While the weather is getting colder, the fishing is still hot! We've been talking about streamer fishing a lot, but it's damn good and it'll get you some big fish. The nymphing and dry fly fishing has transitioned more to winter-type flies and tactics, but it's still excellent fishing. Most people are focusing their efforts on shooting the state bird right now, so the creeks are exceptionally empty, leaving you with miles of water to explore by your lonesome!
Rapid Creek is fishing well as a whole. Above the lake you aren't going to catch nearly as many fish, but if you're throwing streamers you have the chance to stick a big Pactola-run brown. It definitely won't be a numbers game, but the chance is always there! Below the dam and in town, any number of tactics will take fish. There's a good midge hatch, and the fish are up on them. Mostly smaller fish, but you could have a really fun afternoon just fishing small dries. Nymphing is business as usual - put a larger UV Czech or jig in front, and a small (18-22) midge pattern in your favorite color below that and adjust your depth until you start catching fish. Streamer fishing is where I've been focusing my efforts, and it's been really good! A light sink tip is helpful to get your flies down a bit faster. Any number of patterns will work, but a few of my favorites are the Home Invader, Kreelex, and Dali Lama.
Spearfish Creek is fishing well also. Be mindful of the spawning fish up here right now - there's a lot of them! The nymphing is very good throughout Spearfish Creek right now, both in the canyon and in town. Your window of warm weather throughout the day in the canyon will be fairly short, but the fishing will still be just fine. Jig Pheasant Tails and Jig Red Butts have been our go-to patterns lately, trailed by a cream or red midge. Streamer fishing in town is good also, and will move significantly larger fish than you otherwise would fishing nymphs.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is in it's regular winter routine - mostly nymphing, but short windows of midge dry fishing depending on the day. Small jig patterns trailed by a midge will keep the fish interested, just make sure you're getting it right in front of their face! Small streamers like a Sculpzilla will interest some fish as well.
Spring Creek is mostly a nymphing game right now as well, but the fishing is still very good. As the water has gotten colder, the fish have spread out throughout the system again, so from the bridges on Sheridan Lake Road all the way up to the dam is fishing well! Fly-wise it's pretty much the same story as everywhere else - larger attractor tungsten nymph trailed by a small midge in your favorite flavor. There's some big browns prowling around Spring as well, so I wouldn't be afraid to fish big streamers either.
Overall, our great season of fly fishing in the Black Hills just keeps on rolling. Still plenty of fish to be caught, and there's no shortage of big fish this year either. As always, feel free to give us a call at the shop, shoot us an email, or just stop by and we can give you up to the minute information and get you headed in the right direction!