This could be the best week of weather we see for the remainder of the year, so we suggest getting out and taking advantage of it with some time on the water! Fishing has been excellent throughout the Black Hills, and should continue to be great for the coming week.
Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing well, primarily with nymphs. Various weight flies for your lead pattern are good, trailed by a smaller tungsten jig in size 14-16. Fish a tungsten fly in size 12-14 for your first fly to get down, and trail a Slim Jim, Brush Hog, Assassin, Sweet Pea, or Skinny Jig for your second fly. The fish aren’t super selective, so if you’re not getting much action keep moving. If you’re getting it in front of fish, you’ll be getting bites. Try and fish some of the stuff a little off the trail as well and you’ll find some fish that aren’t as picky. You can get a few fish on the surface with smaller terrestrial patterns also, so don’t be afraid to try a Hippie Stomper or Klinkhamer in some of the skinnier water as well.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well and is at a good flow for this late in the year. PMDs and BWOs are the name of the game on the surface, and the fish have been up on them in good numbers on calm days. Standard flies have been working well – CDC Thorax Duns, Smoke Jumpers, Sparkle Duns, Comparaduns, Hackle Stackers, and Students are good bets. Match the size and color to the naturals and you’ll pick up a few. It’s not easy fishing by any means, but it’s fun. There’s often fish feeding on both bugs in the same run, so don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. The nymph fishing has been good as well, with smaller dropper flies picking up the majority of the fish. Zebra Midges, Two Bit Hookers, T Baetis, WD-40s, RS2s, and various other small, dark patterns have been working well. Fish them behind a heavy scud or worm as a weight fly to help get them down. Be mindful of spawning browns in the shallower water over the coming month as well – leave them be. It’s not worth it to stress a fish that is going to be making the future of the fishery just to get a hero shot. There are lots of other fish around that are feeding. Fish karma is good!
Rapid Creek through Rapid City has been fishing well also, and the fish have been pretty willing most days. Nymphing is going to be your best bet for numbers of fish, but there’s good dry fly fishing opportunities around as well. Jig flies trailed by various midge patterns are good bets. Slim Jims, Assassins, Peacock Jigs, and Jig Pheasant Tails are good choices for the lead fly. Zebra Midges and small Blue Winged Olive nymph patterns are good bets in size 16-20 as a dropper fly. There’s lots of fish that are looking up throughout the day as well, and you can do well prospecting with a Parachute Adams, Klinkhamer, or small Hippie Stomper as well. Fishing through town has been excellent, and shouldn’t change anytime soon!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing great in the canyon and in town. The only issue you might have this time of year is running into stretches of river that have quite a few leaves in the water. Either find runs where the leaves get pushed away from the fish, or drive to a different stretch. There’s no shortage of good fishing, just be willing to move if you run into a lot of leaves. Nymphing has been the best bet if you want to catch the most fish, but there’s good surface activity as well. For nymphs, the same stuff as the past month has been working great. There’s lots of fish that are willing to eat flies in the 12-16 range, so if you’re not fishing in the really slow water you can get away with larger flies. Slim Jims, Assassins, Brush Hogs, Optic Nerves, Hare’s Ears, and various other jig patterns are all working well. Fish a size 16 Assassin, Peacock Jig, or Skinny Jig as a dropper in the faster water. If you’re fishing the slow, deep holes try a Zebra Midge, Two Bit Hooker, or Serendipity as a dropper pattern in 18-20. The fishing on Spearfish creek both in the canyon and in town has been excellent!
Castle Creek above Deerfield spiked in flows today from the snow and warm weather, so I’d stay below the dam for the next few days. Other than that, it’s the same story as last week. I’d get up there and fish over the next few weeks before the snow starts (hopefully) piling up in the higher elevations. Dry Dropper rigs will work well, with most of the fish coming on the nymph. Tung Teasers, Psychos, small jigs, Rainbow Warriors, and various other tungsten flies in size 16-18 will work well. You might see some fish on BWO’s as well – the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish Creek will work well. The fish aren’t going to be super picky, just cover some water and you’ll do well.
There’s great lake fishing to be had for big, easy rainbows right now on both Deerfield and Pactola. Fish either a smaller bugger-sized streamer on a floating or intermediate line, or a leech and a scud below an indicator. The fish are big, willing, and fun to catch. If you want easy fishing for 14-20″ fish, Pactola and Deerfield are where you want to be. Try and avoid the obvious areas where most folks would fish – docks, boat launches, etc. – and you’ll find fish that are much more willing as well.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing great, and with the warmer temperatures this week should get even better. D You can do well just prospecting with a single dry fly. Try an Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, or Klinkhamer in size 14-16 and fish in likely looking spots – the fish are pretty willing to come up, and you’ll be surprised how well you can do fishing dries even if there’s not rising fish. If you’re in a not weedy spot, generic jigs and tungsten flies in size 14-18 will work great.
Pike fishing is on! We’ve been doing well on pike locally, and most folks that have been in the shop are catching fish most trips out. There’s no magic answer to pike fishing with a fly rod other than being versatile – change your fly, change your line, cover more water. If you’re not moving fish, you’re not getting your fly in front of them or they’re totally dormant. Pike are curious, and like checking out flies. Type 3 lines are going to be the most useful right now, as well as the Sonar Int/3/5. Make sure you’re getting your fly in front of the fish and you’ll be rewarded! Pike fishing will stay solid through the month.
Solid fishing and great weather looks to be the forecast for this week – get out and take advantage of it before winter hits! Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest flies, intel, a map of where to go, or if you want to spend the day with one of our guides!