We’ve had some unseasonably warm weather for late September over the last week, and the fish have seemed to dig it. Highs in the high 70s and low 80s have made for some good terrestrial fishing, as well as bringing out some pretty good BWO and midge hatches. As always nymphing has been a solid bet nearly everywhere, and we’re getting into the time of year where streamer fishing can start to get fantastic and you can move some really big fish!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fishing well, with nymphing being the primary technique right now. Larger attractor type nymphs have been the ticket fished close to the bottom. North Fork Specials, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, San Juan Worms, Tung Teasers, and larger jig patterns have been good bets. If you find some fish that are pickier than normal, try dropping a smaller Pheasant Tail or Zebra Midge below for a trailer fly. The bigger, deeper holes have been the most productive with the lower water, but there’s some fish in the riffly stuff as well. There can be some bigger browns moving out of Pactola during this time also, so don’t overlook throwing some bigger flies as well. Lil’ Kims and Home Invaders are two of my favorites, but adjust as necessary. Below the dam has been fishing well, and the fish have been looking up. Terrestrials have been moving a lot of fish. Hi Viz Beetles, Morrish Crickets, Bloom’s Parachute Ants, and Klinkhamers are good bets. Parachute Hoppers, Hippie Stompers, and Big Secret Crickets are a few more to try if the fish are being a bit more selective. There’s been a good midge hatch throughout the day as well, but the bugs are incredibly tiny. They’re at least a size 30 if not smaller than that, so it goes without saying that the fish are really picky when they’re up on them. Morgan’s Midges and F-Flies have been good bets if you want to fish on the surface, but I’ve had better luck fishing a small midge nymph in the film or just below. Bubble Back Midges, Root Beer Midges, WD-40s, and any other small, dark and slender nymph. Nymphing has been good as well. Fish a bigger attractor lead pattern like a San Juan Worm, Tungsten Rainbow Czech, or Boat Anchor Scud, trailed by a Tungsten Split Back Baetis, Flashback Pheasant Tail, or your favorite midge pattern in size 18-22. Streamer fishing can be good this time of year as well, but the lower water can make it a bit tricky. Fish a light sink tip and keep your flies moving and you’ll get some chasers! Fishing in town has been good as well, and is pretty much the same as the last report. Hippie Stompers or Klinkhamers trailed by various jig patterns will get the job done. As with just about everywhere else, there’s good opportunity for a BWO hatch as well so don’t overlook some of the slower water where the rises can be really subtle!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing well, and will continue to fish better as the fallen leaves work their way through the system. The higher you get in the canyon the less foliage will be in the water. That being said, the fishing has been good to great most days! Nymphing has been the most productive method, but many of the same patterns as always working well. Most of the various jig nymphs have been working well, with the Jig Assassin and Hare’s Ear working exceptionally well. Try a 14 to start, and move your way to a 16 if you find the fish to be a bit picky. If you want to fish a dropper fly, try a Two Bit Hooker or T. Ready Baetis. There can be good BWO hatches in the canyon this time of year also, so don’t be without a few CDC Thorax Duns, F-Flies, Students, or Sparkle Duns in size 16-20. Fish a longer tippet than you typically would and you’ll get a much better drift and catch more fish! The fishing in town in Spearfish has been fantastic as well. Fish the same jig patterns as you would in the canyon, but use them as a trailer behind your favorite variety of San Juan Worm. The worm definitely shouldn’t be overlooked, and has saved many days for me!
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been fishing good, and the Brook Trout are beautiful this time of year! These aren’t particularly difficult fish to catch typically, so don’t overthink it. Fish a Klinkhamer, Hippie Stomper, or Stimulator for your dry fly in size 12-16, usually on 4x. For a dropper, a wide variety of patterns can work. Tungsten Psycho Nymphs, Tung Teasers, Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, and any small jig pattern will work well for a dropper. A couple feet below your dry is a good starting point, but adjust as needed. There can be good Blue Winged Olive mayfly hatches as well, so come armed with the same patterns as Spearfish Creek.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing more or less the same as the last report. Blue Winged Olives and various terrestrials are the name of the game. Early next week looks like some fantastic weather for a BWO hatch, so definitely have a few CDC Thorax Duns, Students, and Sipper Midges in 16-20. Hippie Stompers and various beetle and ant patterns have been good bets as well!
All of the small lakes around the Black Hills are fishing quite well, and are a nice change of pace sometimes. Center, Sylvan, Dalton, and many of the other small lakes are fishing really well. Try a Mini Leech, Prince Nymph, or Kern River Emerger slowly stripped below the surface, or you can fish them under an indicator as well. When you’re fishing lakes, I typically look for some sort of weededge or other structure you fish. Quite often the fish are rising, so you can just pick and choose what fish to cast to.
Overall the fishing has been great! We’ve had a lot of guided trips out over the past week, and we’ve had some happy folks that caught some fantastic Black Hills fish. Give us a call or stop by the shop for up to date Black Hills fly fishing conditions!