We’re beginning to sound like a broken record, but the fishing is still fantastic here in the Black Hills. All things considered, this year has turned out much, much better than we anticipated it would. We started off the summer very dry, and we were getting a bit worried. Things have turned around a bit in the moisture department, and the fish have been happy. Terrestrial fishing has been really good lately, and we’re heading into streamer season. The next month is going to be a great time to be here!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fishing quite well, with some good dry fly fishing to boot. The further you walk in from Silver City, the better the fishing seems to get. The go-to setup has been a Hippie Stomper, Klinkhamer, or Stimulator on top, trailed by a Tung Teaser, Tungsten Psycho, or your favorite jig pattern a couple feet behind. Make sure you fish everything that’d deeper than your boot – there’s fish in surprisingly shallow water most days. In the deeper holes, try a Tungsten Rainbow Czech or North Fork Special trailed by a smaller fly. Below Pactola has been fishing good also, with the fish being their normal, picky selves. Nymphing has been the best bet for numbers of fish for most of the day, with PMD patterns producing the most fish. The Pale Morning Dun nymphs have been really active under the surface, and the fish have taken notice. Use a bigger lead pattern, with scuds and worms being good bets. For a dropper pattern, anything brown with a yellow spot on the thorax has been good. Barr’s PMD Emergers and Tungsten Split Case PMDs have been moving some fish. Make sure you fish light tippet to your dropper pattern – 6x is the best bet, but if you’re comfortable fishing 7x you’ll hook a few more fish. In the evenings there have been good numbers of PMDs coming off, and most nights there’s a good number of fish up on them. Try a size 16-22 Missing Link, Sparkle Dun, Comparadun, Parachute PMD, or Smoke Jumper if you see fish up on top.
Spearfish Creek has been one of the most consistent options lately, with nymph fishing being the best bet. Jig patterns have been picking up plenty of fish lately, and we’ve been fishing a single fly quite often. If you’re fishing in town, bigger patterns have been doing the trick. Size 12-14 Jig Pheasant Tails, Soft Spots, and the new Sweet Pea have been working very well. If you see fish in shallow water, there’s a good chance you can catch them on a Smoke Jumper or Purple Haze as well – a few of them will eat bigger terrestrial patterns as well. If you’re heading to the canyon, the same flies will work if you fish them a size smaller. Size 14-16 jig patterns have been working really well, especially really skinny ones. That being said, I’ve been doign excellent with jig Princes and Party Crashers. If the fish get a bit pickier, drop a smaller jig or baetis pattern a foot below your jig and you’ll pick up some extra fish!
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been fishing great, with some of the best terrestrial fishing in the Black Hills. I guided there yesterday, and we fished nothing but dry-droppers the entire day with half of the fish coming on the dry fly. As we’ve been preaching lately, the Hippie Stomper is killer up on Castle, especially in smaller sizes. Olive and yellow were our two best colors yesterday, but I don’t know if it makes any difference. We used various jigs in size 16, as well as Tung Teasers and Psycho nymphs. There are lots of fish in every corner, so make sure you fish everything! There are a few sleeper browns around as well, so don’t be surprised if you hook into a 14-16 incher!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek have been fishing well. Terrestrials are the name of the game here, as these creeks are both weedy right now. Good patterns include Bloom’s Parachute Ant, Morrish Hoppers, Chubby Chernobyls, Hi Viz Beetles, and guess what else? Hippie Stompers. There’s a good chance of a good BWO hatch on both of these creeks as well, so be prepared for that. Anywhere there’s a slot in the weeds will more than likely hold fish, so make sure you fish everything!
Fishing has been solid overall, and will continue to be good as the weather cools off over the next week. Stop by the shop and we can get you pointed in the right direction as far as flies and places to fish. We’ve had a good number of trips out over the past week, and September is starting to book up – give us a call to book your Black Hills fly fishing guide!