It’s been plenty hot out recently, but the fishing continues to be great. The fishing on Rapid, Spearfish, and Castle Creeks has been the most consistent, but some of the smaller streams have been fishing well also. We’ve had a lot of folks out over the past week and have had some solid days on the water!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is finally low enough to be fishable, and should be fishing well as long as we don’t get any big rain events. Larger nymph patterns fished under an indicator will be your best bet until the flows dip below 100 cfs. Jig Hare’s Ears, Brush Hogs, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and worm patterns will all be good bets. Most of the fish above the lake seem to like the bigger holes, but don’t overlook the choppy water in between the big holes as well. The water is still high enough that I would use a size 10-12 tungsten nymph as your lead fly and trail with a 14-16. Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well at 140 cfs. There’s some sporadic dry fly activity with various bugs – If you want to fish dry flies try a beetle, ant, or cricket pattern. You can match the hatch if there’s a lot of bugs coming off as well, but the fish are pretty opportunistic and will eat a terrestrial most of the time. Nymphing is going to be your best bet, and PMD nymphs have been the biggest thing on the menu lately. Split Case PMDs, Two Bit Hookers, and Flashback Pheasant Tails are all good flies in a size 18-20. Fish them behind a heavy lead fly like a Boat Anchor Scud or Tungsten Rainbow Czech to help get down quickly. You might have to use some additional weight to get down in the deeper faster water as well. Make sure you’re getting your flies down to the fish and you’ll tangle with a few. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing excellent, and with the lower flows terrestrial fishing has been solid. Hippie Stompers, Foam Beetles, Parachute Ants, and small hopper patterns are all good bets in size 12-16. Try and fish the skinnier water if you’re fishing dries, there’s a lot of fish in knee deep water or less. Nymphing has been solid as well. Tungsten Worm patterns trailed by a smaller jig fly in size 14-16 have been getting the job done. Assassins, Brush Hogs, Slim Jims, and Optic Nerves have been good bets! There are tricos hatching early in the morning, and caddis in the evenings as well.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing excellent. Terrestrial fishing has been improving significantly, and we’ve had good luck with smaller hopper patterns lately. Morrish Hoppers, Fuzzy Wuzzys, Chubby Chernobyls, and Dave’s Hoppers have been good flies in size 10 or so. If you can find a fish and not spook it, they’ll typically eat them on the first cast or two. Hopper Droppers are working well, with most of the fish eating the nymph but a decent number eating the dry as well. Good nymphs include Skinny Jigs, Assassins, Slim Jims, Hare’s Ears, and Jig Pheasant Tails in size 12-16 are good bets. The fish are more than willing to eat larger flies, just change the size/weight to match the depth and speed of water you’re fishing. There’s a lot of fish in the heads of the riffles, so make sure and fish everything thoroughly. Spearfish is fishing very well right now, and it’s worth the 40 minute drive from Rapid City!
Castle Creek is fishing great with dry dropper rigs below Deerfield. Dry-droppers are the name of the game. Hippie Stompers, Fuzzy Wuzzys, and Klinkhamers are all good dries. Drop a Skinny Jig, Tungsten Zebra Midge, Tung Teaser, Psycho, Soft Spot, or Peacock Jig below the dry and you’ll find plenty of fish. There’s no shortage of fish in Castle Creek, just make yourself focus on the corners and faster water. The fish in the slow, straight water are incredibly hard to get close to and they’re super spooky. The Kinney Canyon walk in area is fishing well, and downstream of Slate Prairie Road is a good bet as well. Fish the good water and you’ll find plenty of fish!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are good bets also. Dry dropper rigs are also a good bet, and most of the water isn’t deep/swift enough to warrant using a full blown nymph rig. Fish on Sand Creek like eating terrestrials, so I wouldn’t hesitate to fish a Bloom’s Parachute Ant, Hippie Stomper, Morrish Hopper, Klinkhamer, or Hi Viz Beetle close to the bank. If you can get a terrestrial in front of a fish without spooking it, you stand a solid chance of hooking them. If they aren’t diggin’ the flies on the surface, try dropping a Tung Teaser, Psycho, or small Skinny Jig Below it as a dropper fly. If the fish get picky, Tungsten Zebra Midges and Two Bit Hookers are hard to beat.
All of the smaller streams are fishing well right now, but keep the water temperatures in mind in the afternoons when it’s hot out. Carry a thermometer and use it – if the water gets warmer than 63-65, pack your stuff up and have a beer, take a nap, or go tie some flies. That being said, all of the smaller streams are fishing well. Box Elder, French Creek, Hanna, Little Spearfish, upper Whitewood, and upper Rapid Creek are all fishing great. I would mostly stick to dries if I was heading to any of those places, but smaller tungsten nymphs will work great as well. Pick your favorite dry-dropper combo and have at it!
Fishing has been good despite the warm weather, and it looks like the weather later this week will cool off significantly. Give us a call at 605-341-2450 if you have any questions, or swing by the shop for the hottest flies, a map on where to go, or if you’d like to book a day with one of our guides!