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Black Hills Fall Hatches

Ryan Gabert Black Hills Black Hills Fishing blue winged olive BWO Dakota Angler dry fly fishing Fly Fishing guide Rapid Creek spearfish creek Trout Uncategorized

With the lower flows, longer nights, and cooler temps, we’ve been starting to see quite a few Blue Winged Olives hatching over the past few weeks, and the fish have been up on them pretty consistently. This is some of the best dry fly fishing we see all year, and it brings some nice fish up to feed on the surface for several hours each day. The hatch will continue through mid-October typically, and lasts the majority of the afternoon. If you like semi-technical dry fly fishing, the next month and a half will be your time of year! Here’s a short video from our Instagram of some rising fish from late last week.

Fly patterns can vary widely, but it’s good to have a few different options so you can change flies if the fish decide to get picky. There’s a lot of good choices, but Students, Comparaduns, Sparkle Duns, F Flies, Brook’s Sprout Emergers, Para Sippers, and Hackle Stackers are pretty solid choices. Regular ol’ Adams work just fine a lot of days as well. Most of the adult insects run pretty small – size 18-22 range. Some days you can catch them on flies up to a size 14 though, so I typically start fairly large and work my way smaller as needed. You can do well with a small nymph or emerger as a dropper before the hatch as well – Two Bit Hookers, Barr’s Emergers, and Pheasant Tails are good choices.

When fishing with smaller dry flies, I prefer to use a softer leader with a long tippet section. If you’re nymph fishing with weight, a bobber, and two flies, you need to have a stiff leader that transfers a lot of power from the fly line to get your rig to turn over. Fishing with a single dry fly is a much different story – you want something that lays your fly down delicately and turns over smoothly. We really dig the Rio Suppleflex Leaders and Suppleflex Tippet. It’s made of a much more supple material, and allows you to present your flies to picky fish without spooking them. Try and use a tippet in the 2-3 foot range as well. It will pile up a bit when you cast, which allows you to get a longer drag free drift than if you had a short tippet. Especially in faster moving water, this can be the difference between getting a fishable drift or not.

We get asked about the difference between floatant and desiccant in the shop a lot, and when the appropriate time to use each is. Essentially, you need both. The gel floatants like High and Dry Gel or Loon Aquel are used to help keep your fly waterproof and floating, and you use them when your fly is dry. Essentially, you use gel floatant when you first tie your fly on. Once you catch a couple fish or your fly gets waterlogged, then you use the dry shake desiccant like High and Dry Desiccant or Shimazaki Dry Shake. The shake dries your fly out, so you can start fishing again with a high floating fly. You can put some more gel floatant on at this stage if you want, or just start fishing it!

Want a little more delicate rod for fishing dries than your standard 9′ 5 weight? We’re big fans of slightly slower rods for fishing dries, and they’re a lot of fun to fish. The new Redington Butter Stick is an awesome choice for a fiberglass rod that won’t break the bank. the 7′ 3 weight and 7’6″ 4 weight are both killer small stream dry fly rods. Pair with the RIO Creek Fly line for the ultimate in fun, small stream fishing versatility!

Get geared up for fall BWO hatches! It’s some of the most fun fishing of the year. If you’re in the area stop by the shop for the latest info and flies, give us a call to book a guided trip with the best guides in the Black Hills, or as usual, feel free to order online!



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