"The Finest" - January 2023

Welcome to the new Fly Lines newsletter!  In an effort to save on our hard working admin, the bottom line of our printing budget, and a beautiful tree or two, we are brining you this online version of "The Finest" with hopes that it will be widely accepted and well received!  Please let us know what you think, and share this with your networks.  An archive will always be available at the BHFF website for reading while waiting streamside for the hatch to begin.  Enjoy the January 2023 edition of Flylines! 

A great group gathered in Murphy's pub to enjoy camaraderie, pulled pork sliders, and some great fishing stories from a few BHFF members.  We heard tales of two Alaskas (one trip too good to be true, the other conjured in a nightmare), a nod to one of the best fishing dogs of all time, and a bighorn adventure with many lessons learned.  Already looking forward to the next evening of storytelling!  

Lucy the fishing dog
May 31, 2008 - July 14, 2022

Black Hills Fly Fishers lost a longtime member and friend! Don Polovich "Caster Don" was an influential voice for promoting fly fishing for all species of fish in South Dakota. The tug was the drug for Don and he laughed just as hard catching small bluegills or big trout. Don shared his knowledge of fishing to all who would ask and gave away thousands of flies over the years! He will be remembered and missed by all of us who had the privilege to fish with him!
Listen to some of Don's stories here

2023 is going to be BIG!

The BHFF board met in January to nail down some important dates for this new year.  Get them in your calendar now and stay tuned into our social media feeds and newsletter posts for future details.  Here is what we have planned so far.  Much more to come: 

Feb 3rd - BHFF Planning session (no other meeting or member gathering in February)
March 9th - Wings & Rings Fly tying competition (details below)   
April 13th  - Murphy’s Pub (Dakota Angler & Outfitter is sponsoring and presenting.) 
May  - Online Auction and get together
June  -  Stream clean up and BBQ (Dates and location TBD)   
July -  Outdoor event (Stay tuned for updates on this)    
August  - Annual BHF Gear Swap!  We are excited about this one.    
Sept  -  We will be back at Murphy’s and the GFP will kick off the season yet again.

If you want to be a part of the conversation, get in touch with us about becoming a member of the BHFF.  This is a great opportunity to meet like minded people in and around the Black Hills to talk fly fishing and other fun stuff.  Mentorship opportunities abound, too, for anyone wanting to get more fishing time in.   
Become a Member or Pay Dues

Fly Tying Competition is BACK!!

Fur and feathers will be FLYING in preparation for the 2023 BHFF fly tying competition!  IT'S BACK!!  Not only is this a chance to sit in awe at some of the amazing tyers we have in our networks, but your flies will go to auction and help us raise money for habitat and advocacy efforts in 2023 and beyond!  Here are the details: 
When:  Thursday, March 9th - Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Where:  Rapid City Wings and Rings  - Better say thanks to them, as they are sponsoring the food! It's going to be good.  

Details:  Contributed flies must fit into one of three categories. 
1 - Dries
2 - Nymphs
3 - Streamers
Prizes will be given for best ties in each category.  There will also be a prize for "people's choice".  Fill a fly box with 6-12 (depending on size and intricacy) flies for our expert judges to examine.  Flies may be different colors/sizes, but should all be the same pattern.  Tyers may submit one box per category. 

Finished flies need to be received by 5 p.m. March 9th in order to be included in the competition.  Send finished flies and boxes (along with name and contact information) to: 

Harold Fenhaus
6021 Windriver Rd
Rapid City, SD 57702

Questions may be sent to Harold Fenhaus, 605-787-3527 or   

Rapid Creek Update

With flows in Rapid Creek back to normal, we have been pleased to see the City of Rapid City working towards operation improvements!   They have been seeking information from managing entities and connected stakeholders.  Mayor Steve Allender asked the Black Hills Flyfishers for a list of recommendations for him to include in his final report on this situation.  Below are the recommendations submitted to Mayor Allender by the BHFF board of directors: 
  • The City should fully understand its water rights and what they can do with those rights. An internal assessment of current agreements, protocols, and procedures should be conducted and submitted to a special workgroup composed of representatives from water advocacy groups, partner agencies, and city staff to identify necessary changes and upgrades to be approved by the City Council.  An updated memorandum outlining the components of this very important municipal/federal partnership would then be distributed throughout City government.
  • The City's water department has lost a lot of institutional knowledge (leadership turnover) in recent years.  We would recommend City administrators reconnect with previous staff members to identify and document the successful strategies, lessons learned, and accumulated observations during their tenure that may be beneficial to future management and training purposes.
  • The City's water department and upper management should have a meeting 2 times per year (spring and fall) with the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks along with the Bureau of Reclamation regarding Pactola Reservoir dam operations, water quality, and flow concerns / expectations for the upcoming 6 months.  They should work to identify important ecological times for the creek system and establish firm guidelines around water management (communication protocols, release amount agreements, etc) to avoid future harm. 
  • Rapid City's Council should have consistent semi-annual education regarding the importance of the entire Rapid Creek drainage and how the water in Rapid City can be impacted by events 50 miles west, southwest, and northwest of Rapid City.
  • Rapid City should conduct an economic analysis of Rapid Creek (maybe even water recreation as a whole) and the overall impact it has on our local economy and quality of life for residents/visitors.   Consider RC CVB and / or Elevate to work on this?
  • Partner with groups and organizations to make a financial investment in the enhancement and expansion of viable habitat for aquatic inhabitants. This would include an assessment of current stream conditions, identification of priority areas for improvement, and initiation of specific construction projects improving stream habitat.  This type of habitat improvement has been proven to not only help a fishery it can also improve water retention / flows during dry periods.
  • Work with the Bureau of Reclamation on Pactola dam upgrades that would prevent future cavitation issues and streamline flow management (i.e., gates like those currently installed on Deerfield Reservoir.  The cavitation problems at Pactola have been known for many years.  
  • Make financial investments in public education infrastructure centered around Rapid Creek watershed hydrology.  Partner with BHFF and other groups for development of, and funding for, education materials (walking trail signage, electronic publications, promotional materials, etc.) that would be made accessible to the public. The BHFF stands ready to make a commitment of time and funding for this initiative.  

Join the fight for Rapid Creek and other Black Hills fisheries by joining the BHFF today.  As our membership grows, so will our power to advocate for the things we care about.  Thanks for your support!    

Become a Member or Pay Dues
Staff and volunteers of the BHCWA have been monitoring mining activities in the Black Hills very closely.  There is a new threat that our members need to be made aware of.  Solitario Zinc, a mining company based in Colorado, is trying to drill for gold on over 28,000 acres west of Spearfish Canyon. The water on these mining claims flows directly into Spearfish Canyon, affecting recreational water areas. The mining activity will also intrude on popular biking trails and hiking areas.  For more information on this and other mining operations threatening Black Hills clean water, email Alexander Massa and ask to be kept informed.   
This is what great partnerships and collaborative efforts could look like in the Black Hills region!

New Flylines next month!  Thanks for being in the Black Hills Flyfishers community.  January is a great time to become a regular dues-paying member of our organization.  Please consider clicking the link below and checking out our membership options.  

Become a Member or Pay Dues
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