We've had a cool and snowy few days lately, but the fishing has still been solid. The nights are looking to be pretty cold over the next couple days, but highs will creep into the 40s later this week. The best fishing has been in the lower elevations around the foothills, but there's some opportunities up higher as well. Rapid Creek above Silver City has some opportunities, but it's going to start to be pretty cold and pretty icy. If you're headed up there, find some open water that's fairly slow and deep and put a couple nymphs on. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Jig Soft Spots, Assassins, Pheasant Tails, Brush Hogs, and various Zebra Midge style patterns will work well. Set the hook on any time your indicator even wiggles - the water is cold and the fish won't move far to eat it, which also means your bobber won't move much. Rapid Creek below Pactola is 40 cfs or so, which is a solid flow for this late in the year. We're sort of between fall and spring hatches right now, so most of what you'll be successful with is going to be subsurface. There's a few fish up on small midges some days but unless you see fish on the surface, keep the bobber on. Most of the nymphs you'll do well on are small midges and BWO patterns trailed behind a larger weight fly. Boat Anchor Scuds, Hunchback Scuds, Rainbow Czechs, and annelids are good bets for lead flies. Two Bit Hookers, Zebra Midges, Green Weenies, Shot Glass Baetis, Skinny Nelsons, WD-40s, Rs2s, and Serendipities are all good dropper patterns in size 18-22. Yarn and wool indicators will work better than plastic bobbers, especially in the slower water. The takes are subtle, so don't be afraid to set the hook on everything. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing great, and will continue to be one of the best options throughout the winter. It's mostly nymph fishing now, but as we move through winter there will be more and more midge hatches, eventually progressing into Blue Winged Olives in the spring. You'll do well right now in town fishing a tungsten jig fly trailed by a Zebra Midge, Green Weenie, or CDC Tungsten Midge in size 16-20. Perdigons are good flies to try as droppers as well. You can fish them behind a dry fly in the shallower runs and riffles, and behind an indicator in the deeper runs. As the water temps continue to cool off, you'll start to find more fish in the deeper runs and pools. Fishing in town has been great, and will continue to be throughout the winter. It's one of the best and most convenient bets around! Spearfish Creek is fishing well, both in town and in the canyon. The canyon doesn't get much sun this time of year, so it will get progressively more icy and snowy throughout the winter into spring. That being said, it's more than fishable now. Nymphing is going to be the name of the game both in town and in the canyon, with mostly the same flies as the past few weeks. Use a skinny tungsten jig fly for your lead pattern - Assassins, Peacock Jigs, Sweet Peas, Skinny Jigs, and Pheasant Tails are good lead flies in 12-16. Base the size of your flies on the depth/speed of the water to help get down without using any other weight. For a trailer fly, try a Zebra Midge, WD-40, Root Beer Midge, or Green Weenie in size 16-20. Most of the fish will come on the smaller fly this time of year, so don't be afraid to change your dropper up until you figure out what the fish want. Castle Creek is fishing for the first couple miles below the dam, the rest will be pretty icy. Tungsten Jigs trailed by small midges are going to be the best bet. Find the slower water where you'll see some fish and keep putting it over them until you figure out what they want. Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, and will have the warmest water temperatures throughout the winter. Dry-dropper rigs are good bets on both of these streams, but if you're in the deeper slots and pools an indicator rig will be a good bet. Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and various parachute patterns are good bets for the dry in size 12-16. Various nymphs are good bets in size 14-18 - Tung Teasers, Psychos, Soft Spots, Assassins, Skinny Jigs, Rainbow Czechs, and Jig Hare's Ears are good nymphs. Fish slightly smaller flies on Sand Creek, on Crow you can get away with slightly larger. Fishing has been good throughout the Black Hills, and will continue to be throughout the winter. The lower elevations will fish the most consistently for the next several months, but that's more than enough water to fill up a winter season! Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest flies or where to go.
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