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Black Hills Fishing Report 9/30/2021

September 30, 2021 4 min read

Fishing has been good over the past week, particularly on the slightly cooler days. Nymph fishing has been picking up the most numbers of fish, but there have been some good dry fly fishing opportunities during certain parts of the day as well. The best streams have been Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish, but the lakes have started to pick up as well with the cooler water temps!

Rapid Creek above Pactola is fishing well, but the fish can be a bit spread out. If you’re in a good looking spot and don’t catch a fish pretty quickly, keep moving until you find a spot that has more cooperative fish. You can cover most of the water with dry/droppers, but in the deeper holes you might want to try a nymph rig. Good dries include User Friendlies, Hippie Stompers, Micro Chubbies, and Fat Franks. Nymphs that have been working well are Peacock Perdigons, Assassins, Czech Princhesses, Skinny Jigs, and various worms and mop flies. Fishing has been best from the lake up to Kelly Gulch, but there are fish from there up past Rochford as well.

Pactola has been starting to fish well for big rainbows, and there are a lot of spots where they are accessible wading from the bank. These fish usually aren’t too particular, it’s more a matter of getting your fly in front of fish. The most effective way to catch the rainbows in Pactola is to fish a two fly rig under an indicator, somewhere between 3′-8′ deep depending on the day and where you are fishing. Use a wooly bugger or Thin Mint for your lead fly, and drop a Soft Spot, black Zebra Midge, or whatever your favorite jig nymph is below. Days with a little wind seem to work better with this technique, as the waves cause the indicator to slowly move your flies. You can catch fish stripping various smaller streamer patterns as well. You can get away with pretty heavy tippet as well, 3x and 4x are typically light enough and they allow you to land the fish more quickly and not lose as many flies.

Rapid Creek below Pactola has been fishing pretty consistently, and there has been a good PMD hatch most afternoons. In the morning, nymph fishing will be the most productive. Fish a big scud pattern in size 12-14 for your lead fly, and drop a Split Back PMD, Bruised PMD, or a red, black, or purple Zebra Midge in size 16-20 as dropper. Most afternoons the fish are rising pretty consistently from 2pm on, and will eat a well presented PMD pattern pretty eagerly. Students, F Flies, No Hackles, Parachute PMDs, and CDC Thorax Duns in 16-18 are good bets. Placerville area has been fishing good as well, but can be a bit more hit and miss. If you’re not getting strikes or hooking fish, keep moving until you find willing fish.

Rapid Creek in town has been fishing really well, and has been a nice mix of dry fly and nymph fishing. Nymph fishing has been good pretty much all day long, and pretty standard patterns have been working. Perdigons in olive, purple, or blue, Zebra Midges, Skinny Jigs, Jig TNTs in olive, Czech Princesses in Black or Olive, and Assassins are good bets in size 14-18. There are Tricos hatching in the morning, and craneflies have been working pretty well from midday on. You can get some fish to come up to small terrestrials as well, particularly in the shallower water – User Friendlies in black and PMD have been pretty good bets, as well as smaller beetles and ants.

Castle Creek has been one of the better options for consistent dry fly fishing, as there’s a Blue Winged Olive hatch most days that lasts a good portion of the day. The bugs are small, but the fish are up on them. CDC Thorax Duns, Students, F Flies, Parachute BWOs, and Comparaduns in size 18-22 will keep the fish interested. If the fish aren’t rising, you can use any small midge pattern or thin bodied jig fly in the deeper holes and corners.

Spearfish Creek has been fishing great, both in town and in the canyon. There are a few fish rising on BWOs in the afternoon, and the same flies as Castle Creek will work great. Nymph fishing has been good with small, skinny flies, Jig TNTs, Skinny Jigs, Zebra Midges, Assassins, Czech Princesses, French Dips, and RS2s are good bets. Over the next week there might be a few more leaves that fall into the stream, so finding spots where there aren’t tons of leaves can be pretty key – if the fish can’t see your fly, they can’t eat it.

Fishing has been solid, and will continue to be really good over the coming weeks. Give us a call or swing by for the latest report and hot flies!


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