Sunday, December 20, 2009

Warm winter day brings the fisherman out

It hit 40 today and the fly fishermen knew, or at least four of them did.

Ryan Gabert (pictured above) was perfecting his czech nymphing skills and testing out new fly patterns. Shaun Lazotte was nymphing up a storm. Kevin Woster got in a few casts and managed to tackle an M-Hill hike. Me? I made my share of casts on Rapid Creek.

The sun was out and the midges were hatching. I managed to bring one fish to hand with a nymph and 5 with midge patterns on top. The best fly was an olive F-fly. (This pattern is so easy to tie and it always fools fish. It is an Ev Hoyt pattern if I have ever seen one. More on this fly another time.)

We are so lucky to have Rapid Creek fishing the way it is. Where else can you enjoy an afternoon of fishing on a beautiful stream less than 5 minutes from your front door? Dry flies in December is a blessing.

Get out and bring the holiday season in fly-rod fashion.

Monday, November 30, 2009

European Nymphing- Part Duex

My last several outings on Rapid Creek have been experimental in nature (maybe all of my trips are that way, but these seemed especially so.) I have been working on strike indicator free European style nymphing. It has been successful. At home I have been experimenting with tying the nymphs needed for such fishing. The fly pictured above uses a tungsten teardrop to achieve the weight needed for Czech style nymphing (I demonstrated using these at Saturday's tying demo). The fish pictured at the bottom was caught using a polish style woven grub (I demonstrated those a couple Saturday's back). This coming Saturday I plan to give a brief seminar on how to rig and fish these style nymphs. This is a style of fishing worth trying if you tire of fishing with cumbersome indicator and split shot rigs. See you this coming Saturday!

New Hopper Hatch

They are still hatching, but this time they are hatching indoors. I was tying flies the other day. (My current fly tying desk, much to the wife's dismay, is on the kitchen table.) As it happens, I am setup next to the thyme, oregano, and rosemary plants we overwinter in the house. In the hunt for some material buried under the piles of dubbing, hackles, and miscellaneous ziploc bags I saw something jump. Not just any jump, but a grasshopper-esque jump. Sure enough, there on the table was a freshly hatched hopper. I must have brought the egg in with one of the plants. I chased the little devil around with the camera and finally snapped this photo. I should have put a penny or something next to him for scale, but if you were to tie an imitation of him you would have needed a size 20 hook.

Tying Class Tomorrow- Smallmouth and Carp

As you have read, some of our favorite fly rod quarry are smallies and carp. Tomorrow night in fly tying class we will tie some of our current fly favorites. These are fun flies to tie. No size 22's here. Big hooks, tons of rubber legs, rabbit strips, and plenty o' flashy stuff. Come down to the shop tomorrow at 7:00pm.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

European Nymphing

Czech Nymphing and other Eastern European Nymphing techniques are gaining in popularity in the United States. I have been fishing and tying polish woven nymphs lately with great success. Join me this Saturday morning at the fly shop to learn to tie Czech Nymphs and Woven Nymphs. I will demonstrate both styles of tying. See you this Saturday at 10:00 am at Dakota Angler. I will also give an introduction to Czech and Polish nymph fishing techniques.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A great fall day...

After milling around for hours while the baby slept, Christine looked at me and said, " You can go fishing." "Really?" I replied. It didn't take too long for me to get to my car and head for the stream. I knew from our first family walk and hour or two earlier that is was nice and warm and that the hoppers were back out again. Some family time and the potential for some hopper time makes for a happy dad.

Sure enough, the creek-side grass flitted with hoppers and dimples showed on the surface of run downstream of where I had parked. I ended up with a several fish, all on hoppers.

After an hour or so of fishing I was starting to feel guilty for not being at home. Having caught a few fish and happy at the chance to enjoy the 75 degree air I headed home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Addition to the Dakota Angler Family

We have a new guide this week. She won't be working for awhile. She is just starting training. Rest assured, she will be the best guide we have in a few short years. Lookout trout- here Elsa comes!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hard to believe, but it is still hopper time

The weather has been warm, the hoppers are everywhere, and judging from the reaction to hopper flies- hopper time continues. I fished last night here on Rapid Creek (tried out the Echo kid's rod the Gecko- that thing rules for fishing in town, never-mind its bright yellow color and foam urban camo handle). The fish were readily taking hoppers.

The fish seemed to like Charlie Boy Hoppers the best last night. I wish I had had some Dave's Hoppers with me. They have been working well. Right before dark I switched to my new favorite fly- the Big Secret Cricket. It took several fish.

I hadn't fished for several days and last night's hopper fishing gave me a much needed fix.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fly Fishing Film Tour

It is coming back. Thanks to the Black Hills Fly Fishers. The film tour is going to be at the Journey Museum on Sept. 10th at 7:00pm. Come early for good conversation and snacks and drinks. The films this year are going to be great. Let's pack the house. Tickets are $5 at the door.

More details on the films etc at:

Spearfish Creek Trout

There are a bunch of them in Maurice Intake. It isn't out of the ordinary to catch several fish, but most of the little stinkers continue to feed right at your feet. They ignore countless imitations of midge larvae and baetis nymphs- even though you can pick up a rock just upstream and see nothing but small black midge larvae and baetis nymphs. They have to be eating something awfully close to our imitations. Nevertheless, it's cast and switch flies, cast and switch flies...

And I'm not complaining. A small strange part of me actually enjoys getting snubbed by the majority of the fish. It is what fuels all night tying binges. Several good patterns have resulted from those bleary eyed tie fests. There have also been far too many disasters- of the variety that you hope are never seen by your angling pals. These are promptly razor bladed and the hook recycled.

The fish in the picture above were about four feet away and ignored most of our offerings. We had a good time anyway. It was fun to watch all the fish feeding. We did manage to catch a few on bubble backs, WD-40's, and Scuds. One of the fish was a beauty- 16" and fat. A great Spearfish Creek Rainbow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yellow Maylies

It is yellow mayfly time. The PMDs, PEDs, and sulfurs are hatching. Fish are happy. We have been seeing more heads up below Pactola than any time this summer. These same bugs are hatching in Spearfish. They are some of my favorite bugs of the year. We will have these bugs around for awhile go give them a shot.

Top Flies:

*No Hackle Dun- Size 16-18
*CDC Thorax Dun Size 16-18
*Brook's Sprout PMD Emerger Size 16-18
* Smiths CDC PMD Emerger size 18

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hopper Time

It be hopper time y'all. Wow, that sounds dorky, but it is true. The weather is warming up and all manners of terrestrial insects are finding there way into the bellies of hungry trout. So far most of the action has been on ants and beetles, but this week fish have started to take hoppers.

Terrestrials provide some of the best action of the year. Fish ant, beetle, and hopper patterns near the banks and get ready to see some impressive takes.

My top five patterns for summer terrestrial fishing are:

1) Logan's Hopper (pictured above)- these take awhile but the float like crazy. Let me know and I can tie some up for you.

2) CDC Beetle- not pictured but we have them in stock at the shop.

3) Dave's Hopper- A classic pattern. It has always been a top producer

4) Chernobyl Ant - I was doubtful the first time I saw these, but they are killers.

5) Brown Fur Ant- Not a fancy pattern, but it always works.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bighorn Fly Fishing

The Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming offer a great summer get away for Black Hills residents. An easy 3 hour drive from Rapid City, Buffalo, Wyoming, makes a perfect jumping off point. From Buffalo it is roughly an hour and a half to the northern Bighorns or the southern Bighorns.

My wife Christine and I have made it a point for the last 3 summers to spend a weekend or two in the Bighorns. This past weekend we traveled to the West Tensleep trail head for some camping and fishing. We usually pack in and spend a couple days at a mountain lake. However, on this trip we opted to stay near the trail head and make day hikes into mountains.

The bugs were terrible again this year, but we had a great time hiking into Lost Twin Lakes. The wildflowers were in bloom and views were spectacular. Here are a couple photos from the trip.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hatch Time

It is hatch time- or one of them anyway. It may be hot or warm, definitely not as hot summers past, but the caddis, myriad yellow mayflies, and little yellow stones are hatching. Fish feeding on top is what keeps us throwing sloppy nymph rigs the rest of the year.

I like fishing the Sulphurs, PMDs, and PEDs that we get this time of year. The fish below Pactola are picky, but fooling one of them on a size 16 dun or spinner pattern is an annual highlight. I need to dig into my entomology books and find out what genus these bugs are below Pactola. I keep calling them PMDs or whatever. I know it doesn't matter, but I am the guy who is supposed to know. There are several species hatching daily and they last for several weeks. I usually opt for a CDC dun with a pale yellow or tannish yellow body in sizes 16-20. The fish generally take this pattern, or at least they did last year.

Well, I will quit rambling about yellow mayflies. Get out there and enjoy these hatches. The yellow stones have been fun, tricos have started in town and on Spring creek, and the fish are starting to eat terrestrials. Don't miss out on some of the best opportunities of the season

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The same fish?

Tony Rhodes, a guide for the shop, shot this photo one snowy day. He sent me an email after seeing the rapid creek rainbow post (see a couple posts back). This might be the same fish. It is much brighter colored here, and a bit more orange. Take a look at the photo from the previous post and take a close look at the dorsal fin. They have the same irregularity. Nice eye Tony.

Shop Tying Part 1

Not the best photo, but I thought I would put up a photo of one of my latest shop down time killers. This is a PMD emerger with a CDC parachute hackle. Better photos coming soon. PMD's hatches aren't too far away. I know I need to fill up my boxes with emergers and duns.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rapid Creek Brown

Rapid Creek can make a pretty mean looking brown trout if it wants to. This photo hopefully illustrates that point. I found this on the camera tonight (these 2gb cards can hold a bunch of photos) and I don't know when it was caught or who caught it. It doesn't matter. This is a fine fish.

I couldn't post a rapid creek rainbow photo and not through in a brownie too.

Beautiful Basin Rainbow

This is a picture I had to post. It was taken earlier this spring down below Pactola. This fish was gorgeous. Not the biggest of the day, but it won out in terms of looks. I love the leopard spots offset by the golden olive of the body and the rose red stripe. I look forward to finding this fish again. Hopefully it will be in the same spot lazily sipping in baetis emergers. We shall see...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Return of Spring Creek

Just returned from a wet day of guiding on Spring Creek below Sheridan Lake. We had a great morning despite the downpour. A family of four from Chicago had their first ever fly fishing outing, and the trout were readily taking their (well guided) offerings.

Our clients used Red Fox Squirrel Nymphs, Barr's Tungteasers, and Bead Head Mini Leeches. These patterns worked quite well. Browns and rainbows were easily found in the pools and runs along the bridges on Sheridan Lake Road.

A few Blue Winged Olives were hatching but the fish didn't take to the top.

At any rate, it was great to see Spring Creek fishing so well. The recent drought impacted the stretch below Sheridan Lake severely. For now things are on the up and up. The fish are healthy and make a good pull on the end of the line.

I look forward to the trico hatches in a month or so, or the little yellow stoneflies in a week or two. It is awesome to have this stretch of stream back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back to the Mighty Mo'

We made it over to Pierre again on Sunday. Some of the boys floated from the afterbay of Oahe downstream for a few miles. Ryan and I shuttled them and fished from shore.

The smallmouth were on their spawning beds, the carp would eat but were fussy, and thankfully the white bass were hungry little devils. We caught tons of white bass. Eight or ten fish at a time would rush your streamer.What flies did we use for the mighty whities? It didn't seem to matter that much; clousers, brown wooly buggers, and crayfish all did the trick.

The carp would eat a rusty brown wooly bugger and the majority of the smallmouth hit large baitfish imitations like a Murdich's Minnow.
All in all it was a fantastic day on the water. I wish more fly rodders would take a break from trout and try some of the fantastic warmwater options our state has to offer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Missouri River Trip May 2009

Ryan Gabert and I just made another pilgrimage to the Missouri. Not the Missouri of trout fishing fame found in Montana, but a stretch much further downstream. We fish the Missouri in Central South Dakota. The Mighty 'Mo is dammed 4 times within South Dakota. Lake Sharpe near Pierre is our favorite for Smallmouth Bass.

We fished Lake Sharpe this past Sunday and Monday. Directly below the dam at Pierre was slow. After flogging the water for most of Sunday near Pierre, we headed downstream to West Bend Recreation Area.

Monday was a different day. Carp were rising everywhere and they were eager to take a dry fly. We found a few nice smallmouth to boot. Here are a few photos:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't Forget the May 16th Open House Event

Be sure to stop by this Saturday for our big Simms Dakota Angler Tom Andersen Presents Open House Extravaganza. There will be some promotions, prizes, food, stories, and fun. Starts at 10:00 am.


Thursday, May 7, 2009


I finally got out and fished a bit last Sunday. This is Rapid Creek by Placerville Church Camp, and boy was it flying down the canyon. I hooked on fish. A good one that stole my Red Fox Squirrel nymph. Other than that, I found the water to be to quick to fish. That being said, I love to see the water. After so many years of low flows, I get giddy when I see the stream up like this.

Over the course of this week the Bureau of Reclamation has been dropping the flows a bit every day this week. We should see the stretch by Placerville in great fishing shape in a week or so. The best fishing on Rapid Creek is within a mile of the dam.

I haven't hit up any other streams lately, but I hear that parts of Spearfish Creek are starting to fish well. Castle Creek has also been productive for some.

Without a doubt this will be a great year for fishing. The middle of May and early June should really be the kickoff for stream fishing. Get ready for the caddis hatches, they should be great.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Czech Nymphing- dan dan daaah!

How many times have you heard this-"What in the heck is this foreign nymphing technique I keep hearing about? Why is these european fly flickers trying to ruin our nymph fishing fun."

I know I have heard it plenty, but don't be scared of this nymph fishing technique. It is definitely from a place far far away, but its spread can't be stopped. Embrace this technique and you will find nymph fishing fast water easy, successful, and enjoyable.

What is it? Czech Nymphing is a technique born out of competition fishing. Its ability to deliver nymphs to the bottom rapidly is key to its success. Since mulitple flies are used the fish are quickly given 3 flies to choose from. The combination of rapid sink rates and multiple weighted nymphs is terribly effective.

How do you set it up? A czech nymph rig is made up of 6-7' of tippet material (4x-5x) followed by two 24" sections of the same tippet material. The two shorter sections are attached with double surgeons knots. On each knot leave a 4-5" tag on the down streamside of the knot. You will end up with a leader that is roughy 9' long and that has two dropper tags. Attach a fly to each tag and one fly at the end of the leader. Please refer to the diagram in the last post- it will make this leader set up make much more sense than the text above.

Flies used in czech nymphing should be slender but well weighted. The core idea of Czech nymphing is to cut through the water column quickly without resistance from thick leader material and bulky fly patterns. The thin 4-5x tippet material and the slender flies fit this bill.

Traditional Czech style nymphs are tied on curved grub or scud hooks. They are normally tied in sizes 8-16. European patterns tend to be larger than those that I find effective on my home water, so I tend to fish patterns tied on size 12-14 hooks. I will use the occaisional #6-10 fly when imitiating cranefly larvae, large cased caddis larvae, or large stonefly nymphs. Most of the patterns I use imitate free swimming caddis larvae (hydropsyche and rhycophila) and scuds.

Other options for czech nymph patterns are heavy nymphs such as Copper Johns. Use any nymph you like, as long as it is slender and has significant sinking potential.

Of the three patterns I tend to put the heaviest fly in the middle, a traditional czech nymph on the top dropper tag, and I alternate smaller patterns on the end of the leader. A typical setup would include the following flies starting with the top most dropper tag and working down to the end of the leader- hydropsche larvae, cased caddis larvae, and a weighted mayfly nymph pattern.

I will try and post some of these patterns in picture form soon.

Now, how do you fish it. This method works best in faster flowing water that is 1-4' deep. Fish a short line just upstream from where you are standing. You shouldn't have much more than 6-10' of line out. Keep the rod tip high and follow the rig as it moves downstream. Keep the rod tip moving slightly ahead of the current. Don't pull your flies downstream, but keep slack out of the drift. When the tip of the fly line is 1-2' downstream of your position lift the rig up and transition into a roll cast to your targeted lie. Due to the short amount of line, and the tension in the set up, strikes are telegraphed instantly by the tightening of the line or by the tug of the fish.

It is a very clean way to nymph- no split shot or indicators required!

This is just a short primer. There are several resources on this important technique. Here are two I recommend.

-Oliver Edward's remarkable DVD- "Essential Skills- Czech Nymphing"

-Czech Nymph and Other Related Methods by Karel Krivanec et al.

Please contact me if you wish to order these two resources. I am also available to do private lessons on Czech Nymphing. My first lesson was with Oliver Edwards on Spearfish Creek. It was an amazing couple of days. I will never forget how it changed the way I look at fishing fast water.

And now....your comments please.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nymph Fishing the Fast Water

It isn't nearly as fun as fishing a dry fly to a sighted fish, but nymph fishing can be a necessity. In periods of high water flow we need to get down deep and get down quickly if we want fish to see our offerings. Let's take a look at two nymph fishing strategies. One of them is the common strike indicator method and the other is a European import called "Czech Nymphing".

The first setup is one that most fly fishers have encountered before. For this rig I suggest attaching a 7.5' to 9' leader tapered to 4x. (In times of slower clearer stream conditions I would use a 5x leader.) Tie on 20" of 4x tippet at the end of the leader. Attach your first fly to the end of the tippet. Attach a second piece of tippet (4 or 5x) to the bend of the first fly using an improved clinch knot. About 15" is perfect. Attach your second fly.

Once your flies are tied on it is time to add some weight and your indicator. Place your weight about 12-15" above your first fly. Do not put your weight more than 15" above your first nymph. The closer your weight is to your fly the deeper it will get.

There are several options for weights. The most common weight used is split shot. For faster water conditions a size BB shot or two should do the job. An alternative is lead or tungsten putty. I have used tungsten putty reliably for years. I find it easier to adjust the amount of weight needed. One problem is that putty tends to shift during fishing. To counter this, tie in 2-10" pieces of tippet instead of the first 20" piece. Place your putty on the knot 10" above your first fly. Having the putty on the knot reduces its tendency to shift during fishing.

To finish up, place your strike indicator 8-15" down from the end of your flyline. Indicator placement can be adjusted for fishing varying depths of water. The standard formula is to put your indicator 2 times the depth of the water above your first fly. If the water is 3' deep place your indicator 6'above your first nymph. In faster moving water I leave the indicator high on my setup to allow the flies to sink more readily.

There are countless types of indicators. For fast water nymphing a large extremely buoyant indicator is a necessity. For the Black Hills a 3/4" thingamabobber is a good bet. If a thingamabobber isn't for you, choose an indicator you like and stick with it. In fast water conditions avoid stick-on foam indicators.

Take a look at this crude diagram to clear up any failings of my text.

I have run out of time for now, but check back and I will tackle the Czech Nymph rig. Following that will be a post on fast water nymph fishing strategies.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Snow

Walking home from the Elks Theater last night wasn't fun. Well, it was fun but man was it wet. Christine and I went to the Banff Film Festival (it was great). When we left for home the air was filled with huge snowflakes. When we woke up this morning a solid 4-6 inches covered the yard. And the snow continued throughout the day.

Well, I guess this means more high water. The next few days are predicted to be cooler and wet. That will mean continued high water levels in the creeks for a few more weeks.

Castle, Spring, and portions of French Creek will be the best bets for this weeks stream fishing. If you own a float tube, kayak, canoe, or pontoon boat head out to the lakes. Great fishing is to be had on these seldom fished waters. Center lake fished well this past week. I have been meaning to get out to Sheridan to find some of its large rainbows.

Coming this week:
I will add to the fishing report as I get fresh information. I will also try to post some fresh photos here on the blog. My next blog post will be a primer on leader setups for nymph fishing in fast water. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

May 16th Open House Event

We are going to have a big day on the 16th of May. It will be an open house and a season kick-off event. Tom Andersen, our Simms/Sage/ Rep., will be in house to answer questions about simms, sage, rio, and his other product lines. We will be having a few specials and a few prizes. Please stay tuned for more announcements. Please join us starting at 10:00 am at the shop. See you then.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Great Deal- Order an Orvis Rod and the reel is FREE!

Another quick note: From now until May 15th order any Orvis Rod in the TLS, Superfine, or Helios rod series and get a free Battenkill Bar Stock, Mid-arbor, or Large Arbor reel. Orvis' current line of rods are great and their reels are durable and very popular at the shop. Please contact me if you're interested.


High Water

Just a quick note here- Black Hills streams are running high. Most of them will not be fishable for a week or two. The discharges below Pactola Reservoir into Rapid Creek are at 203 cfs this morning. The water will be clear but tough to fish. The northern Black Hills streams are at a similar flow rate and they won't be running clear.

For anglers looking for a spot to go try the lakes here in the Hills. Float tubes, pontoon boats, canoes, and kayaks provide ready access to some of the most under utilized trout water in the hills. Sylvan, Sheridan, Pactola, Deerfield, Center, Legion, Bismark, Stockade, Reusaw, Dalton, Roubaix, and Iron Creek lakes are all ripe with opportunity.

Also, take a day and drive over to Pierre. The white bass, smallmouth bass, and carp fishing are just about to hit their spring/early summer peak. This is the fishing I daydream about.

That guy at the Fly Shop told me...

I know that the "fly shop guy" should always have his finger on the pulse. He or she should have a rapid reply for "Where should I go?" and "What should I use?". I most always do, but lately the information I have given has been derived from the fishing exploits of others. Yes, believe it or not the fly shop guy doesn't get to fish as much as people think. I am not complaining (well I am a little bit).

On my last outing I took the Black Hills Fly Fishers Youth Progam troop above Canyon lake. We (read the kids) caught a few rainbows. It was great watching their eyes grow big when the line went tight and the fish made its first run. Even more satisfying was watching them smile as they released the fish for someone else to catch.

Hopefully I will get out soon. Yesterday was a great day to be out chasing something, but instead I helped put in a new window at the house. So if anybody reading this has been out please leave a comment about where you went and how it was. I will pass the information on to another angler looking for a place to catch the big one. Feel free to disguise your secret spot- the general specifics are fine.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Product Review: Sage BASS Series "Bluegill" Rod

I don't know what kind of bluegill these guys had in mind, but to me this is a perfect South Dakota smallmouth, largemouth, and northern rod. It is incredibly light in the hand and will cast very large air resistant flies with ease. Granted, my casting experiences with it have been out on 7th st. I have scared a few women coming out of the salon next door and have hooked the sale board out in front of the women's clothing store two doors down, but I have yet to catch a bluegill (read bass) on this rod. I can't wait to take this thing to the Missouri river or down to Angostura for South Dakota redfish (read carp).

The rod is the newest in Sage's Bass line up. At 7'11" it feels very light in the hand, making it one of the lightest eight weights I have ever held. However, you won't find 8 weight stamped above the cork on this rod. Instead you will read "230 grains". This is to indicate the grain weight of the specialty line Sage includes with the purchase of the rod. The shooting head nature of this flyline makes for easy distance without umpteen false casts.

One of the goals Sage had in mind for the BASS series was to keep the rods under 8' in length, allowing fly anglers to enter BASS tournaments. I don't think I will show up at any of the local tournaments wearing a jacket festooned with patches any time soon, but my next warmwater trip will be with this rod in tow.

Don Polovich has already had a few outings with this rod and has found it to be quite right for white bass. Don caught his first "bluegill" with this rod this past Monday over in Pierre.
Anybody interested in this rod can check it out and try scaring pedestrians on 7th street any time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The "Other" Fly Fishing

For most folks, trout are what fly fishing is all about. They operate under the assumption that fly fishing's sole goal is to catch trout. This is unfortunate because thinking this way closes the door on numerous other angling opportunities.

Trout are great and I love to catch them. However, I often find myself looking for something different than two-fly nymph rigs or midge patterns fished on ultralight tippets. In other cases the trout stream isn't in the best of shape due to runoff etc. So...I chase after my two current fly fishing obsessions- carp and smallmouth bass.

Carp and Smallies are well distributed in our state. My favorite waters include the Cheyenne River, Angostura Reservoir, and Lake Sharpe on the Missouri River. Other options include the Belle Fourche River, Orman Reservoir, Shadehill Reservoir, and countless bodies of water east of the Missouri River. Take a look and you will find carp or bass water nearby.

Carp have all of the cunning of any other sporting fish, so don't let their "trash fish" reputation keep you from giving them a try. The fight that begins after the hook set is enough to make any fly angler smile.

Smallmouth are the best fight I have ever found on a fly rod. They are my current fly rod quarry of choice. Think of them as a cross between a brown trout and a largemouth bass. One day you will find them gently sucking mayflies off the surface like a trout. The next day they are slashing through herded schools of baitfish or hunting crayfish.

Next time you find trout fishing routine or find your local stream too high to fish, try expanding your horizons. For me those horizons have led primarily to smallmouth bass and carp, however the horizon doesn't end there. In our corner of South Dakota I have caught largemouth, smallmouth, crappies, walleyes, bluegills, catfish, goldeneyes, northern pike, sauger, and white bass all on the fly. Do yourself a favor and get out and give it a try.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Zealand Video

Here is a link to a video from last year's trip to New Zealand:

It was uploaded to youtube a few days ago.

This is the biggest trout I have ever caught. It couldn't have been in a better setting, with better people, or on a nicer day. It taped out at 30" and it weighed in at 12 - 12 1/2 lbs. It took a size 16 black all purpose nymph. The fish was holding in the head of a pool and ate the nymph without hesitation.

My thanks to Rich Meyer for being a great fishing partner that day.

Bryce Curle, a super guy all around, did an awesome job guiding us in our day in the backcountry. Without him this fish and the video wouldn't be possible. Cheers mate.

First Blog Ever- Black Hills Fishing update

With a homebrew in hand I am going to take a swing at this blog thing. My goal is to provide regular updates on happenings here in the Black Hills fly fishing world, and maybe I will throw in the occasional rant. Here goes...

This has been one of the snowiest springs I can remember in quite awhile. The northern Black Hills have received over 7 feet of snow in the past 2 1/2 weeks. The reservoirs (except Angostura) are all full and there is plenty of snow pack upstream of them. Flows out of Pactola Reservoir are already around 100 cfs; which seems like quite a bit when compared to the 13 cfs of the last several months.

All this moisture is a welcome change for the trout streams of the Black Hills. Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish Creeks are going to be in great shape this year. I hope the Boxelder, French, and Spring Creeks make up for what was lost due to the drought.

The next few weeks will see high water in our streams. Runoff and additional rainfalls could get flows up to unfishable levels in Spearfish Canyon. Rapid Creek below Pactola should be fishable as long as releases don't get out of hand. Get ready to use bigger flies, heavier tippet, and a bunch of weight.

I will report on fishing conditions in coming blogs. Stay tuned for more.