After our fun night at Mt. Rushmore we got up the next morning to a wonderful breakfast at the Battle Creek Lodge. The owner of the lodge gave us some of the old bread that she saves for people to feed the burros in Custer State Park. My plan was to fish as we drove through the park. I hoped to catch a rainbow, brown, and brook trout by the end of the day.
We headed out into the park. Our first stop was a little picnic spot along the highway with a steam leading into a small pond. As we pulled over I could see trout rising. My wife grabbed her spinning rod and before I even had my fly tied on she hooked a rainbow trout.
I quickly tossed it back and finished rigging up my 3wt Cabela’s CGR fly rod with a size 14 Royal Wulff. I made a few cast and hooked my first fish of the trip. It was another rainbow trout.
Me and my wife traded off catching rainbows for probably another 20 minutes until they finally stopped biting. Then we made our way to the Grace Coolidge Walk-In Fishing Area. It’s a very nice trail that leads along the creek.
It wasn’t long and we had made our way to the first dam. Just down stream from the dam was a nice pool that looked like it would be holding some fish. After a couple of blind casts I finally spotted a fish to throw at. As soon as my fly hit the water it disappeared. I had my first ever brook trout!
After admiring the colors on this beautiful fish for a moment I released it back and moved on to the pool at the top of the dam. I had some nice fish rise to my fly but no takers. My wife lost her lure so we headed back to the car to do some exploring to keep my daughter happy.
We drove up the twisting road called Needles Highway. There are all kinds of unique rock formations along this small winding road.
Half way up we noticed a group of people pulled over taking pictures so we stopped to join them. Just a little ways off the road was a family of mountain goats eating and wandering down the canyon.
We watched the goats for awhile then moved on to see Crazy Horse Monument. On the ride to Crazy Horse we enjoyed the great views.
For lunch we headed to the Stockade Lake Area. Stockade Lake looks like a great fishing spot but we could not get anything to bite. It was also the only part of the park I saw anyone else fishing, but no one catching anything.
I had read that French Creek was the place to go to catch brown trout. We drove down some back roads to get there to watch for some wildlife. We found alot of dear, antelope, prarie dogs, and buffalo.
French Creek was like everything around the park, kind of dry. I found a nice pool in a section of the creek that was still flowing. There wasn’t enough water for my wife to fish. The first fish I caught was another rainbow. My daughter enjoyed the colors on it.
I noticed a larger fish on the other side of the creek so my daughter and I walked around so I could try and catch him. The first cast he missed my fly. I managed to snag some plants behind me, so I untangled my mess and made another cast. My fly was drifting slowly along and I could see the fish slowly rising to it. Finally he sipped my fly in and I had my brown.
Overall it was a great trip. I had caught my 3 species of trout and the family had fun. Anyone that gets the chance should check out this great part of our county.