Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Rapid Creek - Below Pactola - South Dakota

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Afternoon #16-#22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
February Midges Afternoon #16-#22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
March Blue Wing Olives Mid-day #18-#22 Blue Wing Olive Dry, Pheasant Tail
April Midges, Blue Wing Olives Afternoon-Mid day #16-#22 Zebra Midge, Blue Wing Olive Dry, Pheasant Tail
May Caddis Evening #12-#16 Elk Hair Caddis
Blue Wing Olives Mid-day #18-#22 Blue Wing Olive Dry, Pheasant Tail
June Caddis, Pale Morning Dun Evening-Morning #12-#18 Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams
July Caddis, Tricos Evening-Morning #16-#22 Elk Hair Caddis, Trico Spinners, Griffith's Gnat
August Tricos Morning #20-#24 Trico Spinners, Griffith's Gnat
September Tricos Morning #20-#24 Trico Spinners
October Blue Wing Olives Mid-day #18-#22 Blue Wing Olive Dry, Pheasant Tail
November Midges Afternoon #16-#22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
December Midges Afternoon #16-#22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

Experience the thrill of fly fishing at Rapid Creek – Below Pactola, one of the most scenic locations attracting anglers from all over the world. Here are some of the best spots:

  • Catch and Release Area: Located just below the dam, this is a prime location for rainbow and brown trout.
  • Silver City: This area, located about 9 miles below the dam, is also loaded with trout.
  • Placerville: This area offers multiple public access points and good potential for trophy trout.
  • Rapid City: Fishing right in town can be surprisingly good with many large trout caught each year.
  • Dark Canyon: This remote section of the creek is rarely fished and offers an opportunity for solitude.

All locations provide year-round fishing opportunities. Start planning your adventure to these amazing fly fishing locations of Rapid Creek – Below Pactola now.

Best Access Points

The Rapid Creek below Pactola is a blue-ribbon fly fishing destination offering exceptional opportunities. Popular access points include:

  • Cleghorn Springs Fish Hatchery: Directly downstream from Pactola Dam, it’s an accessible spot for beginners.
  • Rapid Creek through Rapid City: This urban stretch is heavily stocked and convenient, offering easy, roadside access.
  • Rapid Valley: Further downstream, this area boasts wild brown trout.

In addition, fly fishers can consider these spots:

  1. Dark Canyon: Located below the Rushmore Cave, this spot is less-pressurized and home to large trout.
  2. Johnson Siding: This access point in the Black Hills National Forest is perfect for those seeking solitude.

Local Fish

  • Rainbow Trout: These are the most commonly targeted fish in Rapid Creek below Pactola. They are known for their aggressive eating habits and striking coloration.
  • Cutthroat Trout: Cutthroat are native to the area, and are less common than Rainbow but still a very popular target for anglers.
  • Brown Trout: Brown trout are notoriety known for being wily, making them a challenging and thrilling catch.
  • Brook Trout: Another native species, Brook Trout, are distinguishable by their mottled appearance and are a fan favorite among fly fishers due to their taste.
  • Mountain Whitefish: While not traditionally targeted by fly fisherman, the Mountain Whitefish can present a fun challenge and add variety to a day on the river.
  • Yellow Perch: Yellow Perch can be surprisingly aggressive and provide a vibrant flash of color when caught.
  1. Northern Pike: Known for their toothy mouths and long bodies, Northern Pike are a hard-fighting fish that are occasionally targeted in Rapid Creek.
  2. Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth Bass are not as common in Rapid Creek, but they can provide a fun and thrilling catch with their notorious leaping and diving behaviors during the fight.

About The River

Discover the magic of Rapid Creek – Below Pactola, a jewel in South Dakota’s scenic terrain. This stunning creek begins at the Pactola Reservoir and flows all the way through Rapid City into the Cheyenne River, offering mesmerizing nature explorations. Plentiful aquatic life and lush forest make for incredible wildlife spotting.

Fascinating historical elements coalesce to add to its charm. Established in the early 1800s due to gold mining operations, it became a scene of human resilience and industrious activity throughout subsequent decades.

  • In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Pactola Reservoir, contributing significantly to the creek’s modern shape.
  • The 1940s onwards saw this area transform into a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, including fishermen seeking brown and rainbow trout.
  • The surrounding region is rich in Native American history, bearing traces of past settlements.

Today, the Rapid Creek remains an essential, beautiful piece of South Dakota’s diverse landscape – a tribute to nature’s ardor and historical perseverance.


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