Flows are down, and fishing is great. Nearly everywhere in the Black Hills is fishable right now, and the flows should be continuing to drop on the few places that are still on the high side. There’s great trout fishing opportunities throughout the Black Hills right now, as well as some solid warmwater fishing to be had both in the hills and on the prairie east of Rapid City. Late summer is one of our favorite times of the year!
Rapid Creek at Silver City is hovering around 200 cfs, which is a little bit on the high side still. You can catch some fish with big nymphs and fishing streamers, but as it comes down into the 150 cfs range or less the fishing will improve. Mop Flies, Rubber Legs, and various smaller bugger and streamer patterns will move some nice fish. The fishing on the trailhead should be excellent by next week!
Rapid Creek below Pactola is 170 cfs, which is higher than average but a very fishable flow. Nymph fishing will be the best producer, but as the flows continue to drop terrestrial and dry fly fishing will pick up a bit. For nymphs, you’ll still want to be fishing something big and heavy for your lead fly to help get down without the use of a lot of additional weight. Pat’s Rubber Legs, Boat Anchor Scuds, Mop Flies, Tungsten Worms, and various large jig flies will have enough weight to help get you down to where the fish are. This is typically a great time of year to fish PMD nymphs, and flies like Barr’s Emergers and Split Back PMDs in size 14-18 are good dropper patterns if the fish are keyed in on them. Otherwise, various midge and baetis patterns will work well. Two Bit Hookers, Juju Baetis, Pheasant Tails, and Skinny jigs are good dropper patterns as well. Streamer fishing can be decent to great depending on the day – mix it up with fly size and color to see if you can figure out what trips their trigger on any given day. Sink tip lines or Versileaders to help keep your flies down are definitely an advantage right now.
Rapid Creek in town is finally fishable and fishing well! The fish are fat and happy, and seem to be running quite a bit larger than most years – the high water all summer has pumped a lot of food into the creek. Larger lead flies are helpful in getting down to where the fish are – Rubber Legs and size 12 jigs are good bets, as well as various colors of mop flies. For droppers, try a Purple Pheasant Tail Jig, Duracell, Yellow Spot, Peacock Jig, or Optic Nerve in size 14-16. The fish are in pretty predictable water – the flows are still fairly high, so focus anywhere the water is slower near the banks or where the current is broken. Walking speed current is about perfect. It’s nice to be able to fish in town again!
Spearfish Creek is at a normal flow of around 75 cfs, and is fishing well. The fish in the canyon can get slightly pickier in August, so don’t be afraid to downsize your droppers a bit from the normal 14-16. Smaller midge patterns and baetis patterns are working well. Two Bits, T Baetis, Green Weenies, and a number of other slender bodied nymphs will work well. Various colors of Zebra midges are always good bets. Trail them behind a Peacock Jig, Sweet Pea, Assassin, Optic Nerve, or Duracell. Terrestrial fishing has been picking up on Spearfish, especially in town. Smaller Hippie Stompers and hoppers will work well, but they’ve really had a sweet tooth for ants lately. Bionic Ants and Bloom’s Parachute Ants are solid bets in size 12-16.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is fishing excellent with the lower flows. Dry fly and terrestrial fishing has really picked up, and should continue to be solid throughout the month and into September. Craneflies, Hoppers, Beetles, and Ants are all good bets. Pick whatever your favorite terrestrial is and give it a try. Various jig droppers are good bets – Party Crashers, Peacock Jigs, Duracells, Prince Nymphs, and Skinny Jigs are good dropper patterns. The fish aren’t super picky, and it’s a fun creek to fish in the late summer! Fishing is solid from the dam down to Castle Peak Campground.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek haven’t changed much since the last report – good terrestrial fishing, and good nymph fishing if you can find water that isn’t super weedy. Smaller hoppers are good bets, as well as beetles and ants. Fishing is solid!
Warmwater fishing for bass in the hills and on the prairie is great as well. Poppers and Gurglers fish well early and late, and Grim Reapers and Jiggy Worms are good bets during the day. Sinking lines are your friend if you’re fishing water over about 6 feet deep. Fish the sinking flies slowly!
Fishing is excellent throughout the area, and will continue to be great as the flows recede on Rapid Creek. Give us a call or swing by for the latest conditions or if you want to book a day with one of our guides!