We’re happy about the snow last weekend, and hopefully we keep getting more throughout the rest of the winter. More water equals happy trout. The fishing has been pretty solid throughout the Black Hills, mostly at lower elevations. Rapid Creek in town, Spearfish Creek in Spearfish, Sand Creek, and Crow Creek are some of the most consistent options this time of year. Nymphing has been the name of the game if you want to catch big numbers, but there’s good opportunities for dry fly fishing if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Nymph-wise, a wide variety of stuff has been working well. If you’re fishing Rapid Creek, the midge aspect is rather important. Small midges have been consistent producers, with the Bling Midge being one of the best. Any midge in 20-24 should work, so don’t be afraid to go small. Good lead flies for all of our streams right now are Jig Soft Spots, Yellow Spots, Jig Pheasant Tails, Assassins, Brush Hogs, Boat Anchor Scuds, and various tungsten worm patterns. The Rapid Creek fish have liked smaller flies, but the fish everywhere else have seemed to be fine eating larger nymphs in the 14-16 range. Adjust accordingly – if they’re picky, put a small dropper fly on and you’ll do just fine.
There are midges and Blue Winged Olives hatching on all of the above creeks right now, with Sand Creek and Rapid Creek having the best opportunities for finding fish on the surface. Good BWO patterns include CDC Thorax Duns, Students, Sparkle Duns, Comparaduns, and the good ol’ parachute BWO. If you see bugs that stick out a lot more prominently on the water’s surface, the fish are probably eating BWO’s in a size 16-18. If you see fish rising and can’t hardly see any insect activity, they’re eating midges more than likely. Good midge patterns include Eric’s Midges, Morgan’s Midges, F Flies, and Sipper Midges, 6x is your friend if you see fish rising!
Overall, the fishing has been solid, especially on the days when the weather warms up a bit and the fish are a bit more active. We’ve had a few guided trips out lately with good success, and folks in the shop have been having good luck as well. Give us a call or swing by the shop if you have any other questions or want to go out for a day with one of our guides!