It’s finally feeling like fall in the Black Hills, with cool mornings and pleasant afternoons. The fishing has been fantastic on Rapid, Spearfish, and Castle Creeks, and should continue to be great throughout the month. There’s some good lake fishing opportunities right now also, with pike fishing starting to heat up as well!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has come down considerably, and is flowing right around 50 cfs. With the lower water, the fish will be pushed back into the deeper runs and pools, and they’ll be less common in the skinnier pocket water. Nymph fishing with various generic nymph patterns will work great – Optic Nerves, Jig Hare’s Ears, Assassins, Mop Flies, Jig Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs will work great. You can still find a few fish poking around on top as well, so don’t be afraid to try a Hippie Stomper, Micro Chubby, User Friendly, or Klinkhamer.
Pactola itself is fishing really well for big stocked rainbows. Most of the fish are in the 18-22″ range, and there’s a lot of them. You can do well fishing indicator rigs about 6′ down, as well as stripping leeches and buggers. Balanced Leeches, Soft Spots, Thin Mints, Squirrel Leeches, and any number of other smaller streamers and leeches will work great.
Rapid Creek below Pactola is fishing well, and is seeing decent numbers of BWOs and PMDs most afternoons. CDC Thorax Duns, F Flies, Students, and Comparaduns are good bets in size 16-20. Match the color and size to the naturals and you’ll do well – there’s been some really nice fish coming to the surface during these hatches. Nymph fishing has been okay to good when the fish aren’t on the top. Small BWO and PMD nymphs trailed behind a scud will be your best bet – Split Backs and Barr’s Emergers are good bets in size 16-20. As you get out of the catch and release area towards town, the fish are really opportunistic and will eat a wide variety of bugs. A Hippie Stomper trailed by a Perdigon has been money lately, but you can have good luck with a lot of other flies as well. Jig Assassins, Rainbow Warriors, Skinny Jigs, Mic Drops, and Jig Pheasant Tails in size 14-16 have been really good bets. Micro Chubbies and Amy’s Ants are good dry flies to try as well.
The craneflies have started on Rapid Creek in town! While it’s not as crazy as last year, there’s still a good number of fish around that are willing to eat a well presented cranefly. We’ve had good luck with various adult cranefly patterns, both dead drifted and skittered. There’s some really nice fish that will come out of their hiding place eat a big cranefly! Hopper Droppers are working well if you don’t see fish eating craneflies. Hippie Stompers and Micro Chubbies trailed by a Perdigon, Mic Drop, Assassin, or Peacock Jig in size 14-16 will work great.
Spearfish Creek is fishing crazy good right now! It’s mostly nymph fishing, but you can stumble into some fish eating BWOs in the afternoons. The Blue Winged Olives have been hatching from 2-5 in the afternoon typically – try a CDC Thorax Dun, Hackle Stacker, or Student in size 18-20. The nymph fishing has been on fire most days – Perdigons, Mic Drops, Optic Nerves, Peacock Jigs, Assassins, Skinny Jigs, and tungsten Zebra Midges are good bets in size 14-18. We’ve been mostly fishing them below a hopper of some variety, but you can fish a tandem rig under an indicator as well. The further downstream you get, the better the hopper fishing will be.
astle Creek has been fishing really well, and the hopper fishing has been solid even with the cooler weather. Dave’s Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, and a wide variety of others will all work really well in size 10-14. The nymph fishing has been solid as well, and the fish typically aren’t too particular – the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish will work well. There’s a good Blue Winged Olive hatch in the afternoons that the fish are up on – CDC Thorax Duns, Brook’s Sprout Emergers, and Comparaduns will work well.
Pike fishing has been good, and should continue to get better as the water temps dip into the mid fifties. Heavy sinking lines and flies that push some water are the best bet right now – Swingin Ds, Wiggle Tails, and Bufords are good bets. You can do well fishing slightly smaller flies like a Laser Minnow or Murdich Minnow as well, particularly if the fish aren’t super aggressive.
Fishing has been solid, and we should continue to see great fishing throughout the fall. Swing by the shop for up to the minute information and for all your Black Hills fly fishing needs!