Spearfish Creek South Dakota

My good friend, Michael Ames, and I were invited to tie at the IFFF Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston, Montana in August. With a little planning, we decided to leave early and do some fishing on the way. I had recently read an article in Eastern Fly Fishing by Jeff Erickson about fishing Spearfish Creek. We decided to drive two days and camp in Spearfish at the public campground on Saturday. On the way, we stopped at Dakota Anglers and Outfitters (www.flyfishsd.com) in Rapid City. They provided fishing licenses, flies, as well as good advise about where to fish.

Erickson described the campground as swarming “with euphoric evening recreation: blissed-out bicyclists and Rollerbladers streak[ing] down the stream side trails.” What we found was hundreds of motorcycles, trailers, and tents. It was the opening weekend for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. When we arrived at the campground, it already looked full. At the camp office, we asked the attendant if they had any camp sites open. “Find an open piece of grass and pitch your tent”, she told us. We made camp and visited with some of the people there. Our license was only good for one day, even though the river ran just behind our tent we could not fish until the next morning.


Spearfish Campground

The next morning we drove down US Highway 14A to Savoy. Spearfish Creek runs through Spearfish Canyon with high limestone walls, part of the Black Hills. The road parallels the creek and there are plenty of pull offs where one can stop and fish. Spearfish Creek is the second largest stream in the Black Hills. But is not a very large stream. In most places, it may not be more than 30 feet wide. It consist mostly of pocket water with occasional riffles and runs. The current is fairly strong since the creek drops over 3000 feet during its run.

spearfish canyon

Spearfish Canyon with high limestone walls

Here is one of the first places we stopped to fish. This is a relatively long run. Michael had caught one brown trout earlier but we had no luck here. Although you can’t see it, the road is next to the Creek.

Michael Ames fishing

Michael Ames Fishing

While fishing, you would hear the thunder of the Harley Davidson motorcycles echoing through the canyon on the road above the creek punctuated by the occasional hum of a Japanese sewing machine.

Motorcycle Hatch

Motorcycle Hatch

Although Michael only caught one fish, this area has great potential and should probably be a destination and not just a stopping place. I will most surely visit Spearfish Creek in the future.

pocket water

Pocket water typical of Spearfish Creek

More about our trip to Livingston, Montana and the IFFF Fly Fishing Fair in the next post.