We’re having some more seasonable weather and the flows have come down a bit, which equates to some fantastic fishing throughout the Black Hills! We’re seeing some of the best fall flows we’ve had in a few years, and the fishing has been great due to them. The weather for the upcoming week looks to be excellent as well – it’s a great time to be on the water in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has come down quite a bit, and is at a great flow for whatever techniques you like fishing with! Hopper-Dropper rigs will get done most of the fishing if that’s what you dig. Hippie Stompers, Morrish Hoppers, and various other terrestrial patterns will work great and float a good sized nymph. Good nymphs include Jig Soft Spots, Yellow Spots, Hare’s Ears, worms, and North Fork Specials in size 12-16 will work well. If you run across some pickier fish, try those nymphs as a lead fly and drop a midge or small BWO pattern below as a dropper. Streamer fishing with smaller wooly bugger sized streamers will work great also – just make sure you keep your flies in the 6-8 range. Fishing is solid from the lake up to the confluence with Castle Creek. Rapid Creek below the lake is fishing well also, and is a little easier with the lower flows. PMDs are the biggest item on the menu right now, but Blue Winged Olives will be starting to be another solid option soon. You can use the same patterns, just vary the color between pale yellow and olive. Brook’s Sprout Emergers, Sparkle Duns, Comparaduns, F Flies, Hackle Stackers, Students, and various parachute patterns are all good bets in size 16-20. If you’re nymphing, try a big scud pattern trailed by a Split Back Baetis or PMD, Two Bit Hooker, or small Flashback Pheasant Tail. The fish are still in a wide variety of water, but as the water lowers they’ll be more congregated in the deeper slots and holes. Fishing on Rapid Creek in town is excellent. There’s Tricos hatching in the morning, a few caddis in the evenings, and they’ll eat terrestrial patterns throughout the day as well – no shortage of opportunities! I would fish a Hippie Stomper, Fuzzy Wuzzy, or Parachute Ant in size 12-14 as a dry, and trail it with a Jig Hare’s Ear, Skinny Jig, Tungsten Midge, or whatever your favorite tungsten dropper is in size 14-18. The fish in town are pretty willing right now, and the fishing has been solid!
Spearfish Creek is fishing well, but the fish have transitioned over to eating more smaller bugs rather than the larger flies that they ate throughout the early summer. Jigs in size 12-14 are good bets for a weight fly, especially if they have a big bead and are pretty slender. Jig Assassins and Slim Jims are good bets because they sink quickly. Drop a Two Bit Hooker, Split Back, Zebra Midge, T Baetis, or small Pheasant Tail below as a dropper. There’s a ton of Blue Winged Olives in the water right now and the fish are pretty keyed in on them, especially in the canyon. The adults will show up any day, and the fish are usually really keyed in on them for the better part of the afternoon. If you’re fishing the BWO dry flies, use a pretty long tippet. The currents are complex enough on Spearfish Creek that you’ll get a much better drift with 2-3 feet of level tippet before your fly. If you’re fishing in town or in the valley, the fish will still eat a wide variety of terrestrial patterns. Beetles, Ants, Crickets, and hoppers are all good bets in size 10-14. Fish closer to the bank than you think!
Castle Creek below Deerfield has come down to 15 cfs, which is a good flow that makes the fish a bit easier to find. Hippie Stompers with a small tungsten dropper in size 16-18 will work well, as well as nymphing with a jig trailed by a small dropper fly in the deeper water. BWOs will start hatching up there any day as well, so if you’re heading up make sure and have a few BWO adult patterns. Fishing from the Castle Peak campground all the way up to the lake is good, as well as above the lake in the walk in area. This is fun, unsophisticated fishing that won’t last a whole lot longer, so give it a shot before it gets cold!
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. Blue Winged Olives will be starting here soon as well – see a trend?
Smaller streams haven’t changed much, same story as last week. Flows 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!
Pike Fishing is getting fired up as well, and should be hitting it’s stride over the next couple weeks – swing by the shop for the latest intel and gear!
Fishing has been excellent, and we’ve had a lot of happy clients out recently – give us a call at the shop if you want the best Black Hills fishing experience possible with the most experienced guides in the hills! Swing by the shop for the latest in flies, gear, and reports as well, and feel free to give us a call at the shop if you have any questions at all about fishing in the Black Hills!