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July 23, 2019 4 min read
We’ve finally been getting some stable weather, and with stable and dropping streamflows the fishing has been excellent just about everywhere. Fishing has been pretty consistent throughout the Black Hills, and with some stable weather over the coming week everywhere should continue to fish great!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is still really high, but could be fishable within the next week if the weather stays dry and Rapid Creek continues to drop. Big worms, jigs, and buggers fished under an indicator should get the job done once it drops into the 200-250cfs range.
Below Pactola is nearly 525 cfs, which is super high. You can find a few fish with big worms and mop flies, but it’s really difficult. We would recommend fishing elsewhere until it comes down into the 350 cfs range or less.
Rapid Creek in town is pretty much the same story as below the dam – it’s fishable but it’s really high. Worms, Mop Flies, and big jig flies fished on the edges are going to be your best bet. Fish on the edges where the flooded grass drops into the original streambed and anywhere where it’s slow by the bank and you’ll find a few. The fish in town are super fat and healthy right now – the fishing when the water comes down is going to be lights out.
Spearfish Creek is flowing at 80cfs and is fishing excellent, both in the canyon and in town. Dry-dropper rigs are our go to rigs right now, but you can fish nymphs and do well also. Fat Franks, User Friendlys, Klinkhamers, Morrish Hoppers, and Bloom’s Parachute Ants are all good dry flies. Size 10-12 is pretty standard, but you can fish a little larger or smaller depending on the conditions. The water has cleared up considerably, and smaller nymph patterns have been the most productive. Perdigons, Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, Sweet Peas, Assassins, Rainbow Warriors, and various other thin bodied flies are good bets. There’s a lot of fish that are pushed up close to the banks, so don’t hesitate to fish much closer than you think. There’s a ton of fish in the riffles next to overhanging grass as well, and they’re suckers for terrestrials. The upper canyon has been fishing really well also – don’t overlook the water from Elmore upstream. Hanna Creek and Spearfish along Highway 85 have been fishing great as well.
Castle Creek above Deerfield is fishing well. Terrestrials should get the job done in most places – beetles, ants, and hoppers will all work well. Klinkhamers, Hippie Stompers, User Friendlys, and Parachute Hoppers are all good bets. The walk in area will fish great. Take a 3 weight and and have some fun! Below Deerfield is pretty high still, but is fishing well if you can find the slower water and inside bends. Nymph fishing will be your best bet below the lake. Fish a big jig fly with a smaller jig or midge trailer and you’ll find them. Anywhere the water is soft will be excellent. The fishing will continue to get better as the water flows come down, and the terrestrial/dry fly fishing should be fantastic when it comes down into the 25cfs range.
Spring Creek below Sheridan lake is fishing well, but be mindful of the water temperatures. A lot of days the water is nearly 70 degrees in the afternoon, which is hot enough that you’re killing fish. Even if they release fine, many times they won’t make it long when the water temps are that hot. Fish early in the morning and be done by noon if the temps are high. Nymph fishing is the best bet, with a wide variety of stuff working well. Brush Hogs, Red Butts, Worms, Stoneflies, and various jig patterns in size 12-16 are good bets to try.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are both fishing well, and they’re two of the best terrestrial streams around. Hi Viz Beetles, User Friendlys, Parachute Ants, Fat Franks, and various hopper patterns will all work well. There’s caddis on Sand Creek in the evenings as well – Bloom’s Parachute Caddis is a fantastic fly. Generic dropper patterns in size 14-18 will work well if you can’t get them on the top, but you shouldn’t have an issue getting fish to come up.
Small streams are fishing great as well – Box Elder, French, upper Whitewood, and various other small streams are fishing great. Put a small hopper on for your lead fly and whatever your favorite jig nymph is below it and get to work. The fish aren’t picky, but can be spooky at times – this is some of our favorite fishing of the year, and many streams that haven’t really been fishable for awhile are fishing great.
With the exception of Rapid Creek, the fishing has been great. Rapid Creek will be lights out as soon as the water comes down, and the fish are going to be big and healthy. Give us a call for up to date conditions, or if you’d like to book a day with one of our guides – we have the most experienced team of guides in the Black Hills. If you’re looking to learn how to fly fish or just get started fishing the Black Hills, there’s no better way than a Black Hills guided trip with one of our guides! Give us a call at the shop to book your trip, or if you have any other questions about fishing in the Black Hills.
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