Fishing in Rapid City and the Black Hills

Rapid City and the Black Hills are known for their mountain lakes and fresh-water streams brimming with brook, brown and rainbow trout. On the surrounding prairie, reservoirs and ranch stock dams are full of largemouth bass, northern pike and a variety of panfish. The best fishing waters are located at: Deerfield Reservoir and Pactola Reservoir; Stockade Lake, Sheridan Lake, Rapid Creek, French Creek, Spearfish Creek, Spring Creek and Castle Creek. Most waters are stocked and the fishing season never closes in South Dakota. For fishing license and regulation information visit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website.


Black Hills of South Dakota Fishing Guide
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South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks – Black Hills Fishing Guide



Crow Creek and Spearfish Creek Watersheds

Crow Creek is the largest stream in the Black Hills with a single spring as its primary water source. As it flows north and crosses Interstate 90, it gains considerable water. Wild brown trout are found in Crow Creek.

Spearfish Creek is the second largest stream in the Black Hills and supplies some of the most diverse and best fishing in the Hills.

Whitewood Creek and Bear Butte Creek Watersheds

Whitewood Creek downstream of Deadwood flows through a canyon that offers pocket water fishing to anglers willing to hike in and out.

Strawberry Hill Pond just west of Highway 385 has handicap fishing facilities and is stocked with rainbow trout

Elk and Boxelder Creek Watersheds

Elk Creek is relatively small, with numerous small tributaries containing brook trout. 

Anglers driving Nemo Road will usually find Boxelder Creek dry downstream of the Norris Peak Road. In this area the stream crosses the Madison limestone formation, and the majority of the stream flows underground and recharges the Madison Aquifer.

Lower Rapid Creek Watershed

Rapid Creek is the largest stream in the Black Hills. Some of the best brown trout fishing in the Black Hills is in the reach from the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center upstream to Canyon Lake.

Canyon Lake is stocked with rainbow trout throughout the year. It is handicap accessible and provides year- round fishing for anglers of all ages.

Upper Rapid Creek Watershed

The reach of Rapid Creek from the inlet of Pactola Reservoir upstream to the Mystic Road, C318, is a brown trout fishery.

Upstream of Mystic Road, anglers will find thicker growths of vegetation and an occasional beaver dam.

Spring Creek Watershed

Spring Creek is arguably the most accessible stream in the Black Hills. The reach below Sheridan Lake can be accessed from numerous pull-outs along Sheridan Lake Road.

Spring Creek above Sheridan Lake upstream through Hill City is managed for brown trout.

Battle Creek Watershed

Fishing opportunity in the Battle Creek watershed is limited. Frequent low flows and warm water temperatures restrict trout populations in Battle Creek.

Smaller tributaries in the upper reaches of the watershed such as Pine Creek, Grizzly Bear and Iron Creek have thriving populations of brook trout.

Custer State Park

Four small reservoirs in Custer State Park Legion, Sylvan, Bismark, and Center lakes are stocked with rainbow trout. Stockade Lake has yellow perch, largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Grace Coolidge Creek contains an abundant population of wild brook trout.


Sheridan Lake 

Sheridan Lake is a 385-acre impoundment on Spring Creek that is owned and operated by the United States Forest Service. Only eight miles from Rapid City, it provides a variety of recreation opportunities.

Deerfield Lake Reservoir

Deerfield Lake is the most remote of the three large reservoirs in the Black Hills. Deerfield is known for providing year-round fishing for brook, splake and rainbow trout.

Pactola Lake Reservoir

Pactola is the largest reservoir in the Black Hills with a surface area of 
785 acres. Pactola Lake provides fishing opportunity for rainbow, brown and lake trout.

Additional reservoirs surrounding the Black Hills include: 
Angostura Reservoir
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman Dam)