As far as January weather and fishing goes, the next week looks to be fantastic! We have had some great fishing over the past few weeks, and the weather looks like it's going to stay in the 40s over the next week - great weather to get out and fish. Rapid Creek below Pactola is at 40 cfs, which is a great wintertime flow. Nymph fishing is going to be your best bet for numbers of fish, but you might run into a few fish eating midges on the surface as well. Small flies will be the name of the game whether you're fishing dries or nymphs. For nymphs, pretty standard stuff has been working well - Green Weenies, Two Bit Hookers, Flying Zebras, and small Perdigon style flies will work great in sizes 16-20. Use a Hunchback Scud, Boat Anchor Scud, Soft Spot, or worm pattern for your lead fly. Lighter tippet will definitely help you catch more fish - 5x is about the heaviest we would use, and you'll probably pick up more fish on 6x. There's lots of average sized fish in the 8-14" range in the catch and release area, which is a nice change of pace. There's still plenty of nice fish around as well, you just have to pick through some of the average fish in most spots. Fishing has been solid from the dam to Placerville. Rapid Creek in town is fishing great, and is always one of the best winter options in the Black Hills. Nymph fishing is the name of the game for the next few weeks until we start seeing some more midges. That being said, the nymph fishing has been excellent most days. Smaller flies are your best choice most days, but we've been picking up some nice fish on larger weight flies lately as well. For your lead/weight fly, try a Jig Pheasant Tail, Pat's Rubber Legs, Soft Spot, or whatever your favorite jig fly is in a size 10-12. Midges in black, tan, brown, and purple have been good choices in 18-20. If you're not catching fish, try smaller flies before changing much else. A lot of the fish are moved into the slower/deeper water with the colder water temperatures, so spend more time there than in the faster summertime type water. There are a lot of nice fish in town this year! Spearfish Creek is fishing well with nymphs, both in the canyon and in town. If you're in the canyon, look for spots that see more sun and you'll do better than if you're in water that never gets any. The fishing on Spearfish Creek in town has been good to great most days as well. Focus on the slower water, particularly the slower seams next to faster water that's in the knee to thigh deep range. You'll be surprised how many fish you can find in a single spot this time of year - once you find them, there's typically a lot of them. Various jig and euro style patterns have been working really well - Perdigons, Skinny Jigs, Soft Spots, Jig Hare's Ears, and various midge droppers will seal the deal on most Spearfish Creek fish. Crow Creek and Sand Creek are both fishing well. There's not a lot in the way of dry fly fishing yet, but typically around Valentine's Day we start to see good numbers of Blue Winged Olives around, and midges a couple weeks before that. Nymph fishing is the name of the game right now - small midge and blue winged olive patterns trailed behind a jig pattern will work great on most fish. Flashback Pheasant Tails, Two Bit Hookers, and Flying Zebras are good bets for droppers in size 16-20. Stealth is key on both of these creeks! Spring Creek on the Flume Trailhead is fishing well, particularly in the bigger, slower pools. There's lots of fish, but they're biting light and they're in water that's pretty darn slow. Use a small, sensitive indicator and set on everything to maximize your opportunities. There's lots of average rainbows around right now, so it's a great option if you want to catch some easy fish or take someone new out. Midge droppers trailed behind your favorite flavor of jig fly will work great. Brown, Gray, and Tan midges seem to be good bets, but adjust accordingly. Fishing has been solid, and the weather has been cooperating nicely for January. Get out a give it a shot this weekend - swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest updates!
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