The Sturgis Rally is over, the bikes have cleared out, and the fishing continues to be darn good. The Black Hills are dead in the traffic department compared to last week, and the rumble of motorcycles have subsided. We’re looking to be a bit on the cooler side towards the end of this week after a couple warmer days coming up, and the trout are going to dig the cool-down. Fishing has been good to fantastic most places – this is going to be a great time to be out fly fishing in the Black Hills!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fishing quite well, especially if you’re willing to walk in a ways. They aren’t stocking upper Rapid Creek this year, which is a nice change. Because of that, you’re mostly going to catch wild brown trout instead of the big stocker rainbows. They’rev suckers for dry-dropper rigs, and there’s a lot of fishy pocket water in between the pools that’s tailored to a short rig like a dry-dropper setup. Hippie Stompers have been our dry fly of choice lately, but Parachute Ants, Chubby Chernobyls, Morrish Hoppers, and Klinkhamers are good bets as well. For a dropper fly, try Tung Teasers, Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, or your favorite jig in size 14-16. Below Pactola has been fishing well but the fish are their normal, picky selves. While there really hasn’t been much of a hatch to speak of, the terrestrial fishing has been good. Hippie Stompers, Morrish Hoppers, and Big Secret Crickets have all moved some big fish lately. They seem to be just as willing to move to a big dry as they are to eat anything. Nymphing has been good, but be prepared to change your flies a lot until you figure out what they want on any given day. Lately we’ve been catching some fish with worms and other big attractor flies for a lead pattern, trailed by a scud, midge, or small PMD or BWO nymph. Split Back PMDs have been a solid fly lately. Streamer fishing is another good option as well, with bigger flies producing the biggest fish it seems. Doc’s Articulator, Lil’ Kims, Home Invaders, Circus Peanuts, and Dungeons are all fish movers. Fishing in town has been good as well! Dry-dropper setups are a good a bet as anything with the lower water. The same flies as above Pactola will work well on Rapid Creek through town, with the addition of smaller tungsten midges as a dropper fly. Hippie Stompers with a Purple midge dropper have been my go-to setup. There’s been a good Trico hatch from Canyon Lake upstream as well. Chubby Tricos with an Organza Trico dropper will get it done!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing fantastic. We had a few days last week in the canyon that were great, and every day has been good. Nymphing has been the name of the game as per usual, with many of the same flies working well. Jig Assassins, Jig Soft Spots, Jig Hare’s Ears (see the pattern here?), Jig Red Fox Squirrel Nymphs, North Fork Specials, and Tungsten Rainbow Czechs are great lead patterns. Oftentimes we only fish one fly, but if the fish get a little pickier we’ll put on a dropper. Try your favorite midge, Two Bit Hooker, Tungsten Ready Baetis, or a Split Back BWO for a dropper. As usual, don’t let the fast water scare you off – there’s tons of fish in it, and the biggest fish we see from the canyon regularly come out of the fastest water. Fishing through Spearfish has been great as well. If you’re nymphing, the same techniques as the canyon will treat you well. There’s been some good dry fly fishing through Spearfish lately as well. We’ve seen quite a few Yellow Sallies coming off midday lately, and the terrestrial fishing has been really good for opportunistic fish. Try a beetle, cricket, Hippie Stomper, or your favorite hopper pattern!
Whitewood Creek on Kirk Road has been good dry fly fishing. Try your favorite terrestrial or big dry fly pattern and fish behind every rock!
Castle Creek below Deerfield has been fishing excellent, even with the lower water. Dry-droppers are the name of the game up here, as they have been many other places. The fish generally aren’t super picky, but they have been a little on the spooky side. Stimulators, Klinkhamers, Morrish Hoppers, Bloom’s Parachute Ants, and the always-good Hippie Stomper make great bets for dry flies. The dropper pattern can really vary, but small jigs, Tung Teasers, and Tungsten Psycho Nymphs have been solid choices, as well as whatever your favorite midge pattern might be. Make a stealthy approach and a careful cast and you’ll do just fine on Castle.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are a but weedy, but fishing well. Because of the weeds, dry flies are your best bet. This is terrestrial season out on the prairie, and the fish sure eat a lot of them. Hoppers, beetles, ants, crickets, and various other land-dwelling bugs are all on the menu out here, so fish whatever your favorite is. Parachute Ants, Morrish Hoppers, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Crickets, Hippie Stompers, and smaller foam beetle patterns are good bets. If you get in in front of a fish and they don’t eat it, move on or change flies. It seems like every fish wants a different bug off the menu, so don’t be afraid to change! Also, watch out for snakes.
Fishing has been great throughout the Black Hills. We’ve been out a lot guiding people into wild Black Hills trout, and have had many happy customers! Give us a call to book a day with one of our expert guides, or swing by the shop and we can get you pointed in the right direction and get you a few bugs!