Fishing throughout the Black Hills continues to be great, and we have had some unseasonably warm weather that’s made for some really good fishing. With highs that continue to be in the 60s and 70s we’ve had a fair amount of dry fly fishing available, as well as some terrestrial opportunities! This is the time of year that streamer fishing starts to get good as well, and some of our biggest fish of the year are caught in late October and November. There’s no shortage of fishing opportunities throughout the Black Hills right now, and the streams are all pretty vacant!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing well, and as usual it seems to get better the further you’re willing walk in. Dry-dropper rigs are a good choice with the lower flows. Klinkhamers, Parachute Adams, Klinkhamers, Hippies Stompers, and Purple Hazes will make a good dry fly right now. There’s still a fair number of fish that are willing to eat bigger dry flies right now due to the warmer weather! Drop a Tung Teaser, Tungsten Rainbow Czech, Jig Assassin, North Fork Special, or a bigger midge pattern below the dry fly a couple feet for a few extra fish! You can nymph the bigger, deeper holes if you feel like you aren’t getting to the bottom with your dropper rig. There can be some big browns that have moved out of the lake during this time of year also, so streamer fishing can be a good choice also. Doc’s Articulators, Lil Kims, Home Invaders, Circus Peanuts, and Kreelexes are good bets – just make sure to mix up your pattern or color if you get fish that aren’t committing. Below Pactola has been fishing well, but the fish are still their normal picky selves. There have been BWO’s hatching pretty regularly, but they’re incredibly small. If there’s fish on the surface, try a 20-24 Comparadun, Sparkle Dun, Student, Smoke Jumper, CDC Thorax Dun, or Morgan’s Midge. If you can’t get them on the dry fly, put on a beetle or cricket – it’s surprising how often you can move fish that won’t eat the small fly to a bigger terrestrial pattern. Nymphing has been good as usual, with the dropper fly becoming increasingly important. Put a Split Back Baetis, Skinny Nelson, Flashback PT, Zebra Midge, or Serendipity below your favorite scud or worm pattern. Make sure you’re getting in front of the fish and not making them move too far to eat and you’ll do just fine. Streamer fishing has been good also, with the same patterns as above Pactola moving some nice fish! Fishing in town has been lights out, with a lot of fish looking up. There’s a great BWO hatch midday, and the fish have been going bonkers for them. CDC Thorax Duns, Students, Klinkhamers, Parachute BWO’s, Sparkle Duns, and even Purple Hazes have all been catching some nice fish! There’s a lot of fish in the shallower runs and edges right now, so don’t limit yourself to just fishing the holes and deeper water. There’s fish everywhere right now, so make sure to capitalize on everything and slowly work your way through all the water. Oftentimes the rises are quite subtle, so if you’re in a likely looking run make sure and look for a few minutes before you jump in! Nymphing has been good as always through town. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Boat Anchor Scuds, and various jig flies trailed by your favorite flavor of midge pattern have been getting it done! Smaller streamers can produce well in town also. Lil Kims, Kreelexes, and various bugger patterns have been moving some of the bigger fish through town.
Spearfish Creek has been fishing rather well. Nymphing has been the primary method of attack, both in the canyon and in town. Jig flies have been the name of the game up here most of the year. I usually do a 14-16 jig/jig combo because of the additional weight. Sweet Pea jigs, jig Assassins, Hare’s Ears, and the always good jig Pheasant Tail have all been catching fish. If you run into some pickier fish in the slower holes, I’ve been doing well with a root beer midge dropper fly, but adjust accordingly. Various colors of Zebra Midge will work well. There’s opportunity for a BWO hatch in the canyon also, so be prepared for that if you head up there. CDC Thorax Duns and Smoke Jumpers have been working well in sizes 16-20 depending how picky the fish are. There’s a lot of spawning browns throughout Spearfish, so be mindful of fish that are on the redds in shallower water. There’s plenty of other fish to fish for right now, so let the spawning fish be.
Castle Creek below the dam has been fishing great, with fish both on the surface and below. I’d stick with a dry dropper rig and you’ll catch fish on both flies. Hippie Stompers, Stimulators, bigger Parachute Adams and BWO’s make good lead flies – just make sure you’re using an appropriately sized dry to support your nymph without sinking it. Tung Teasers, Tungsten Psycho Nymphs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, Tungsten Zebra Midges, and various size 16 jigs make good dropper flies. There’s fish in about every bend, so make sure you fish everything!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, with some of the better opportunities for dry fly fishing. BWO’s are the name of the game as usual this time of year. Many of the same flies as elsewhere have been working fine – CDC Thorax Duns, Students, Smoke Jumpers, Parachute Adams, Sipper Midges, and Morgan’s Midges have been working well in size 16-20. The fish are generally fairly spooky, so stay as far back as you can and fish a longer leader than normal for a better presentation! These two creeks can have some fantastic dry fly fishing, and it’s often some of the best dry fly fishing we see throughout the hills all year.
Fishing has been great throughout the Black Hills, and the weather couldn’t be much nicer as we head into November. Swing by the shop and we can get you pointed in the right directions and set you up with a few flies that’ll get the job done!