We’ve had some fantastic weather for late October so far, and the fishing has been equally as great! There’s lots of great fly fishing opportunities right now throughout the Black Hills, from Brookies to Pike to Rainbows. Get out and have at it while the weather holds!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is a little off colored still, but fishing well with larger nymphs and streamers. Lil’ Kims, Thin Mints, Mini Dungeons, and various other medium sized streamers will work well on a light Rio Versileader for a sink tip. Good nymphs include North Fork Specials, Brush Hogs, Tungsten Worms, Hare’s Ears, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, and Jig Pheasant Tails in size 12-16. There’s a lot of fish from the trailhead all the way up to Kelly Gulch, so don’t be afraid to hike a little further than you normally would – the fish that don’t see many flies are fish that aren’t nearly as picky.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well, with both nymphs and dries. There’s BWO’s hatching most afternoons, and they’ve pretty much taken the place of the PMDs. Sparkle Duns, F Flies, Hackle Stackers, Students, Comparaduns, and various parachute style patterns will work well in size 18-22. The bugs are small, and the fish are picky. Fish a long, light tippet and you’ll trick a few. Don’t be afraid to change flies as well – if you run it over them a half dozen times with no reaction, it’s most likely because they don’t dig your fly. Nymph fishing is good also, with mostly the same stuff as the past few weeks. Use a Boat Anchor Scud or Tungsten Rainbow Czech as your lead fly in size 10-14. Trail a Zebra Midge, Two Bit Hooker, Jujubaetis, Bling Midge, Split Back BWO, or a variety of other small, skinny nymphs as a dropper in size 16-22. The fish are pretty picky, but if you’re diligent with changing your depth, weight, and flies you’ll find some nice fish.
Rapid Creek in town has been fishing great! Nymphing is the most productive if you want numbers, but there’s good dry fly fishing opportunities as well. If you’re nymph fishing, various jig flies trailed by midges have been working great. Jig Hare’s Ears, Slim Jims, Brush Hogs, and Pheasant Tails are good lead flies in 14-16. Midges of various colors are good bets for the dropper fly, but purple, black, and tan have been working well in size 18-20. The fish are starting to move into more winter-type spots, but there’s still a lot of fish in the riffles as well. There’s small BWOs hatching most days as well, but the fish have seemed to be willing to eat slightly larger flies in the 16-18 range even though the bugs are really small. Purple Hazes, Sparkle Duns, Students, and F Flies are good choices if you see some fish on the surface.
Spearfish Creek has been solid, both in the canyon and in town. Not a lot different in the way of flies. Jig flies trailed by smaller droppers are going to be the moneymaker up there for the next several months. Jig Assassins, Optic Nerves, Slim Jims, Hare’s Ears, and Party Crashers in 12-14 are good lead flies to help get down in the faster water. Good dropper flies are Zebra Midges, Skinny Jigs, RS2s, Serendipities, and Two Bit Hookers. As usual, don’t hesitate to fish some of the faster edges and riffly water. There’s still some fish that will eat BWOs in the afternoons as well – the same flies as Rapid Creek will work well. Depending on when the weather turns, you may have a limited window to get up in the canyon without freezing guides and/or snowshoes so get up there while the weather holds!
Castle Creek is fishing good, with the same story as last week. 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.
Here’s a shameless cut and paste from last week, but it’s still great fishing on both Deerfield and Pactola! 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 good, and the weeds are receding. The fish are a bit pickier on Sand Creek than they have been, but still more than catchable. 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 has been great, and will be solid until the lakes get icy. Big flies on heavy sinking lines will be the best bet – get out and give it a try while the gettin’ is good! Come by the shop for the latest flies, leaders, and sinking lines.
Fishing has been solid, and the weather has been equally excellent over the past week. Swing by the shop for all your Black Hills fly fishing needs, or give us a call if you’d like to go out with one of our guides!