Fly Fishing the Black Hills
Two streams stand out in the Black Hills National Forest: Spearfish and Rapid Creeks. These two gems are two of the larger streams in the region, and although these streams typically run from 8 to 15 feet wide, they occasionally widen out to 20 to 30 feet in places.
Spearfish Creek has the potential to be a first-class fishery, with good public access except for the lower section, which is largely private. The windy little road through the steep limestone walls of Spearfish Canyon is a beautiful drive.
The canyon is chock-full of hundreds of species of birds; trails winding along several side canyons; and great photo-opportunities of cliffs, birds, animals, wildflowers, and old mining and railroad town sites.
The Black Hills National Forest surrounds the area, the forest populated with ponderosa pine, birch, and aspen; rushing streams, alpine lakes, and cascading waterfalls. Spearfish Creek is gin-clear and loaded with brown, rainbow, and brook trout.
Chasing Wild Rainbows
The stream holds one of the finest populations of wild rainbow trout in the Black Hills. The canyon stream has easy road access but despite the fact the road sees its share of traffic, it's not too difficult to find a stretch all to yourself. The river has nice hatches of baetis, midges and little black stoneflies.
The water varies from wide, long, flat glides to churning, narrow, deep runs, so anglers have to constantly change from dry flies to nymphs to achieve success. Fishing a dropper rig is an efficient method to cover the changing characteristics. On the long flats, you'll need to keep a low profile and be stealthy since these stretches are slow and extremely clear.
On the meadow stretches, keep tight to the bank. Spearfish Creek rainbows love the fastwater and riffles, but don't get so carried away fishing the fast stuff that you forget to test the thick streamside banks.
Spearfish Creek is located in the northern reaches of the Black Hills, south of the charming town of Spearfish. Take Route 14A south out of town and you will be able to drive along the river for almost its entire course. Little Spearfish is a nice adjunct hike in similar but smaller water in a side canyon off the main river.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication