Fly Fishing the Black Hills
The Black Hills have 14 lakes that hold a mix of rainbows, browns, brookies, cutthroat trout, lake trout and splake. If you want to tackle other species, you can find largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike, walleyes, crappie, bluegills, perch and catfish in other Black Hills lakes.
The largest lakes are Pactola Reservoir, Deerfield Lake and Sheridan Lake. Other productive lakes include Canyon Lake, Horsethief Lake, Legion Lake, Center Lake, Bismarck Lake, Sylvan Lake, Stockade Lake and Deerfield Lake.
Deerfield Lake is a remote year-round lake near Hill City holding rainbows, brookies, and splake, some of which reach six to eight pounds. Most can be floated from a belly boat or other personal watercraft and some allow boats. Fishing from shore works well too on the smaller lakes.
The state record brown (22 lbs., 3 oz.) and lake trout have both been caught in Pactola Reservoir. Other area lakes worth fishing include Sheridan, Iron Creek, Mirror and Angostura Lakes. Custer State Park has four trout lakes: Stockade, Sylvan, Legion and Center Lakes. Canyon Lake is located in a city park in Rapid City.
Look at a map of the Black Hills region and you will see streams crisscrossing it every which way. The largest feeder stream is Castle Creek above Deerfield Lake, a nice little walk-in stream loaded with brown and brook trout.
Slate Creek is a worthwhile and little known tributary of Castle Creek, difficult to access but holding larger fish in its waters than it should. French Creek, in Custer State Park, surprisingly holds lots of trout in its riffles. Spring Creek is shallow and accessible, and in its clear low waters reside amazingly big brown and rainbow trout that rank among the most finicky in the Black Hills.
Grace Coolidge Creek is a small, productive stream flowing out of Center Lake in Custer State Park. The creek holds brook and rainbow trout in its small pools. Many small streams are off the beaten path and require a bit of a hike, but that ensures you'll have them all to yourself.
The Black Hills region has so many lightly fished, unspoiled streams that it would be difficult to fish all of them in a decade of summers. And if you ever fish these waters once, you might be tempted to come back each summer to give it a try.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication