With the nice weather for the past month, lots of folks have had more opportunities to get out fishing - it's been really good for midwinter! There's some opportunities for dry fly fishing at lower elevations, and the nymph fishing has been good most everywhere else. The weather this weekend looks fantastic, take advantage of it and spend a few hours on the stream!
Rapid Creek below Pactola has been lowered to 40cfs, which a little higher than a standard winter flow. That being said, it's low enough that the bulk of the fish are going to be pushed into the deeper holes. Nymph fishing with scuds and midges will be the most effective method. Flying Zebras, Quilldigons, bloodworms, and standard Zebra Midges have been working well in sizes 18-20. Light tippet will get you a few bonus strikes - 6x is preferred for your dropper. You might run into a few rising fish some days, but it's been pretty sporadic. Dry fly fishing should improve in a few weeks.
Rapid Creek in town has been fishing fantastic, and has some solid dry fly fishing most afternoons. Midges typically start around 11-12 and will continue until 2-3, so there's usually at least a couple hours of great dry fly fishing. Griffith's Gnats, Morgan's Midges, Midge Clusters, Eric's Midges, and small parachute Adams are good bets in size 18-20. Most of the rising fish are going to be in the medium depth runs and slicks - anywhere from 18"-36" will typically hold good numbers of rising fish. 6x is helpful to hook a few bonus fish, but you can get away with 5x a lot of the time too. Nymph fishing has been solid as well. Hot bead/hot spot weight flies have been good bets for your first fly - Scud Muffins and French Dips are good bets. Perdigons in Olive and Purple are good droppers, as well as a variety of midge patterns in size 16-18.
Spearfish Creek is fishing well both in the canyon and in town. With the mild winter we've been having, the snow in most of the canyon is only shin deep so you can still get around pretty easily. There are some limited dry fly fishing opportunities with the occasional midge hatch, but you'll do much better nymph fishing. If you're in the right spots, your fly won't matter a ton - Perdigons, Flying Zebras, Quilldigons, Skinny jigs, and small Pheasant Tails are good bets. Most of the fish are going to be in knee to waist deep water that's fairly slow. Your strikes can be fairly light when the water is this cold, so be in tune and be willing to set the hook on nearly anything.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, with the same nymphs as Spearfish Creek. The fish on both of these streams aren't too picky typically, but they can be pretty spooky. Slightly longer leaders and a stealthy approach go a long ways in catching fish! The dry fly fishing should really be ramping up in the next couple of weeks - most years the Blue Winged Olives start hatching around Valentine's Day, some years before. These are the largest BWO's we get all year, and can make for some fun fishing. CDC Thorax Duns, Hackle Stackers, Students, and F Flies are good flies in size 16-18. The fish really like these bugs for some reason, so if you're lucky enough to run into a good hatch you'll have some fantastic fishing.
Fishing has been solid, particularly for January! Give us a call or swing by for the latest flies or fishing report.