You must not have been down lately. The hicks are back just like they were in the 60's, and I have had 100+ fish days there every year for the last 8-10 years. The much larger American (white) shad are back in great numbers as well, but you need full sinking lines to get down to them, and a boat is really helpful due to the high springtime flows which preclude wading out far enough to make a backcast.
Deer Creek is heavily fished by the flyrod brigade, and arriving early is a MUST to get a good spot. If interested in giving it a shot, shoot me a PM and maybe we can hook up next spring.
Tight lines 'n screamin' reels,