Fly Fishing Sugar Creek – June of 2017


Sugar Creek is, in my opinion, the Hoosier State’s best waterway…beautiful, remote and full of smallmouth that are willing to take a well presented fly. This year, 2017, has been a tough one thus far as we have battled high water for the first 6 weeks of the fishing season and in fact, it took us until the first week in June to find water that was conducive to casting a streamer.

On this trip I was fishing new water, from Deer Mill downstream. I must say I was impressed and will be back again when the water is good and I have a long day to hit all the various pieces of cover that hold smallies. We were under a high pressure and the fish weren’t in total chase mode; in fact the first hour of my drift left a fragrance of ‘skunk’ on the boat. Somewhere just short of the Shades State Park Canoe area I decided to switch to floating line and a fly with a little mid-weight and it was the difference. Over the course of the next 2-3 hours I filmed and landed several good fish…and much enjoyed the scenery along the way.

If you are a solo fly-guy and need a ride or a rental of a canoe or kayak…you can see the good folks at Clements for rental and shuttle. They are quite knowledgeable and helpful in getting you out on the water. Let me make one clear note at this point…you’d be better off to try and fish/float Sugar Creek on a weekday or possible early or late in the fishing season. If you try and drift the creek in the summer months, on a weekend, you will have to tolerate the MANY tubers and other recreational floaters while fishing.

I get lots of questions on gear and thus I have included a video section that better explains some of my choices for gear. Please excuse the blurry video in the first few minutes as my camera had drawn humidity…the rest of the video is sharp. My opinion is that you need a 6 weight for casting big streamers from a long ways off and white or silver baitfish patterns are high on the list of proven flies.

Either way…a trip down Sugar Creek is full of nature and quite possible will always leave you wanting more. My very best to you in your pursuit of a trophy smallmouth; remember that SC is a trophy stream and you are allowed to keep only one fish and it must be over 20 inches (but PLEASE don’t keep any of our precious locals!).


    • Ken Diaz
    • June 28, 2017

    .Hi Jeff,
    I was just chatting with a friend the other day about how hard it is to break into new fishing areas unless you are willing to re-invent the wheel, spending years to learn what others refuse to share. While it can be fun doing this in a creek ten minutes from home, if you travel very far it’s just frustrating. You’re doing a great service to all of us willing to make the trip. To those concerned about you sharing too much, I would say that the people who find you, the people who are making the effort to do some legwork online, are probably going to be responsible fishermen.

    Ok enough sucking up 😉

    I was wondering if the areas you are fishing on Sugar Creek are all shallow enough to wade. Personally, I don’t really care for fishing out of a canoe or kayak.


    1. Reply

      Thanks for the kind words…I’m up in Wisconsin smallmouth fishing and just left the Hayward Fly Fishing Company; the owner and I were just discussing helping newbies to the sport and I’m glad you feel I’m helping…I’d like to see a bunch of new guys in the sport and a little info goes a long ways!
      As for your question…if SC is running at or around 250 cfs it is probably wad able…you can also gauge this by using the gauge height and 2 1/2 foot or lower is usually good for wading. In all honesty most of SC is wadable except for the occasional deeper hole and often you can skirt the edge and get by…one tip…is watch the dirt or cloud you put in the water as the fish will figure this out and spook! Best of luck….

    • Ken Diaz
    • July 10, 2017

    Thanks Jeff!

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