Black Hills Fly Fishing
The Black Hills are a gem tucked deep in the middle of America. This is a great place to take a spring or summer trip with your family, and well worth packing a fly rod to get out for a day (or two half days). With the Badlands National Park, Wind Caves National Park, Custer State Park and Black Hills National Forest there is a ton of exploration available for kids and families here. In our experience there are plenty of great opportunities with a rod in hand and a good set of waders to get out on some small creeks at mid elevations.
Maybe not your first thought for a Trout Mecca but this is a great spot to explore and find some awesome little fish. While no trout are native to the Black Hills national forest area, you will find all major types including Brook trout, Brown trout, Rainbow trout and also the more recently introduced Cutthroat trout in some areas. With over 500 miles of perennial streams to explore, there is no shortage of productive water. Finding the right spots on limited time is key. The FlyFishFinder app can definitely help get you to those spots, as well as connecting with local anglers who may be able to help you explore more efficiently while on a budget. Our app was built for this specific scenario. Planning a Black Hills fly fishing trip should definitely be on your shortlist of places to checkout.
Low Pressure Compared to Other Areas
Again, with there being over 500 miles of healthy, year round streams in the Black Hills, there is no shortage of trout water to explore. You will also find some reservoirs with stocked trout, as well as other species like Chub, Bass and Crappies. Due to the remoteness of the area, and the western states nearby receiving a lot more recognition for fly fishing, this is an area that will offer solid rewards to those willing to explore, especially on foot. There is solid fishing right inside the largest city in the area, that being Rapid City. Here are three great picks for streams to try when in the area. There are plenty of others to explore so don’t shy away from some stream hopping around the area, you won’t have to drive far to find more water.
Any Black Hills fly fishing trip is incomplete without a stop at Rapid Creek. Rapid Creek offers a ton of access in and around the city. With all three major trout inhabiting these waters, you may get the coveted trout grand slam. Sioux Park and Jackson Park are connected on the NW end of town and make a great starting point. Moving upstream you will come to the edge of the Black Hills Forest Area and this is where you can really start to explore. Checkout the FlyFishFinder app for public land access in this area.
Spring Creek in and around Hill City SD is another stream with great opportunities. There is also a ton of backcountry camping in the area that affords great opportunities to spend a day or two in the area, near to water and wilderness. Be sure to pack out whatever you bring and keep this area clean. These streams are extremely vulnerable to pollution based on the sheer number of visitors and hikers the area receives every summer. Some of this water we have fished is no bigger than 3’ across nearer its headwaters and great for a 2 or 3wt rod and some dries in the summer months. Undoubtedly one of my personal favorite trips I’ve taken was tossing hoppers to hungry, wild brookies in the middle of August.
Another great stream with plenty of trout. Around the town of Mystic there is good public access and land tracts that create easier water access, bridge points and other opportunities. Be sure to check out this area next time you visit South Dakota.
Other Highlights of the Black Hills
As you can see, Black Hills fly fishing is well worth a stop. There is tons of public access as mentioned, with many national parks and land, as well as state parks you will not have a shortage of opportunities to find new water. At FlyFishFinder we are all about exploring and taking advantage of public water. Be sure to practice healthy catch and release and keep these opportunities available for the next generations!
This area has plenty of camping, both tent and RV spaces, as well as hiking and climbing opportunities for those interested in those things. The FlyFishFinder app can pinpoint camping opportunities in the Black Hills and nationwide for those interested. From remote backcountry spots to the more well known sites, we have data on thousands of campsites across the US and Canada. We encourage taking advantage of these activities. For those with kids, Custer State Park is our favorite stop. Hit the wildlife loop early in the morning though at peak season to avoid long delays and crowds. The animals in our experience aren’t always out in full force at 7 am though.
Sylvan Lake presents awesome camping and hiking and is one of our favorite spots if you have younger kids. Just be sure to pack good hiking boots or shoes, and a couple fly rods for the family. They do heavy stocking of rainbow trout here and you may catch a couple to keep, but be sure to have purchased a SD fishing license ahead of time.
Good luck and enjoy all that Black Hills fly fishing has to offer, it’s definitely one of our favorites spots to bring the family.
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