After a cooler and rainier end to the week, we’re beginning to feel more like fall. With the overcast skies, the fish have been very willing to come up to the surface. We had a few great days of dry fly fishing last week, and I would look for that to continue! Overall, the fishing is still great and the flows are perfect, and there’s not very many people out there.
Rapid Creek flows got bumped to 130 cfs or so, which will put a bit of a damper on the dry fly activity. That being said, the nymphing will still be exceptional. The flows being higher will force you to use a couple tungsten flies or weight, but not a crazy amount. If you’re using an Easy Nymph Rig, you can use a large tungsten fly in a 10-12 and not have to use any other weight to get down. This is what we do, and it’s ridiculously successful – try it! I’d recommend a size 10-14 Tungsten Rainbow Czech, G-String Worm, or a Jig of some flavor for a lead fly with a smaller baetis or midge dropped behind it. You’ll be surprised how often the biggest fish of your day eats your large weight fly! In town is fishing very well right now as well, with many of the same flies. Jig Soft Spots, Pheasant Tails, and Assassins are all picking up lots of fish in town too. Don’t overlook streamers below Pactola or in town either – put on a Lil’ Kim or a Sparkle Minnow and go hunting for a big fall brown.
Spearfish Creek is the place to be right now. Fall BWO hatches, Midge hatches, and great nymphing all combine to make this an exceptional place to be fishing in the Black Hills right now! From about 12 or 1 until 5 there’s a good BWO hatch most days in the canyon, but there are the odd days where the bugs just don’t happen for one reason or another. So, be prepared for throwing some nymphs if the hatch doesn’t come off but also have a good selection of BWO dries for when it does! The fish have been pretty picky when they’re up on Blue Wings lately, so definitely have a few different patterns to cover both the emergers and duns. Hackle Stackers, Low Water Baetis, Comparaduns, Students, Smoke Jumpers, and Vis-A-Duns in a size 18-22 have all been good options. Fishing in Spearfish has been excellent as well! It’s mostly a nymphing game in town, but the fish have been pretty willing to eat fairly large flies in the 12-16 range. I’ve been doing very well on Jig Assassins and Red Butts, and I’ve had good luck putting a small cream or tan midge dropper off of it as well. It sounds silly to go right in town, but the fishing in Spearfish is great!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek have been fishing great! The midge and BWO hatch has been thick on both creeks. We fished Crow a couple days ago and really didn’t fish any nymphs for the most part – the fish were all looking up and eating midges pretty recklessly. While the fish weren’t terribly picky about the fly, they were picky about the presentation, so bring your A-game up here.
Spring Creek is still fishing well, but the flows are quite a bit lower than they were for most of the summer so the fish have become a bit pickier. Smaller jig patterns trailed by a midge or small PMD or BWO pattern will keep you into the fish! There’s a good Trico spinner fall in the mornings, and the fish will eat small attractor dries throughout the day if you’re more inclined to fish dry flies.
Pike fishing is going to get fired up again with the cooler nights! I would expect the fishing on Pactola to get really good in the next few days. This was some of our favorite fishing of the year this Spring, and we’re really looking forward to getting back after it this fall!
The fishing in the Black Hills is excellent right now, and there’s not many people out on the water right now! We have excellent flows and great hatches, and the fish are more than willing. Give us a call at the shop for up-to-the-minute fishing report, or to hire one of our experienced Black Hills Fly Fishing guides!