Fishing has been nothing short of spectacular this past week in the hills, and we've had some great weather to go along with it! If you like dry fly fishing, get out there while it's good - this coming week looks to have several promising days weather-wise for some great Blue Winged Olive hatches.
The fish in our local streams have seemed to wake out of their winter slumber, and they've been looking up! I can't recall very many seasons that I've seen this many fish feeding on top - there are seriously runs of several dozen fish rising on any given day. It's borderline nuts, and a little hard to avoid the tendency to flock-shoot them and to make yourself just pick one fish out of the dozens within casting range.
I've been getting out a lot in town, and it's been great. Lots of fish eating dries and being pretty game to eat a number of different flies. I've also been having good success on Castle Creek and Sand Creek. Crow Creek and lower Spearfish should be fishing well also. The fish seem to start feeding on dries around 10 am, but they stop at a different time on any given day. Some days it's been 12, some days it's 4. A pretty solid bet is to be out there between 10-2, and you'll see some fish on top. Another thing to keep in mind - the rises have been particularly subtle lately. Not the big, splashy summertime caddis rises. If you come up on somewhere that normally has fish, and don't look for more than a few seconds, you'll miss them. Just slow down, take a few minutes and watch. They're in there, and they're feeding. They're just leisurely eating midges and BWO's, not chasing craneflies.
Some of my best patterns lately have been small-ish BWO's - stuff like Student's, Smoke Jumpers, CDC Thorax Duns, Parachutes, Comparaduns, Sparkle Duns, and even traditional style BWO patterns in 16-20. I've also been catching quite a few on midge clusters, Griffith's Gnats, Renegades, Klinkhammers, and Parachute Adams. I feel that your presentation and tippet size is vastly more important than your flies most days lately. If you're using 6x and a fly that resembles what the fish are eating, you stand a pretty solid chance of getting into good numbers of fish!
Below Pactola has also been good, but as usual, you have to work for your fish. Some days the fish are rising really well, and the same stuff that's been working in town will catch fish up there. If the fish aren't on top, don't be afraid to break out the sink tips and meat. The winter fish up there sometimes require some motivation to move, and a six-inch long streamer definitely has some motivating power. Nymphing with the normal variety of things has been good as well, including UV Czechs, Bubble Backs, Two Bits, Cheesman Canyon Emergers, and as always, G-Strings and San Juans.
Overall, fishing has vastly improved, and has been great just about everywhere! If you have any questions on particular streams or hatches, don't hesitate to give the shop a call. We're always here to help. Get out and get a piece of some of the best dry fly fishing of the year!