The weather has shifted to the cooler side over the past few days, and the fish are diggin’ it. We’ve been on the water just about every day over the past few weeks, and the fishing has been fantastic just about everywhere. The Sturgis motorcycle rally starts this coming Monday, but the traffic hasn’t been bad at all. We’ve been having a ton of fun fishing dry-dropper rigs lately, and the fish have been looking up pretty frequently. August is terrestrial season, and it can bring some of the best dry fly fishing of the year!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fishing well in the Silver City area, especially if you’re willing to walk in a ways. Dry-dropper setups are the way to go for the most part, especially in the shallower riffles and pockets. Klinkhamers, Hippie Stompers, Stimulators, and Purple Hazes make great dry flies that are also nice and easy to see. Dropper patterns can really vary, but I like jig Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails, as well as North Fork Specials. The fish generally aren’t super selective, but can be a bit spooky with the lower flows. Make sure you fish everything, especially the pocket water in between the big holes – you’ll be surprised how shallow of water the browns will hold in! Below the dam has been fishing well, with a variety of techniques. There’s been a good number of fish that are willing to come to the surface to eat a terrestrial pattern, and it seems to be just as productive as nymphing. Morrish Hoppers, Stimulators, Hippie Stompers, Klinkhamers, and Bloom’s Parachute Ants are all good bets. It’s surprising how often you can get a fish to come up from several feet below the surface to eat a big dry. Nymphing has been fair to great depending on the day, with a pretty wide variety of flies working. Use a big scud or worm pattern for a lead fly, with a Tungsten Split Case PMD or BWO, Two Bit Hooker, or your favorite midge for a dropper pattern. Changing is the key to catching fish lately. If you’re not catching fish and you know you’re getting in front of them, just keep changing your dropper pattern until you find something that trips their trigger. Sometimes you have to change twice and sometimes you have to change a dozen times, but you’ll eventually find something they like. Streamer fishing has been good also, with big flies moving most of the bigger fish. Sex Dungeons, Home Invaders, Circus Peanuts, Lil’ Kims, and the new Doc’s Articulator have been catching some big fish! Fishing in town has been good as well. I’ve been using a Hippie Stomper for a dry/indicator with a Jig Assassin, Tung Teaser, or smaller tungsten midge pattern for a dropper and doing well. As per usual, there’s a lot of fish in the skinnier water, and they don’t get fished much!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing very well over the past week. In the canyon nymphing has been the name of the game for the most part, but you can run into a few rising fish at times. Polish Quill Jigs and Jig Assassins in a 12-14 have been my go-to lead pattern lately, and I’ve been fishing 5x to them with no problem. For a dropper pattern I like anything that’s really slender. Assassins, Jig Baetis, Split Back BWO’s and whatever your favorite midge pattern is will get the job done. I’ve been fishing Trout Hunter 6.5X to my dropper and I think the smaller tippet buys you a few more strikes than a heavier tippet, but is stronger than 7X. There are literally fish everywhere in the canyon, so don’t overlook anything. Any water that’s deeper than your boot has fish in it, as long as there’s an edge or a rock to break the current. Tightline nymphing and tenkara are two very effective ways to fish the canyon! Spearfish Creek through Spearfish has been fishing very well, with more dry fly fishing opportunities than the canyon. If you’re nymphing through town, fish the same patterns as techniques as you would in the canyon. If you’re more apt to fish dry flies, the lower half of town towards the interstate is the stretch for you. Hippie Stompers, Parachute Ants and Crickets, Klinkhamers, Morrish Hoppers, and Chubby Chernobyls have all been good bets, and they all make good indicators as well. North Fork Specials have been a really good dropper pattern in Spearfish as well!
Castle Creek has been fishing well below Deerfield, especially in the Kinney Canyon walk-in area. Smaller terrestrial patterns have been good, trailed with a smaller dropper nymph. As with just about everywhere else, Hippie Stompers have been my go-to dry fly pattern. Fish dig it and you can see it from a couple blocks away! I’ve been having the best luck with various tungsten midges trailed 18-24″ below the dry fly. The fish aren’t super selective right now, but are a bit spookier with the lower flows. Make sure to be stealthy and cast a bit further than you typically would and you’ll catch plenty of fish!
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, especially with terrestrial patterns. These creeks get pretty darn weedy in the summertime, which can make fishing nymphs a difficult endeavor. Dries and terrestrials are much easier to fish, and are equally as productive in the late summer. Morrish Hoppers, Bloom’s Parachute Ant, Hi Viz Beetles, Klinkhamers, Purple Hazes, and Chubbies are all good bets for a searching pattern. If you run into a fish that won’t eat the big fly, try a smaller, more realistic pattern. As usual in the summer, watch out for rattlesnakes on both of these creeks!
Fishing has been pretty darn good just about everywhere! Give us a call or shoot us an email if you’re headed out to fish in the Black Hills, or if you want to book a day with one of our guides. Swing by the shop and we can get you a map and a few flies and point you in the right direction as well!