Here we are in November already! The season has flown by, and it’s been a great one. Fly Fishing in the Black Hills of South Dakota is pretty quiet right now for the most part. Everyone’s out chasing pheasants or deer it seems like, so you can have your choice of water and have it all to yourself on most days. The fishing in the Black Hills is great right now – get a few casts in before the weather turns!
Rapid Creek is flowing at 40 cfs coming out of Pactola and it’s coming in around 80 cfs. If I had to pick one place to be fishing in the Black Hills right now, it would be throwing big streamers on Rapid Creek either above or below Pactola. This is the time of year that there’s an incredible number of really big browns around, and catching them on big, nasty articulated streamers really gets us going! The flows right now won’t require much of a sink tip, if any, so we rely on heavier flies to get down rather than our normal sink tip approach. Don’t be afraid to go big with your flies – a 25″ brown has no problem eating 6″ worth of streamer at all. Nymphing and dry fly fishing is pretty standard stuff for this time of year, and there’s been a good BWO hatch in the afternoons, especially through town. There’s a catch though – the Blue Wings are tiny, size 22-24. The saving grace is that the fish in town aren’t terribly picky, so you can catch most of them on a size 20 without any issues. Please be cautious of the spawning brown trout and their redds right now, and don’t walk on the light colored gravel in the shallow water – you’ll be ensuring the future of wild browns by being cautious!
Spearfish Creek is at a wonderful flow right now for this late in the year, and the fishing is great! Standard nymphing techniques are going to be the most productive tactic. Size 14-16 jig patterns with a small BWO or cream midge dropper has been getting the job done for most folks. Streamer fishing is a seldom-practiced technique on Spearfish Creek, but it’s a great way to seek out some of the biggest fish in the system. Tone your streamers down just a bit to a size 4-6 rather than the larger patterns we use on Rapid Creek and you’ll be amazed at how many chases, looks, and follows you get! There’s a BWO hatch here as well, but it’s sporadic. I’d have a few small Comparaduns or Sparkle Duns if I was heading up just to be sure, but nymphing and streamer fishing will keep you busy when the fish aren’t rising.
Castle and Ditch Creeks are fishing well also, and the brook trout have their fall colors in full swing! The brookies look great this time of year, and they’re more than willing to eat a variety of presentations. Nymphing with small-ish flies in the 14-18 range usually keeps these fish interested, and they really seem to like pink. Tungsten UV Czechs and jig Soft Spots are a couple of my favorites. Dry-Droppers are fine for most all of the water here, but bring a couple indicators and heavier flies if you run into a deeper stretch that just has to be nymphed!
Sand and Crow Creeks are fishing good, and are your best bets for reliable dry fly action. The BWO’s usually come off pretty reliably on these streams because of the consistent water temps, and the fish always take notice. Small flies are the rule for this time of year, with a variety of Baetis patterns in 18-22 getting it done. Stop by and we can show you some of our favorites!
Fishing in the Black Hills is great right now, and there’s virtually no pressure. This is a great time of year to catch a big brown on a streamer, and it’s our favorite way to fish in the fall! As always, we have guides available and someone at the shop that’s always happy to show you some flies and point you in the right direction!