Fishing has been good, with lots of creeks coming back down from runoff conditions. We still have places that are off colored and high, but most of them are fishing well with the exception of a few. Bigger, heavier flies seem to have been the ticket for me, and we've been seeing some nicer fish. All the fish are fat and happy with all of the food that the high water has brought with it - we're going to be in good shape water-wise for the rest of the summer it looks like.
Rapid Creek has been fishing well, with the exception of Silver City, which is still high and muddy. It should come down within the next week or two, we'll keep you posted. Below Pactola has had some really good BWO and Little Black Stonefly hatches, and it's got the fish looking up. Small dries like F-Flies, Students, Hackle Stackers, Brooks Sprout Emergers, RS2s, and Morgan's Midges have been getting some attention. The catch and release area definitely isn't a numbers game, but you have a really good chance of catching some larger fish than average. Streamers have also been working pretty darn well on a pretty heavy sink tip, with something like a Home Invader or Dali Lama. Big streamers catch big fish. In town has been nymphing well, even with the high flows. Don't overlook the in between water - the two foot deep stuff in between the pools has the majority of the fish, and it's easier water to fish than trying to get to the bottom of a six foot deep pool with the higher flows. Some of the new jig patterns we have in the bins at the shop are working exceptionally well, and they rarely ever get hung up. Pretty cool if you ask me. Come by and check them out!
Spring Creek has been stocked, and is fishing pretty good by the bridges and up on the trailhead. Good numbers of fish, and they're pretty darn willing to eat. This is a great place to go if you're new to fly fishing, or taking someone that's new to the fly rod. Buggy stuff like Amexes, UV Czechs, Tung Teasers, and G-String Worms have been getting the most attention from the fish. Stick to the pools, and make sure you're getting down to the fish with tungsten, split shot, or some other variety of weight, and you'll have no problem catching a few fish there.
Spearfish Creek is still fairly high compared to normal - 217 cfs as of this morning. However, it's still fishing pretty good. In the lower part of the canyon, you're going to have to stick to mostly big stuff - G-Strings, Czechs, Amexes, etc. The upper part of the canyon is fishing well with more normal patterns and tactics - UV Czechs, Bubble Backs, Tung Teasers, Black Beauties, Poison Tungs, and North Forks in black. Side note - we now have tungsten North Fork Specials in the shop, which rocks. Little Spearfish Creek behind the lodge has been good as well, with pretty standard flies working there, same stuff as the upper canyon. Tenkara has been my preferred method in the canyon, and it enables you to reach across and fish all the pocket water that the canyon has to offer.
Sand Creek is probably your best bet for dry fly fishing right now, with a number of different bugs coming off. Yellow Sallies, Little Black Stones, Caddis, and a few Blue Winged Olives are still coming off, and it's got the fish looking up. A dry-dropper setup will cover about everything you need to do on Sand Creek right now. Klinkhamers, Stimulators, Snowshoe Sallies, and Elk Hair Caddis have been good lead flies. For droppers, Tung Teasers, Psychos, small UV Czechs, Tungsten Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, and Red Fox Squirrel nymphs have all been puttin' the hurt on 'em. Make sure you pay attention to the property boundaries here - Wyoming doesn't have the same water access laws as South Dakota does.
Castle Creek has been fishing exceptionally well. If you're above the lake, you're going to have to weed through the suckers to get to the trout. Usually if you shallow up a foot or so you'll catch considerably less suckers. The trout are up there eating the eggs, so medium sized bright flies are going to be your best bet. Czechs, North Forks, Amexes, any of the new jig flies, and G-Strings have been getting some looks. Below the dam has been fishing good as well, and gives you a little more room to spread out than above the lake offers. Fishing up or downstream from the Kinney Canyon access have both been good. Smaller stuff down here - Psychos, Kern River Emergers, WD-40s, any midge larvae, and a few Caddis dries should have you pretty well set.
Custer State Park - all the lakes have been stocked and are fishing pretty well, and the grapevine has had some good things to say about French Creek and Grace Coolidge as well. Pretty willing fish. If you had some Sculpzillas and Buggers in different colors you could have a great day of streamer fishing. Same nymphs as everywhere else.
Now for something different - Pike. The Northern fishing around the area has been pretty darn good, with water temperatures climbing into the fishes preferred temperature range. Big flies seem to have been the ticket lately. The pike need a little inspiration to move, and a bigger fly has more moving power. Umpqua Swimming Baitfish in red, orange, and white have been getting some looks, as well as Dahlberg Diver style flies. Fishing at Pierre is just getting fired up also - this is some of our favorite fishing of the year! The White Bass are starting to spawn, and Farm Island has been good, and they should keep moving upstream towards Pierre. The Smallies should start any day now as well.
That's a wrap! If you have any questions about certain areas, patterns, or fish, feel free to swing by the shop or give us a call. Thanks!