Flows in the Black Hills are the best we’ve seen in months, and the fishing has been darn good as well! All of the creeks in the central and northern hills are in great shape. We’ve had a chance to fish water that has been essentially unfishable for a couple months, and the fish more than willing to eat.
Rapid Creek has been darn good from Pactola all the way down to Rapid City. The flows coming out of the dam are 144 cfs, which is just a bit higher than average flows – I prefer them a little high myself, so this is perfect. In the catch and release area from the dam to Placerville, there are loads of fish in the 10-14″ range as well as a good number of 20-plus inch fish! The smaller fish have been very willing to eat, and it’s a nice change of pace to be catching fish most all of the day with a few big fish here and there. The PMD hatch has been good in the evenings below the dam as well, so come prepared with some small Comparaduns or CDC patterns in a size 18-20 if you’re headed that way. Nymphing has been business as always. My best rig has been a UV Czech or Neon Gnat for a lead fly, with a Tungsten Split Back PMD or BWO as a dropper in size 20. Experiment with droppers until you catch fish – every day is different below the dam, but the fish always have their kryptonite for any particular day! In town has been good as well, and there’s been folks talking about Tricos early in the mornings, which would be par for the course for August. From Cleghorn all the way down to 5th Street has been fishing consistently well. Small terrestrials will pick up some fish fished tight to the bank, as well as throwing streamers. Nymphing is going to be how to bring home the bacon, so if slingin’ bobbers doesn’t bother you you’ll catch a ton of fish. UV Czechs, Jig Yellow Spots, G-Strings, and a variety of other jig patterns will all make great lead flies. Drop a Purple Zebra Midge or Green Weenie off the back for added seductiveness and a few bonus fish!
Spearfish Creek is fishing well also, and the flows are hovering right around 100 cfs depending on the day. Hopper fishing has been pretty darn good, especially in town – lots of people heading to Spearfish are spending some extra time in the hopper bin at the shop. I’d drop a Jig Yellow Spot or a Red Fox Squirrel off the back if I was going to toss terrestrials in town. In town fish in Spearfish have a sweet tooth for ants and beetles as well, so if they get fussy throw on some 5x and a smaller terrestrial. The canyon has been fishing great as well, but the fish are making us use a little more slender fly than we’ve been used to with the higher water earlier this year – very sparse jig patterns in browns and olives have been doing the trick. Lots of people have been fishing terrestrials in the tributaries and the upper canyon as well, so I’d have a few hoppers of the Chubby Chernobyl or Morrish variety if I was heading there. The fishing has been really, really good in the canyon and will continue to stay that way!
Box Elder creek has come down enough to become fishable throughout it’s entirety, and it’s fishing well. The upper stretches from Nemo up to the Novak area have been the best for me, and the fish haven’t been picky. A Chubby Chernobyl with a size 14 dropper of some variety should keep you into the fish all day! If you want to just fish the dry, I’d try something a little smaller like a Klinkhamer or a Parachute Ant. Not many people fishing up here at all, and there’s no shortage of fish. If you like smaller streams and dry flies, this is a great option!
Crow and Sand Creeks are both fishing great with terrestrials right now. Morrish Hoppers, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Ants, and Fat Head Beetles will keep the fish intrigued. If you’re heading up to either of these creeks, keep your eyes peeled for snakes – a guy was in the shop the other day that got bit by a rattler, but thankfully it hit the stretched part of his waders and missed his leg.
Spring Creek has a lot of fish in it right now, and is a great place to take beginners. The fish aren’t selective by any means whatsoever, and will eat a variety of flies as long as your drift is good. Jig Soft Spots and G Strings have been keeping the fish interested all day.
That’s a wrap! If you have any other questions about Black Hills fly fishing or have any questions on where to go, stop by the shop or give us a call – We’ve always got someone available to talk fishing!