The fishing throughout the Black Hills has been great, and it looks like fall weather is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Most all of the streams throughout the area are in great shape for this time of year, and the fish have been more than willing! This is our favorite time of year to be fishing here, and a variety of techniques have been catching fish. Whatever type of fishing you dig, there’s somewhere for you to catch some fish!
Rapid Creek has been fishing great, and is one of your most consistent bets. Above Pactola has been fishing pretty good, especially if you’re willing to walk in a mile or two. Attractor dries trailed by a smaller nymph pattern have been moving a fair number of fish. Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, Stimulators, and various small hoppers have been good bets for dry flies. Drop a Tung Teaser, Tungsten Psycho, Jig Hare’s Ear, Tungsten Dart, or North Fork Special a couple feet below your dry to catch a few bonus fish. As always make sure you fish everything, as there can be fish in anything that’s over six inches deep. Below Pactola has been fishing well also, and the dry fly fishing has improved a bit as well. There has been a good hatch of Blue Winged Olives, especially on overcast and cool days. The fish have been fairly picky as usual, but smaller patterns on light tippet have been getting some fish. Comparaduns, Sparkle Duns, Missing Links, Hackle Stackers, and Students in size 16-22 have been working well. Fish them on a fairly long 6x or 6.5x Trouthunter tippet! Nymphing has been your best bet as always for numbers of fish. I like a bigger lead fly like a big scud, worm, or cranefly. Trail a smaller, more realistic BWO or midge pattern off the back. We’ve found Two Bit Hookers, Split Back Baetis, Serendipities, WD-40s, and various small scud patterns to be good dropper flies in size 16-22, depending how picky the fish are. Make sure you’re fishing either a weighted fly or split shot and get right in their face and you’ll do much better. We’re getting into streamer season, so don’t overlook some bigger flies as well. The water is low enough that you won’t need much of a sink tip – something in the 2-3 ips range will work fine. Home Invaders, Dungeons, Doc’s Articulators, and Lil’ Kims are good bets. Fish them on 12-15 pound Maxima, the fish don’t care and you won’t lose many flies! Fishing in town has been really good lately, with dry-dropper rigs working quite well. The water is pretty low, so there’s not many places where you need to put on an actual nymph rig. Klinkhamers and Hippie Stompers have been good bets for dries, with a wide variety of droppers working well. Just about any jig fly in a size 14-16 will pick up some fish, but the new Sweet Pea jig has been a solid producer lately. Tungsten Zebra Midges, Tung Teasers, Psychos, and Tungsten Split Back Baetis are good bets also. If you see fish rising, try a small BWO pattern on light tippet!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing exceptionally well, and the canyon is beautiful right now! There have been good BWO hatches in the canyon especially, but you can find a few in town as well. I really like CDC Thorax Duns and Smoke Jumpers for adult patterns, but adjust as necessary. The fish in Spearfish generally aren’t super particular about the pattern, but the presentation is key. Get close if you can, but just make sure to throw some slack into your leader to make sure you’re getting a good drift either way. Nymphing has been your best bet if you’re into catching numbers. I’ve been doing really well on worms lately, mostly tans and browns in a size 12-14. Dropper patterns than have been good include skinny jigs, Sweet Peas, Red Butts, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, and Root Beer Midges in size 14-18. I’ve been getting away with 5x usually and sometimes 4x to my lead fly, but definitely fish 6x if you’re using a smaller dropper. The fish in Spearfish are still in the faster water, especially in the canyon. That being said, there’s been a few more fish moving into the deeper, slower water with the cooler days so don’t overlook the big, obvious holes as well. Spearfish has been fishing lights out, and has been some of the best fishing in the Black Hills!
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been great. Dry-dropper rigs are the go to setup here, and the fish have been looking up most days. Smaller Parachute Hoppers, Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, Purple Hazes, and Stimulators are solid bets for the surface side of things. Dropper-wise I would stay on the smaller side. Tung Teasers, Psycho Nymphs, tungsten Pheasant Tails, and Root Beer Midges in size 16-20 are good bets. If you’re in a likely spot and don’t catch a fish within ten casts or so, change flies. Make sure and fish close to the banks up here as well – there are a lot of fish within a few inches of the shore, and most of the big fish hang out under the undercuts banks, logs, and such.
Whitewood Creek along Kirk road has been fishing quite well, especially if you’re into fishing dry flies and wild fish. The water is pretty low, so you can fish mostly dry flies and do just fine. Smaller terrestrials have been the ticket lately. Hippie Stompers, Klinkahmers, Stimulators, Purple Hazes, and various other attractor dries and terrestrials will get the job done!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are entering their prime dry fly fishing season as the weather has gotten cooler, and they’ll both fish really well over the next few weeks. BWO’s are the name of the game up there, so come prepared. CDC Thorax Duns, Sipper Midges, Students, Smoke Jumpers, various cripple patterns, and Comparaduns are really good bets. Be stealthy, and make sure you’ve got your cast tuned up and accurate. If you can get the fly in front of the fish without spooking them, you stand a really good chance of catching them!
Overall the fishing has been fantastic! There’s very few people around fishing right now, and the fish have been pretty willing. We have guides available in the coming weeks, and if you’re more of a DIY kinda person feel free to swing into the shop and we can get you the right bugs and get you pointed in the right direction!