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Black Hills Fishing Report – 7/5/2019

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Black Hills Fishing Report 7/5/2019

We had some significant rainfall yesterday around the Black Hills area, and a few streams came up quite a bit. That being said, most of our streams are coming back down – a lot of them are fishable today, and most of them will be by this weekend. Rapid Creek above Pactola and Box Elder got the worst of it, but nearly everywhere else is fishable. Don’t let the wet summer we’ve had so far keep you from fishing – it’s been excellent anywhere the water has decent visibility!

Rapid Creek above Pactola is blown. It will be several weeks at best before it’s fishable – it should fish great when it finally comes down though.

Rapid Creek below Pactola is high at 370, and is probably going to get higher with the increased inflows to Pactola. That being said, it’s crystal clear and the fish still have to eat! We did well over the last week fishing big, heavy rigs with worms and various jig flies. It’s more like fishing a big western river than a small tailwater right now – long leaders, 3/4″ bobbers and lots of weight are the key to doing well right now. If you’re not on the bottom when nymphing, you’re not deep enough. Tungsten Worms, Mop Flies, Craneflies, and various jig flies in size 12-16 are good bets. The fish aren’t super picky about flies, but you have to pick the right types of water – they’re definitely in the slower stuff and on the edges. Anywhere that is walking speed or so is a good bet. Streamer fishing is a good option as well – pick whatever streamer you like and put a sink tip on and cover some water!

Rapid Creek in town is fishing well, mostly with nymphs. It’s pretty similar to below Pactola with worms and mop flies being the best bets. Most of the fish are on the edges and anywhere where the current is broken. The fish are really nice with the higher flows all summer, and they’re definitely packing on some pounds. Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies, and Pat’s Rubber Legs are good choices. A lot of the fish are in the flooded grass and on the first edge beyond that, so make sure and fish the stuff that’s close to the bank before wading in and trying to fish the middle. Smaller streamers are a good way to cover more water as well – Kreelexes, Sculpzillas, Home Invaders, and various smaller articulated patterns are good bets. Rapid Creek in town looks a little intimidating right now, but it’s fishing well if you fish the right water.

Spearfish Creek came up to 140 cfs or so, but it will drop fast. 140 is more than fishable, and it pushes the fish out to the edges a bit more so they’re easy to find. Nymph fishing is going to be your best bet, but the terrestrial fishing should pick up considerably over the next week or so. For lead flies, try a tungsten Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungsten Squirmy Wormy, or size 12 jig fly. Something heavy and with a little bulkier profile will work well in the higher, dirtier water. Good droppers include Yellow Spots, Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, Tung Teasers, Brush Hogs, Optic Nerves, and Tungsten Zebra Midges. When the water comes down a bit more, fishing beetles and ants next to the bank will be a solid option as well, and a ton of fun! There’s a lot of spots on Spearfish with overhanging grass, and the fish like to sit underneath or just to the edge of the grass and eat terrestrials that fall in. There are a few caddis around in the evenings in the canyon as well.

Castle Creek below Deerfield is high, but you can find some fish in the slower inside bends and wider sections. Nymph fishing is going to be your best bet, with most of the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish. The fish aren’t super picky, you just have to get it in front of them. Find the slower corners and you’ll find the fish!

Spring Creek below Sheridan Lake is high but fishing well. You can catch fish on dries, nymphs, and streamers there. Nymph fishing is going to be your best bet with larger jig flies and worm patterns, but a variety of flies can work. Smaller hopper patterns are working well also, especially in the faster water. The fish aren’t super selective typically, if you can get it in front of them they’ll probably eat it. The bridges are broken on the trailhead still – it might be a while before they get fixed I would guess.

Custer State Park is back to normal-ish flows. Best fishing will be on the Grace Coolidge Walk-In area and on French Creek near Blue Bell. On Grace Coolidge fish a dry dropper rig with either a yellow stimulator or hippie stomper up and a red copper john dropper. French Creek near Blue Bell lodge is fishing decent. Concentrate on the deeper runs and pools. There are quite a few creek chubs around, but there are some quality brown trout and brook trout to be found. Fish deep with black copper johns, jig hare’s ears, jig copper johns, or jig PTs. Streamers will also work here. Later in the day caddis and little yellow stones could bring fish to the surface.

Warmwater fishing for bass and bluegills has been solid on Sheridan Lake, as well as on the prairie lakes east of Rapid City. New and Old Wall dams are good bets, as well as Bruce dam. Popper fishing has been good early in the morning, and fishing sinking flies will work well throughout the rest of the day. Pike fishing has been good for smaller fish at Tisdale as well.

Black Hills Fly Fishing has been great. Our guides have been having excellent fishing, if you are looking to learn and want to book a trip give us a call at 605-341-2450. This is a great way for visitors and locals alike to experience the best of what the Black Hills have to offer. Stay tuned for next weeks report. Happy Fishing!

Black Hills Fishing Report 7/5/2019



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