While the trout fishing is still excellent, with the higher water a lot of folks are wanting to chase bass, pike, or carp on the fly. We have a ton of good warmwater fishing locally, with a wide variety of different locations and species to check out. Here’s a brief list of different species we have available locally, as well as locations to try and suggested gear. Expand your fly fishing horizon this summer!
Carp – There are tons of carp within an hour of Rapid City, and it’s a mostly overlooked resource. Carp will challenge even the most seasoned fly angler – they’re hyper aware of their surroundings, and they’re pretty selective. Trying to tell when a carp takes your fly is one of the most challenging parts of carp fishing, and once you have them good they run and pull hard. If you want to challenge yourself and have a lot of fun doing it, give Carp a chance! Good locations include Orman, Angostura, the Belle Fourche River, and the Cheyenne River. Good patterns to try – Barry’s Carp Bitter, Swimming Carp Nymphs, and Carp Craws. On the lakes, you’ll often see them eating off the surface as well. Stimulators, Klinkhamers, and various Hopper patterns will work well if you see fish on top. You can chase carp with your 5 weight, but if you have a 6-8 weight you can pull a lot harder on the fish and land them quicker.
Bass – Bass are arguably one of the most prevalent fish in South Dakota – they’re in the vast majority of lakes, reservoirs, and farm ponds. They’re a lot of fun on a fly rod as well! If you’re fishing early or late, you can do well fishing Boogle Bugs and Frog Patterns next to the weeds or shore line. Work them slower than you think, and let the fish hang onto it for a second before you drive the hook home! If you’re fishing more in the middle of the day, sinking presentations are going to be your best bet. Grim Reapers are one of our most productive bass flies, and I wouldn’t be caught fishing bass without several of them. Cast the fly out, let it sink to the bottom, and slowly work the fly back to you. Typically, your strike will just be the end of your line taking off to the left or the right – when bass pick up the Reaper, they don’t let it go! Other good patterns include Jawbreakers, Ultimate Worms, and Murdich Minnows. 6-8 weight rods are a good bet, and I wouldn’t go lighter than 10 pound for tippet. They pull hard, and often get buried in the weeds so you have to have the extra muscle to pull them out! Good places to try include Sheridan, Stockade, Wall, Newell, Waggoner, Murdo, and any number of small farm ponds on the prairie.
Pike – Even with the warmer weather, there’s still plenty of pike fishing opportunities around for the adventurous angler. With water temps in the 70s most places, the fish are going to most likely be in 8-12 feet of water, so you’ll have to fish heavier sinking lines to get down to them. We really like the Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Int/3/5 and Hover/2/4 for getting a fly down quickly and keeping it there. As per usual, covering water is key. The more you move, the more fish you’re going to get your flies in front of! Early and late you can have opportunties to fish surface flies like poppers and divers as well, so have a good variety of flies to try. Good places to try include Sheridan, Stockade, Newell, Keyhole, and various other prairie lakes. Good flies include Gator Dones, EP Pike Flies, and Umpqua Divers.
While the trout fishing is still good, this is a great time of year to branch out and try a few different things than you normally would. It’s fun to see how much fly fishing variety we have in the Black Hills and surrounding area. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest flies, spots to go, or any other questions you might have!