We’ve been beginning to feel fall coming with the cool mornings over the past week, and the fishing has been spectacular! September is traditionally a great dry fly fishing month, and this year is looking to be no exception. Spearfish Canyon and Rapid Creek are already seeing great BWO hatches which should continue well into October. Cooler weather, good hatches, and eager fish are going to make this fall an awesome time to be fly fishing in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek is currently flowing around 100 cfs below Pactola, which is a great flow for this late into the year. There’s a solid BWO hatch right now that should get better by the day – fish a Smith’s BWO Emerger, Student, Comparadun, Smoke Jumper, or a baby Klinkhamer for best results. The fish are also still eating terrestrials, so don’t be afraid to tie on a hopper or beetle in the warmer parts of the day. Nymphing will also produce plenty of fish as well – UV Czechs, Neon Gnats, and various jig flies make a good lead fly. Drop a Pseudo Baetis, T-Ready Baetis, or a Split Black PMD or BWO below it and you’ll stay into the fish all day. Rapid Creek through town is fishing very, very well right now! It’s great to see the creek through town fishing so well again, and there’s a nice variety of fish in all different sizes. If you’re more of a dry fly person, throw a smaller beetle or ant pattern tight to the bank and you’ll do just fine. Nymphing is great also, with a variety of jig flies being your best option – I’d have some Jig Assassins, Jig PT’s, Jig Red Butts, and Jig Baetis patterns. In town is jig-city right now; I wouldn’t be without a few. Dropper flies aren’t a bad idea either if you’re so inclined. Try a green weenie, T-Baetis, or an annelid below for added seductiveness.
Spearfish Canyon and in town are both spectacular right now. In the canyon, there’s a great Blue Winged Olive hatch that keeps a ton of fish on the surface until 5:30 or 6:00. You could realistically go fish the canyon and not tie on a nymph all day if you were so inclined. Small BWO dries will be trout candy – I’d fish a Student, Smith’s BWO Emerger, or a Hackle Stacker BWO. Nymphing has been lights-out both in town and in the Canyon, and the fish have been eating big flies. We did best yesterday on size 12 jigs trailed by a size 14 jig, which is not exactly the traditional method of fishing Spearfish. Terrestrials are fishing well also, but keep them on the small side and cast towards the banks. Size 10-14 hoppers and beetles will get the job done. Spearfish is amazing right now – don’t overlook it!
The story is pretty much the same with all the other creeks around the Hills. Castle, Spring, Box Elder, Crow, Sand, and numerous others are all fishing very well with a variety of techniques. You can pick your poison and be successful just about anywhere right now!
This fall is already fishing great, and will continue to be throughout the month and through October! We have great water flows right now, and the weather couldn’t be any better. Cool mornings, rising fish, and few people around all combine to make this one of the best times to be in the Black Hills fishing!