Fishing has continued to be great throughout the Black Hills, and the fall-like weather over the coming week should bring more solid fishing. Nearly everywhere has been fishing well – fall is arguably our favorite time to fish in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek above Pactola is around 90 cfs, and is fishing well. Nymph fishing will get the most action – the water is still a bit on the dirty side, so you can get away with fairly large flies. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Squirmy Worms, Brush Hogs, Jig Hare’s Ears, Slim Jims, and various other patterns will work well. Fish a smaller jig or midge for a dropper if the fish don’t seem to be into the larger flies. You’ll need some pretty heavy flies to get down in the big holes, so don’t hesitate to go pretty large and heavy. Streamer fishing is good as well, with medium sized flies working the best. You won’t need to fish much of a sink tip since the water is pretty average flow, but if you’re in the bigger holes a sink tip might help keep your flies down where the fish are. Lil Kims, Kreelexes, Home Invaders, Grinches, and Thin Mints are good bets in size 2-8.
Pactola itself is fishing excellent for big lake rainbows as well – if you want some big, pretty easy fish it’s the place to be right now. You catch get a few on various terrestrial patterns on the surface, but nymphing under an indicator will be the best bet. Lots of flies can work – Soft Spots, Jig Princes, Balanced Leeches, and Pheasant Tails are always good bets. If they’re picky, put a Green Weenie or midge below as a dropper to pick up some extra fish. More or less all of the bays and points have fish stacked on them – find some sort of structure and you’ll catch fish!
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fair to great depending on the day. There’s a ton of smaller fish around, so you’ll have to sift through them to get to the nicer fish. That being said, the numbers of small browns, brookies, and rainbows around is very promising for the fishing over the next couple seasons! Nymphing is going to be your best bet to find some nicer fish. There’s a lot of Baetis nymphs around, so fish a Two Bit Hooker, T Baetis, standard Pheasant Tails, Skinny Jigs, Split Back Baetis, or Skinny Nelson as a dropper in size 16-20. Boat Anchor Scuds, Worms, and various jig patterns in size 12-14 are good bets for lead flies. There are a few fish up on the surface eating BWO’s on overcast days – Sparkle Duns, Comparaduns, F Flies, and Students in size 18-20 will work well.
Rapid Creek in town is fishing fantastic right now, with a lot of fish still up on Cranefly adults. This has been some of the best dry fly fishing we’ve seen in town for quite some time, and it should last for several more weeks! Fulling Mill Craneflies and Gypsy Kings are about all you need in the cranefly department. Dead drift them, skitter them – you’ll catch fish doing both! Hopper fishing has been good to great as well depending on the day. Micro Chubbies, Fat Franks, and Amy’s Ants are good bets in size 10-14. Smaller hoppers are definitely more productive than big 6-8 size stuff. Good dropper patterns are Skinny Jigs, Frenchies, Assassins, Sexy Walt’s, and various colors of Tungsten Midges. There’s a lot of fish in the knee to waist deep sections, so you can pretty much fish everything. The fishing is town is excellent – take advantage of it!
Spearfish Creek is fishing great both in town and in the canyon. There’s some good terrestrial fishing, and it should continue as long as the weather stays reasonably warm. Amy’s Ants, Fat Franks, Parachute Ants, Morrish Hoppers, and User Friendlies are good bets – the higher up the creek you get, the smaller the flies you should be using. Hippie Stompers have been good bets as well in size 12-14 throughout Spearfish. Nymph fishing will most likely pick up the most fish. Pat’s Rubber Legs, Assassins, Skinny Jigs, Optic Nerves, Red Butts, Jig Hare’s Ears, and midges are good bets. There’s still good numbers of fish in the faster water, so don’t limit yourself to only fishing the big, obvious holes. The cooler, damp weather next week should really get the Blue Winged Olive hatch ramped up as well! Sparkle Duns, Brook’s Sprouts, Students, and Comparaduns in 18-22 are good bets if you see fish up on the surface.
Castle Creek below Deerfield is fishing well, with many of the same flies as Spearfish Creek. As per usual, the corners and choppier water will fish the best and the fish will be pretty squirrely in the slower water. There’s a solid fall Blue Winged Olive hatch here as well, so with the damp weather next week there should be a lot of fish on the surface! The brookies are really pretty this time of year!
Deerfield lake is fishing excellent for big rainbows as well, primarily on the inlet half of the lake. Grinches and Olive Wooly Buggers stripped slowly are good bets, as well as fishing a Balanced Leech, Jig Prince, Mini Leech, or Soft Spot under an indicator. If it’s windy, you can do really well fishing under a bobber – it gives your flies just enough movement to be enticing.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are good, but tricky with the lower fall flows. Smaller terrestrials will work well if there’s no hatch – Foam Beetles, User Friendlies, Klinkhamers, Fat Franks, and smaller Morrish Hoppers are good bets. There’s excellent Blue Winged Olive fishing on overcast days as well! You can nymph fish with the same flies as Spearfish and do well, but the dry fly fishing is good enough that most days you won’t have to.
Spring Creek is fishing well by the road – the Flume Trail is closed due to work on the spillway/tailrace. The latest release said 60 days until it’s open, but we’ll keep you posted. Various jig patterns are good bets along the road – Assassins, Brush Hogs, Pheasant Tails, and Optic Nerves are good flies. Make sure you’re deep enough and you’ll do well!
Pike fishing on Pactola and Sheridan has been heating up considerably, and the colder weather next week should really get things cranked up! Many of the fish have been relatively shallow – 4-8 feet has seemed to be the best depth, but adjust accordingly based on how many bites/follows you’re having. A type 3-6 line is the best so you can fish fairly fast, but an intermediate is useful if you need to fish slow. Medium sized flies in the 4-6″ range have seemed to be the most productive, but that can vary from day to day. Keyhole should get ramped up in the coming weeks as well, and will fish good through October and into November!
Fishing has been solid – swing by or give us a call if you have any questions, want to book a day with one of our guides, or to pick up the latest hot flies!