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October 22, 2019 5 min read
The upper elevations of the Black Hills got quite a bit of snow over the last couple days, but the fishing has still been excellent. The snow may create a bit of higher water over the next couple days, but the fishing should stay unaffected really. Get out and enjoy the fall before winter hits!
Rapid Creek above Pactola near Silver City is fishing well, primarily with nymphs. Bigger flies will work with the slightly stained water – Pat’s Rubber Legs, Jig Squirmy Worms, tungsten worms, and big jig flies in the 12-14 range will work well. Most of the fish are in the obvious places where you would expect them to be – i.e. larger holes and obvious seams will hold good numbers of fish. There’s a few fish on the smaller edges and undercut banks as well, and they’re easier to target with a streamer. Kreelexes, Lil Kims, and various wooly bugger style patterns will work great on a regular leader or light sink tip.
Pactola is fishing really well for big lake rainbows, and the same stuff as typical will work just fine. You can fish various leech and jig patterns under an indicator and catch lots of fish, or you can strip bugger patterns or leeches and cover a little more water and do well. Some folks have been getting some nice fish on Hippie Stompers and Chubby Chernobyls as well, so keep your options open. The fish are big and pretty willing, and the great fishing should continue until it freezes!
Rapid Creek below Pactola is high at 115, but is fishing reasonably well with nymphs. There’s a lot of small fish around which is great, but you have to weed through the little guys to get to the nicer fish. Pretty much the same old standard stuff has been working great – fish a big scud or worm as your lead fly with a Two Bit Hooker, Split Back Baetis, Flying Zebra, or Skinny Nelson as your dropper in size 18-20. The fishing is good all the way past Placerville, with certain stretches fishing better on any given day – move until you find the willing fish. Streamer fishing with the same flies as Silver City will work good as well, and will attract some of the larger fish. Covering water is the name of the game with streamer fishing the basin!
Rapid Creek in town is fishing fantastic, and is one of the best options around right now. The cranefly fishing is more or less over, but the fish have switched their attention to eating nymphs and are definitely eager! The flows are high for this time of year, and you’ll find a lot of fish in summer-type water until the flows drop. A wide variety of flies will work, with jig nymphs being some of the best options. Jig Hare’s Ears, Assassins, Optic Nerves, Pheasant Tails, Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, and Red Butts in size 12-16 are good flies. Change the size of your fly based on the depth/speed of the water more than anything else. If you’re running into pickier fish or fishing slower water, you may have to put a smaller dropper pattern on – Zebra Midges, Flying Zebras, and Split Back Baetis are good bets in size 18-20. You can get a few fish on various attractor dry flies still as well – Hippie Stompers and User Friendlies are good bets in size 14-16.
Spearfish Creek is fishing great both in the canyon and in town. The biggest things to worry about for the next couple weeks are the wind and leaves – if it’s pretty windy, it blows a lot of leaves into the water and the fish be pretty difficult to catch if that’s the case. That being said, you can find sections that have more pine trees/less trees overall even when it’s windy and do just fine. Slightly smaller flies have been working with the lower flows, but with the 24″ of snow at Cheyenne Crossing the flows will probably come up a bit today and tomorrow, which will let you fish slightly larger flies. Duracells, Sweet Peas, Peacock Jigs, Skinny Jigs, and Pheasant Tails are good lead flies. Drop a Flying Zebra, Split Back Baetis, Two Bit Hooker, or Green Weenie as a dropper in size 18-20, especially if you’re fishing the slower water. There are a few BWO’s around still, if you see fish on the surface that’s most likely what they’re eating. CDC Thorax Duns, Students, F Flies, and Sparkle Duns in 18-22 are good flies for rising fish.
Castle Creek has come down to a more fishable flow at 25 cfs, and is fishing well – they got 12″ of snow this weekend, but much of it should melt in the next day. As with most places, nymph fishing will produce the most fish. Small jig flies in the 14-16 range trailed by the same flies as Spearfish Creek will work great – focus pretty heavily on the midge droppers if you’re in the bigger holes. Fishing is good all the way from the parking area to the dam, so don’t be afraid to fish anything that looks good. There are a few Blue Winged Olives around still, so if you see fish rising try a Sparkle Dun, Brook’s Sprout, Comparadun, or CDC Thorax Dun in size 18-20.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are good right now, and the cooler weather means no snakes! Dry fly fishing can be fantastic this time of year, especially on cool/wet/overcast days. Like elsewhere, the BWO’s are the most common thing on the menu. F Flies and Students are hard to beat, but Sipper Midges and Comparaduns are good bets as well. Size 18-22 are your best bets. You can do very well fishing a small dropper below the dry if the fish aren’t committing to the surface either. If there’s not much in the way of surface activity, the same nymphs as Spearfish Creek will work great.
Spring Creek is fishing well, both on the trailhead and down by the bridges on Sheridan Lake Road. Nymph fishing is your best bet for catching numbers of fish. Good lead flies include Mop Flies, Rainbow Czechs, Tungsten Worms, and Pat’s Rubber Legs in size 10-14. Good dropper patterns include Skinny Jigs, Duracells, Flying Zebras, and Green Weenies in 16-18. The fish are in pretty predictable places, so fish where you think they should be. You can catch fish on attractor dry flies like Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and User Friendlies if they’re hanging close to the surface as well. Spring Creek is one of the better options around right now, and there’s a lot of reasonably easy fish.
Pike Fishing has been picking up around the area, and should be solid through mid November. Sinking lines and medium sized flies are the best bet most days, but adjust accordingly. Most of the fish are in the 6-12′ range, so a type 3 line will cover most places you’ll be fishing. Weededges and structure are going to hold the most and biggest fish, so focus your efforts there rather than flat, featureless water. Sheridan, Stockade, Pactola, Keyhole, and Tisdale have all been good bets.
Fishing has been solid more or less everywhere – fall is one of our favorite times to fish in the Black Hills! Swing by the shop for the latest flies and gear, or give us a call for up to date conditions.
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