Spring fishing has been excellent throughout the Black Hills, and with the weather forecast calling for some precipitation most days we should continue to have excellent fishing! Pretty much all of the streams and lakes in the hills are fishing great right now.
Rapid Creek above Pactola has come down to 85 cfs, and is a little off color. Fishing with larger nymph patterns will be your best bet. Mop flies, Pat's Rubber Legs, worms, and various jig flies in size 12-14 will work well. The fish aren't super selective, so if you find water that's medium depth and speed you should have pretty good luck. As the water clears up the fish will get a bit more selective, so don't hesitate to try a few smaller flies if the water comes down a bit.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is around 80 cfs, which is pretty ideal. Most of your fish are going to take smaller nymphs, but there are a few fish rising to BWOs here and there. Pretty much the same story as always as far as nymphs go - Scuds, Worms, and larger jig Baetis patterns are good bets for your lead fly in size 12-16. For droppers, small Blue Winged Olive nymphs will be your best bet. Two Bit Hookers, Split Back BWOs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, and Wondernymphs in size 16-20 will work well. There are a few rising fish in the afternoons as well - Students, CDC Thorax Duns, and F Flies in size 18-20 will work well. The fishing downstream from the catch and release area to town has been fishing well also, and the fish have been considerably less selective than the upper section. Perdigons, Jig TNTs, Assassins, Jig Czech Princesses, and Quill Body Baetis are good bets in size 14-16.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing really well most days. Nymphs are going to be your best bet, and the fish have been pretty spread out. We're in a bit of a transition as far as water temp and flows go, so you can find fish in deeper holes as well as shallower runs. Similar flies to further upstream will work well - smaller worm patterns and perdigons in olive, purple, and blue will be your best bet. There are some really nice fish around in town right now! Evening caddis hatches should be just around the corner.
Spring Creek has been fishing well below Sheridan Lake, but Sheridan Lake Road is pretty torn up with the road construction on the way there. Nymph fishing with a wide variety of nymph patterns has been productive. The water is a bit low, so the fish are going to be concentrated in the deeper slots and pools.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing excellent, particularly if the flows come up a bit and the water gets slightly off-color. Nymphing will be the most effective method, but there are also BWOs, Little Black Stones, and Midges hatching on the cooler, overcast days. Jig TNT, Nightmares, Fire Perdigons, Blue Diamond Perdigons, Skinny Jigs, Quilly Body Baetis, and Assassins are good bets in size 12-16 depending on how deep/fast the water is. The fish aren't super picky, but if the water keeps dropping you will have to start fishing smaller midge and BWO droppers. Terrestrial season is just around the corner as well, so over the next few weeks I would have a few Hippie Stompers and Micro Chubbies for a dry/dropper rig.
Castle Creek has been good, and there are a few fish starting to run above the lake. The fish above the lake aren’t picky – any medium sized jig fly that they can see will work well. The fish below the dam are considerably pickier, but are still reasonably easy to catch as long as you don’t spook them. The BWO hatch has been solid, particularly in the upper stretch of the Kinney Canyon Walk In area, and the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish Creek will work well. For nymphs, you’ll need something in the 14-16 range to get down with the slightly higher flows. A midge dropper in whatever your favorite color is will work great.
Lots of the local hills lakes have been fishing well for big rainbows. Pactola, Ruesaw, Roubaix, and many of the lakes in Custer state park are fishing great. Try a Thin Mint or Balanced Leech under a bobber about 4'. You can do well fishing various jig flies and big midges under the bigger fly as well. Do'n' worry about having light tippet - 3x is more than ample and lets you land more of the larger fish.
Fishing has been solid - swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest conditions, to book a guided trip, or for a few of the best flies!