Spearfish Creek is always our favorite place to start in the Black Hills. This magical clear water holds fish through town and the canyon. There are some toads roaming throughout, so if you put in your time, you could come across a 4+ pounder! We recommend hitting those places where people are commonly seen. Near the parks, bike paths, and around bridges. The clear water can make fish a bit spooky, but when they see activity all the time, they are less prone to darting for cover. Don't hesitate to downsize your presentation to catch the picky fish. Size 16-18 nymphs, midge larva (zebra midge), and terrestrial patterns (ants and beetles) will do really well in the canyon and in town. If you see caddis in the morning or evening, throw on a 16-18 caddis and drift it through some seems. Big fish are looking up, even when only a few caddis are present on the water. The x-caddis has been working really well lately.
Crow Creek is still fishing will just outside of Spearfish. This small stream can really get your heart pounding with the big fish and exciting topwater takes. Terrestrial and dry flies are a good bet right now, and they will happily take a nymph or scud. The cabbage might be an issue in spots, but work around it to find your fish. Try fishing Coxes lake while you're out there and bring your hoppers! Fish are looking up.
Whitewood creek is still fishing well. Watch the weather before hitting this watershed. If they receive a big rain (which has been a common occurrence up there) give the creek a day to come back to normal. The fish are stacked up and eating throughout town and in the canyon. Getting the depth figured out is the biggest challenge. Size 18 tungteasers, hot spot hares ears, and PT's have been working the best. Wooly buggers and streamers will also get you eats, often from larger fish in the pool. This creek offers a great chance to get away from the crowds and enjoy some peace and quite of the Black Hills. Fish it later in the evening before heading into Deadwood for some fun.
Rapid Creek is finally back down to manageable fishing levels. At 260 cfs, you still need a bit of weight to get down to the fish, but it will not be chucking and ducking. Above Pactola reservoir is still high, but below and in Rapid City is fishing well. The fish have been eating well all summer long with little pressure, so now is a great time to get into Rapid City for some trout chasing. If you go with streamers, make sure you have a sink tip line on to keep those flies in the strike zone. Otherwise, larger nymphs will work great.
The lakes in the hills are heating up as well. While the trout are a bit harder to chase this time of year, the warmwater species are getting more aggressive. Largemouth bass, bluegill, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and crappie are all catchable in Black Hills lakes right now. Go with topwater to start...because, well, TOPWATER action! If the fish aren't looking up, go with a murdich minnow, clouser, or chenille worm.
We love fishing in the Black Hills, and appreciate you for allowing us to share our experiences. Give us a call at the shop when you are ready for your next adventure. (605-717-2982).
Tight lines and good fishing from all of us at Spearfish Creek Fly Shop!