Black Hills Fishing Report - 4/12/2016

After a few swings in the weather over the past week, the temperatures have leveled out and the weather is looking great for the next several days! The fishing has been great, the fish are happy, and it's going to be a fantastic week to be out on the water. Rapid Creek has been fishing well, and the flows have been bumped up to around 60 cfs. That's a great flow for this time of year, and the fish have been a bit less selective with the higher water. Nymphing, as always, is your best bet to get into fish. Bigger lead flies trailed by a smaller, more realistic pattern will get the job done. Boat Anchor Scuds, Hunchback Scuds, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, or San Juan Worms in size 12-16 make a good lead fly, trailed by a Tungsten Split Back Baetis, Two Bit Hooker, Green Weenie, Serendipity, or Three Dollar Dip in size 16-22. With the higher flows, the fish will be moved into more places in the creek, so don't only go to the usual winter haunts. There's a lot of shin-deep water that can hold some surprisingly big fish! There are BWO's and midges hatching midday as well, so don't be without a few dries as well. Size 18-22 Students, F-Flies, CDC Thorax Duns, Eric's Midges, Morgan's Midges, and Comparaduns are good bets if you run into some rising fish. Streamer fishing is a great option if you're hunting for a big fish. A few of our favorite patterns are Sex Dungeons, Kreelexes, Lil' Kims, Circus Peanuts, and Home Invaders - fish them on a RIO Versileader or a sink tip line to help get them down. Fishing in town has been great as well, and the fish have been looking up! There are BWO's coming off most of the day, and the fish are definitely keyed up on them. CDC Thorax Duns, F-Flies, Students, Sparkle Duns, and Parachute Blue Winged Olives in sizes 16-22 have been catching fish. If you're more apt to fish nymphs, there's plenty of opportunity for that as well! Root Beer Midges, Jig Assassins, Rainbow Warriors, Tung Teasers, Jig Pheasant Tails, and Tungsten Rainbow Czechs have been working great in sizes 12-18 - trail them with a small midge or BWO pattern if the fish get snooty.
Cleopatra Creek running dirty at the confluence with Spearfish Creek. Cleopatra Creek running dirty at the confluence with Spearfish Creek.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing incredibly well! We were up on Sunday and fished in the catch and release area and caught a lot of fish, and some really nice ones at that! Cleopatra Creek in the picture above was running a little dirty, but the fish didn't seem to mind. All the normal runs had fish in them, as well as just about every pocket and slot on the side of the fast water. Fishing the quicker stuff is a nice change of pace, and I've found the fish to be less selective when you're fishing there. We caught fish both Tenkara fishing and Czech Nymphing, and being close to the bottom was key. Some of the best patterns were Jig Assassins, Jig Soft Spots, and Skinny Jigs in 14-16. The fish didn't get too selective, but if they do, try a Green Weenie or Split Back Baetis as a dropper pattern. We caught some fish on 5x, but 6x definitely gets you a few more fish. Fishing in town has been great as well, with many of the same flies working. Jigs are the way to go in Spearfish most of the time, in sizes 12-16. The fish have definitely moved in to the little faster water, so don't be afraid to fish just about everything! Sand Creek and Crow Creek have both been seeing good hatches of Blue Winged Olives, as well as a smattering of midges and Little Black Stones. The fish on these two creeks generally aren't super selective about the particular pattern, but they are picky about presentation! Be stealthy, wade slow, and be conscious of where your shadow is. Good bets in the fly department are Students, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns, and F- Flies in sizes 16-22 depending on how picky the fish are on any given day. Nymphing with the same patterns as Rapid Creek will get the job done, and don't be afraid to use pretty bright orange and pink nymphs!
Nice Canyon Brown! Nice Canyon Brown!
Castle Creek both below and above Deerfield has been fishing very well. The fish are starting to run out of the lake, and there's no shortage of them at all. Nymphing is your best bet for these fish - Jig Soft Spots, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Tung Teasers, North Fork Specials, and Hot Spot Pheasant Tails are all good flies for Castle both above and below the dam. If you're below the lake, there has been a good Blue Winged Olive hatch as well. There's been some really nice brookies around in Castle below the dam lately, and they're more than willing to come to the surface. Spring Creek has been fishing great also, but the water has come down a bit and the fish are getting a touch pickier. Bring your smaller flies, and be patient with your drifts - there's a lot of fish in the painfully slow water. They have been rising pretty consistently to midges most days, and on the overcast days there are a lot of BWO's around. Good nymphs to have are Tung Teasers, North Fork Specials, Two Bit Hookers, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and Green Weenies. Streamer fishing can bring out some of the bigger browns in the creek, and it's been pretty good - Lil' Kims and Kreelexes have been great bets! Fishing has been great! Stop by the shop and pick up a few flies, get the latest fishing scoop, or book one of our expert Black Hills Fly Fishing guides! Ryan