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Black Hills Fishing Report – 10/1/2019

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We’ve got some wintry weather coming over the next 24 hours, but the fishing has been solid and the weather this coming weekend looks excellent. Flows have come up a bit on a few local streams, which will get some fish moving around a bit as well. The fishing this fall has been the best we’ve seen in awhile, and should continue to be fantastic!

Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing well, and is flowing right around 100 cfs – which is a perfect flow. From Silver City up the trailhead quite a distance has been fishing well, and there’s some nice rainbows mixed in with the resident browns. Nymph fishing will get the most action. Tungsten Worms, Jig Pheasant Tails,  Hare’s Ears, Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Purple Princes, and Brush Hogs are good flies in size 10-16. Vary the size of your flies based more on water depth/speed than anything else. There’s fish in a wide variety of water types, so slow down and fish everything and you’ll be rewarded. Streamer fishing has been good as well, with some nice fish being willing to chase. Lil Kims, Home Invaders, Kreelexes, and various small articulated patterns have been working well.
You can get away with a leader in most spots, but you might want to have a light sink tip in some of the deeper/faster water to help keep you down where the fish are.

Pactola is fishing fantastic for big lake rainbows – if you want some big, relatively easy fish, it’s definitely one of the better options around. Pretty much any bay or point will have fish – the boat launches are good places to start, but get the most pressure. Look around a few different areas to find fish that aren’t as pressured. If you can get out in a boat or float tube you can find some unpressured fish pretty easily as well. Fishing leeches and jig nymphs under an indicator works really well. Balanced Leeches and Mini Leeches are good lead flies, with Soft Spots, Assassins, Pheasant Tails, and Yellow Spots being good droppers. Most fish are between 4-6 feet deep, but adjust accordingly. Smaller streamers are good bets as well, especially on more overcast days.

Rapid Creek below Pactola just spiked to 130 cfs, most likely in preparation of any moisture we get over the next couple days. Fishing has been good to great depending on the day, it can be a bit erratic. Nymph fishing will get the most attention. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Boat Anchor Scuds, Squirmy Worms, and big Soft Spots are good lead flies. There’s good numbers of baetis nymphs and midges around, so focus mostly on those as droppers. Standard Pheasant Tails, Two Bits, Split Back Baetis, Skinny Nelsons, and Skinny Jigs are good flies in 16-20. There’s a lot of smaller fish around which will keep you occupied most of the day, but there’s still some big fish around as well. It’s a nice change to see some higher flows and smaller fish around! There’s a few BWOs hatching, but with the higher flows you’ll see less fish up on them. If you run into some rising fish, try a CDC Thorax Dun, Brook’s Sprout Emerger, Sparkle Dun, or F Fly in 16-20. The nice fish are picky, but be persistent and you’ll get a few.

Rapid Creek in town is fantastic right now – this has been one of the best seasons we’ve seen since the water came down this summer, and it should continue to be excellent throughout the fall and winter. The cranefly fishing is still solid, and with the warmer weather this weekend it should continue into next week. Fulling Mill Craneflies and Gypsy Kings should be about all you need – skitter them or dead drift them, the fish seem to like it either way. A lot of the nicest fish are tucked into little nooks and crannies along the banks, so don’t be afraid to fish slow and make a cast to anything that looks like a possibility. Nymph fishing has been great in town as well, especially on windier days when there aren’t as many craneflies around. Various jig patterns have been working great – Assassins, Soft Spots, Brush Hogs, Optic Nerves, Pheasant Tails, and Purple Princes with a Zebra Midge trailer will work well. Streamer fishing has been great in town as well. Dungeons, Urchins, Lil’ Kims, Dirty Hippies, and Doc’s Articulator are good bets fished on a light sink tip.

Spearfish Creek has been good, primarily with nymphs but there’s been some dry fly opportunities as well. Nymph fishing with the standard fare has been working great – Skinny Jigs, Sweet Peas, Tung Teasers, Peacock Jigs, Assassins, Optic Nerves, and various others in size 14-16 are good lead flies. There’s a lot of baetis around right now, so fish a Two Bit, Split Back, or Skinny Nelson as a dropper in size 16-20. The slower the water you’re in, the smaller your flies should be. You can get away with flies in the 12-14 range if you’re fishing the fast water, but if you’re in the big slow pools you’ll need to have droppers in the 18-20 range, as well as lighter tippet in the 6x range. Don’t let the fast water scare you off – the majority of Spearfish Creek is fast pocket water, and if you limit yourself only to the holes you’ll be missing most of the fish. There are some BWOs hatching in the canyon as well – CDC Throax Duns, Students, and Sparkle Duns in 16-18 will work well if you run into rising fish. The fish in town will still eat some smaller terrestrials still as well – Hi Viz Beetles, Bloom’s Ants, Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and User Friendlies are good bets. Fish by the bank!

Not much change for Castle Creek from last week – below Deerfield is fishing well, with many of the same flies as Spearfish Creek. As per usual, the corners and choppier water will fish the best and the fish will be pretty squirrely in the slower water. There’s a solid fall Blue Winged Olive hatch here as well, so with the damp weather next week there should be a lot of fish on the surface. The brookies are really pretty this time of year, and there’s been some surprisingly large browns around as well.

Deerfield lake is fishing excellent for big rainbows as well, primarily on the inlet half of the lake. Grinches and Olive Wooly Buggers stripped slowly are good bets, as well as fishing a Balanced Leech, Jig Prince, Mini Leech, or Soft Spot under an indicator. If it’s windy, you can do really well fishing under a bobber – it gives your flies just enough movement to be enticing.

Crow Creek and Sand Creek will be some of the better dry fly options, primarily with Blue Winged Olives. The damp weather over the next couple days will be particularly conducive to these bugs hatching, so if you have some free time give it a try. Brook’s Sprout, Sipper Midges, Sparkle Duns, Purple Hazes, Students, and F Flies are all good options. The fish aren’t super particular, but spooky. Fish a long tippet so you get some slack on the first part of your drift and don’t lead the fish by far.

Spring Creek is fishing well – the trailhead is still closed, but the rest of the creek all the way down to Storm Mountain is fishing great. Nymph fishing with standard Black Hills flies has been working just fine – Jig Hare’s Ears, Party Crashers, Optic Nerves, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and Brush Hogs are good flies in 12-16. Fish a Skinny Jig or Zebra Midge dropper to pick up some extra fish.

Not much change in the way of Pike fishing over the past week – the fishing has been solid on Pactola and Sheridan, and the cooler weather for a few days should really get the fishing ramped up. The bulk of the fish are in 4-10 feet of water – a Sonar Int/3/5 is about the perfect weight of sinking line to get your flies in front of them and still be able to move them pretty quickly. Smaller flies in the 5-7″ range will move the most fish, but don’t be afraid to try some big stuff if you really want to up your odds for a 40+ fish. Fishing should continue to get better through the month as well!

Fishing has been great nearly everywhere – this is one of the best fall seasons we’ve ever had. Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest updates!



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