We’ve had a full spectrum of weather conditions lately, but the fishing continues to be great! We’ve all been guiding a lot over the past few weeks, and we’ve had a lot of people catching a lot of fish. This is the time of year where you can fish a lot of different techniques – we’ve been catching fish on terrestrials, dries, and nymphs, and there’s some streamer opportunities as well. It’s a great time to be fishing in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek has been fishing well above Pactola, but has been a bit tougher as the water lowers and clears. Dry/dropper techniques are going to be your best bet. Klinkhamers, Parachute Hoppers, Hippie Stompers, and Stimulators will make good dry flies, trailed by a small jig fly or a Tung Teaser, Tungsten Psycho, or Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail. Be stealthy and you’ll do well. Below Pactola has been fishing well, but the fish are their normal, picky selves. If you’re nymphing, BWO and PMD nymphs are going to be solid dropper patterns. Split Case PMDs and BWOs are some of our favorite patterns that always seem to produce well in a size 16-22. Various midge larvae patterns are good as well, especially trailed behind a scud pattern like a Hunchback Scud or a Tungsten Rainbow Czech. There’s been a few sporadic hatches of BWOs and Yellow Sallies, but nothing consistent. Terrestrial patterns are a better bet to bring fish to the surface. Hi Viz Beetles, various cricket/hopper patterns, and Hippie Stompers are solid bets, especially for covering water. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing fantastic! We’ve had some of our best days lately in town. If you want to cover water, the Hippie Stomper/dropper setup has been a killer for us lately. The color of the dry doesn’t really seem to make much difference honestly, so fish whatever color you dig the most. For droppers, size 16 jigs and Tungsten Psycho Nymphs and Tung Teasers are solid. Don’t overlook the skinny water as well, there’s a lot of fish in the sub-2′ deep stuff. If you want to nymph the deeper water, use the same patterns trailed by a smaller midge. There’s been a good caddis hatch most evenings in town as well, mostly from 7:30 to dark. Parachute Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, and small Stimulators are good bets. Don’t be afraid to skitter them!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing very well, both in the canyon and in town. It’s mostly been a nymphing game, but it’s been solid fishing. Jig Assassins, Peacock Jigs, Pheasant Tails, and Sweet Peas are good lead flies in a 12-14, trailed by a smaller jig or a midge. As usual with Spearfish, there’s a ton of fish in the in between water that’s 1-2 feet deep! Hippie Stompers can produce some nice fish as well, especially if you fish all of the little edges and seams that get overlooked frequently. If you’re in the canyon, there can be some good fish up on caddis in the evenings as well – the same patterns as Rapid Creek will get the job done.
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been fishing really well! The water is a bit on the low side, but there’s a lot of fish that are willing to come up to the surface. Small Stimulators and Elk Hair Caddis are great searching patterns if you’re more inclined to fish dry flies. As with nearly everywhere else, the Hippie Stomper with a smaller tungsten dropper fly in the 16-18 range will give you the best of both worlds. Smaller terrestrial patterns fished close to the bank will move some nice fish as well!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, and are into the heat of terrestrial season. Since they’re both pretty weedy right now, the best bet is going to be dry fly fishing. The fish up there are pretty willing to come up to the surface though, especially this time of year. Smaller terrestrials are going to be better bets now, with larger hopper type patterns working increasingly well throughout the summer. Bloom’s Parachute Ant, Hi Viz Beetles, Hippie Stompers, and smaller size 12-14 hopper patterns will move a good number of fish!
Overall, the fishing throughout the Black Hills has been great! We’ve had some fantastic days with our guide clients over the past couple weeks, and the fishing is going to stay solid. If you want to go out with the most experienced team of Black Hills fly fishing guides, give us a call at the shop at 605-341-2450! Feel free to swing by the shop to get the right flies and a map on where you should head to as well.