We are getting a much-needed dose of rain. The forecast shows rain through the weekend. This will give all the streams a boost. It's feeling a bit more spring-like, and the trees are leafing out. There is more green on the landscape! With the arrival of spring, we are experiencing warmer temperatures, longer days, and an increase in hatches, making it an exciting time for trout fishing in the area.
The streams in the Black Hills are in great shape, and the water levels are perfect for wading and fishing. Rapid Creek, our flagship stream, is running at about 100 cfs in town. The rain has doubled the flow, and it may come up a bit more. The water was fairly clear but might take on some color in town. There have been consistent hatches of Blue Winged Olives (BWOs) and midges. The change in flow could make dry fly fishing a little more difficult through town. Directly below Pactola reservoir, the water will remain clear and around 40 cfs. We will likely see a bump in flows below the dam when Pactola reaches capacity. With the rain, we expect Pactola to fill by the middle of next week.
Above Pactola Near Silver City expect dirty water from the rain. Streamers will be the most effective flies during the higher water.
Dry fly fishing has been productive during the midday hatch, with a size 18-20 BWO pattern being the most effective. Additionally, nymphing with a size 16-18 Peacock Perdigon dropped with a size 20-22 Zebra Midge has been producing some nice fish in the deeper pools and runs.
Spearfish Creek is also fishing well, with clear water and similar hatches to Rapid Creek. Dry fly fishing during the afternoon BWO hatch has been successful, and nymphing with small midge patterns in the slower water has been productive. The canyon section of Spearfish Creek is fishing great. Keep an eye on flows over the weekend. The rain has brought the flow up from 67 cfs to just over 90cfs. That should keep climbing over the next few days. Fishing will remain good through flows around 150cfs. As flows pick up fish heavier nymph rigs with san juan worms and larger jig nymphs.
Castle Creek has been fishing well below and above the dam with the midday hatch as well as with nymphing with smaller midge patterns. The rainbows are starting to head up Castle Creek as well, with the suckers spawning.
Spring Creek has fishing opportunities in the deeper pockets and pools. Nymphing will be productive with Prince Nymphs, Pheasant tails, and size 18-20 zebra midges. Spring Creek needed this rain and the fishing will improve as the flows pick up.
For anglers looking for a good stillwater option, Pactola Reservoir has fished very well over the past week. The rainbows are big and fairly easy to catch, even from shore. Try leech patterns and chironomids. Sheridan Lake is another good option for trout - fish towards the inlet. Deerfield lake is another great option, however, it may be a little slower to pick up since the water temps are a little cooler there.
Overall, the fishing in the Black Hills trout streams is excellent, with various techniques producing fish. As we move further into May, we should start to see an increase in hatches, including caddisflies, providing even more opportunities for dry fly fishing.
As always, please practice catch and release, and respect the fish and the resource. If you are in need of any gear or advice, stop by our shop in Rapid City, where our experienced staff can provide you with everything you need for a successful day on the water.
We did get a chance to do some pike fishing this week on Sheridan Lake. The water temps were 55-59 degrees. We didn't catch any big fish, but had good action in 6-10 feet of water. Our best luck was with intermediate sinking lines to type 3/4 sink lines and murdich minnows.
Tight lines and happy fishing!