of the surface. The upper canyon from Savoy upstream is better water to fish a dry fly in because it’s a lot slower and easier for the fish to come up to the surface. If you’re nymphing, many of the same flies that we’ve been using all year. Jig Assassins, Jig Pheasant Tails, Soft Spots, Hare’s Ears, North Fork Specials, and any slender, dark colored fly in a 16 or 18 fished as a dropper will do well. As always, fish the fast water and all of the edges and you’ll do much better. Spearfish Creek through the town of Spearfish is fishing very well, and the fish are actually a bit bigger than the canyon. Fish the same flies as the canyon if you’re going to nymph. There’s a good number of Yellow Sallies hanging around too, so have a few patterns to imitate those. There’s also a good chance of fish coming up to eat a hopper or a beetle, especially if you fish one tight to the bank!
Castle Creek has been a good bet for fishing dry flies, and we’ve been doing really well from Deerfield down to the confluence with Rapid Creek. Smaller terrestrials have been bringing some fish up, and because the water is on the low side the fish have been just as willing to come up and eat a dry fly most days. Smaller Grand Hoppers and Morrish Hoppers in 10-14 have been good bets, as well as Bloom’s Parachute Ant and Hi-Viz Beetles. Stimulators and Elk Hair Caddis are always good options as well. If you get down from the Kinney Canyon walk-in area, you can fish 5x or even 4x, but if you’re closer to the dam I’d fish 6x to your smaller flies and 5x to your hoppers. If you want to fish a dropper, try smaller jig patterns or Tung Teasers. Castle Creek is a good bet to go out and fish some dry flies to some willing fish!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are some of your best bets for fishing hoppers during the summer, and they’re also some of your best bets for finding snakes. Be mindful of snakes if you’re fishing either of these creeks. Take whatever your favorite hopper patterns are, and make some longer casts so you don’t spook fish. The fish on Sand and Crow will eat a lot of different terrestrial patterns, just as long as you don’t spook them. Bloom’s Parachute Ant and Parachute Cricket are two of our favorites for these creeks as well. I wouldn’t even bother fishing much in the way of nymph patterns right now, especially with as weedy as these two creeks will be. The fish are more than willing to come up and eat a cricket, hopper, or beetle.
Spring Creek is in rough shape, and is really warm and really low. Hope for some rain and cooler temperatures, but for the time being Spring Creek is cooked.
Overall the fishing has been fantastic, especially considering the lower water we’ve been having. We have had a lot of guided trips out over the past couple weeks, and we’ve had a lot of happy clients! Give us a call to book your trip for the remainder of the summer – we’re booking up pretty quick. Stop by the shop if you’re headed out and we can get you pointed in the right direction and show you a few of the best bugs!