With the spring storm we just got slammed with the past couple days, a few of our local streams maybe a bit on the high side for a bit. There’s still an ample amount of good stream fishing to be had, but we have a ton of lakes with great fishing that get overlooked by most fly anglers. A lot of the folks in the shop are deterred by the higher flows, which means it’s a fantastic time to try lake fishing, especially if you’re not used to wading/fishing our streams at bigger flows than average. There’s tons of great lakes in all parts of the Black Hills – here’s a few places to try and techniques to use!
The big three lakes in the Black Hills all hold great numbers of trout. The state stocks a lot of fish each year, but there’s good numbers of holdover fish that grow to a solid size, as well as a few wild fish for good measure. Pactola, Deerfield, and Sheridan all offer fantastic opportunities to connect with good numbers of fish in the 14-20″ range once you get them dialed in. On all three of these lakes you can do well from shore, but a small watercraft is advantageous at times as well – float tubes are a great inexpensive way to get out a little ways and be a bit more mobile. The fish seem to be nearly everywhere on these lakes, and figuring out the depth the fish are at is more important than just about anything else.
We have a ton of smaller lakes in the Black Hills, and nearly all of them hold great numbers of trout. Bismarck, Center, Legion, Sylvan, Roubaix, Iron Creek, Coxes, and Dalton Lake are a few that all have great numbers of fish and good access. Most all of these lakes are pretty easy to fish from shore, but are easy to get a small watercraft into as well. The state stocks these lakes as well, and many of them hold good sized holdover fish as well!
The old standard of casting out a Wooly Bugger and stripping it back on a floating line will work just fine, but there’s some other techniques that will work well when the fish aren’t as aggressive or are a bit deeper than your standard bugger and a floating like can get. Boobie flies have become really popular for lake fishing in the US recently, and they work quite well. Fish them on a pretty heaving sinking tip line with a short leader – the floating foam eyes will keep your fly off the bottom and right where the fish are! They fish really well fished slowly along the bottom, but adjust as necessary. Blob flies are another great fly to fish on sinking line with a slow retrieve. Another great option if the fish are a bit more sluggish is to fish a balanced leech and a nymph underneath a bobber – this is a killer technique, especially if there’s a little chop that will move your flies up and down. Balanced Leeches, jig Prince Nymphs, Slim Jims, Soft Spots, and Yellow Spots are all great bets fished underneath an indicator. The key to this technique is to keep adjusting your depth until you figure out where the fish are – when you get it right you’ll know it.
Don’t let higher flows get you down and keep you from fishing – there’s still plenty of great angling opportunities throughout the hills for trout, as well as some great warmwater opportunties as well. Look for a post in the next day or two about some of the great warmwater fishing we have available!