Fishing is solid throughout the Black Hills, and now that we’re past the 100 degree days the fishing will continue to be excellent! We’ve been out fishing with folks quite a bit over the past week or two, and have had some great days. There’s a nice mix of dry fly and nymph fishing right now, and we should continue to see the dry fly fishing get better as we move into September.
Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing well from Silver City to the confluence with Castle Creek. Dry-dropper rigs will work well in most of the water, but put on two nymphs and a bobber if you want to fish the larger holes. Hippie Stompers, Morrish Hoppers, and various other terrestrial patterns will work well and get quite a bit of attention. Good droppers include Slim Jims, Peacock Jigs, Tung Teasers, tungsten worms, Rainbow Czechs, and Jig Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ears. The fish aren’t super selective, so cover some water and you should have no problem finding the fish! Rapid Creek below Pactola is still 110 cfs, which is a great flow for this late in the year. The fish are keyed in on PMD nymphs when they’re feeding subsurface, so make sure to have something black/yellow or brown/yellow on as a dropper. Tungsten Split Case PMDs are good bets, as well as Two Bit Hookers and Barr’s Emergers in PMD color. Fish the smaller nymphs below a big scud or worm for weight and make sure you’re getting down to the fish. There’s been a good PMD hatch some days as well, so if you’re up there in the afternoon you should make sure and have a few PMD dries. Comparaduns, Sparkle Duns, F Flies, Hackle Stackers, and various other PMD dries in size 16-20 will work well. Beetles and ants are good bets as well if you don’t see fish on the surface but find a few that are hanging close to the surface or close to the bank. Fishing in town has been great, mostly with dry-dropper rigs. You can fish nymph rigs if you want in the deeper water, but there’s a lot of fish in the shallower stuff right now as well. Hippie Stompers in Red, Purple, and Royal colors have been great dry flies, trailed by a smaller tungsten nymph. Jig Assassins, Soft Spots, Slim Jims, Peacock Jigs, and Brush Hogs have been good dropper nymphs in size 14-16. There are tricos hatching in the morning and caddis in the evenings as well, so there’s plenty of good dry fly fishing opportunities around town right now. Plus, you get a lot of bonus fish on the nymph!
Spearfish Creek is a touch on the low side, but still fishing very well. Dry dropper rigs and nymphing are the name of the game both in town and in the canyon. The further downstream you get, the better the hopper fishing seems to be. That being said, there’s lots of fish in the upper canyon and throughout the rest of the creek that are more than willing to eat an ant, beetle, or cricket as well. Hi Viz Beetles, Bloom’s Parachute Ants, CDC Beetles, Parachute Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Hippie Stompers, and various other smaller terrestrial patterns are all good choices. Try and stick in the size 10-12 range for hoppers, and maybe a size smaller for the rest of the terrestrial patterns. Nymph fishing is still solid as well, both as a dropper below a terrestrial or two nymphs under a bobber. Slim Jims, Skinny Jigs, Jig Princes, Hare’s Ears, Brush Hogs, Zebra Midges, and other slender bodied flies are working great in size 12-18. Base the size of your fly on the depth and speed of the water. There’s some BWOs hatching right now as well, and they should continue to build steam over the coming weeks. September typically has some awesome BWO fishing on Spearfish Creek!
Not a lot of change on Castle Creek, so this is recycled from last week – Castle Creek from Deerfield Reservoir to Castle Peak Campground is fishing well. Same story as everywhere else – hoppers and terrestrials with a dropper below them are good bets. Fish a slightly smaller terrestrial on Castle than you would elsewhere – size 12-14 is a good size for Castle Creek Brookies. What they lack in size, they make up for in how aggressively they take flies! Morrish Hoppers, Hippie Stompers, Parachute Ants and Parachute Hoppers are all good bets for the dry. Tung Teasers, Psychos, small jigs, and Frenchies are good dropper patterns. The fish typically aren’t all that picky, but can be fairly spooky. Make sure you walk slowly, and focus on places where the water is choppy and slightly deeper – bends are where we find most of the fish on Castle Creek. Fun fishing that isn’t particularly sophisticated!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek should be hitting the peak of their terrestrial season over the next couple weeks – if you want to have some solid terrestrial fishing, check them both out and be mindful of the snakes. Parachute Ants, Parachute Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Hippie Stompers, Foam Beetles, and about any other terrestrial insect you can think of should interest some fish. You can see a lot of fish this time of year as well, so there’s some solid sight fishing opportunities. Another tidbit to note – the gauge on Crow Creek is reading nearly 100 cfs, which isn’t accurate. I would guess 35-50 is accurate, which is a solid flow for this time of year.
Smaller streams have dropped a bit, but are still at solid flows for this time of year and fishing well. Hanna, Little Spearfish, Box Elder, French, upper Rapid, and upper Spearfish Creeks are all fishing well. Dry Droppers with various attractor dry flies trailed by smaller Slim Jims, Tung Teasers, Assassins, or Jig Pheasant Tails are all good bets. Get a fiberglass 3 weight and head out to some of our smaller, overlooked water. It’s tons of fun!
Fishing has been solid. Trout fishing continues to be good everywhere, and pike fishing should heat up significantly over the coming weeks as well. Give us a call or stop by the shop for the latest conditions, hot flies, a map, or to book a day with the best and most experienced guides in the Black Hills!