The fishing throughout the Black Hills continues to stay solid, especially in the central to northern parts of the hills. We have a couple more days of warm weather ahead of us, and then it looks to turn to more seasonable temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The fishing has been good to great depending on the day, and should get better and better with the longer nights and cooler days!
Rapid Creek above Pactola has been fishing well in the Silver City area. We’ve had some folks in that have been doing really well from the lake upstream to Silver City, as well as folks doing well in the typical walk-in section above Silver City. The water is low enough that you should be able to cover just about everything with a hopper-dropper type rig, but you can nymph the deeper stuff with a two fly rig if you’re so inclined. Klinkhamers, Hippie Stompers, and larger parachute patterns all make good lead flies. Drop a smaller 14-16 jig pattern off the back. Other good droppers include Tung Teasers, Psycho Nymphs, and Two Bit Hookers. Being mobile up there will help you catch more fish, you typically will get a couple fish out of a spot and then it slows down a bit. Rapid Creek in the catch and release area below Pactola has been good, but the fish are their normal difficult selves. There’s some BWO’s coming off most days, but they’re small. F Flies, Students, CDC Thorax Duns, and a number of other dries in the 20-24 range will fool them. Smaller emerger type patterns make good droppers as well, like WD-40s and Barr’s Emergers. Nymphing has been good in the deeper runs and holes, with small baetis and midge patterns trailed below a scud or worm pattern working best. If you’re not close to the bottom, make it deeper or put more weight on. You’ve got to put it right in their face lately, but they’ll eat it if you do. Streamer fishing is always an option this time of year as well, just keep changing sizes and colors until you figure out what they dig. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing well, and continues to improve as the water cools down. Beetles and Ants fished close to the bank are good bets throughout the day – Bloom’s Parachute Ant is a good place to start. There’s tricos coming off in the mornings still, and they should still last another couple weeks. The rest of the day, a hopper-dropper type rig will get the job done just fine. I like a Hippie Stomper trailed by your favorite flavor of jig fly in a size 14-18, but adjust accordingly. Some days the fish are a little pickier than others, so if you aren’t doing too well try a smaller midge larva type pattern below your dry fly. Zebra Midges and Bubble Backs are always fish producers!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing really well, both in the canyon and in town. There’s some BWO’s coming off midday, and it’s one of the better dry fly opportunities of the year in the canyon. The upper canyon from Savoy upstream lends itself to dry fly fishing a little better, but there’s a lot of water in the lower canyon that is good dry fly water as well. CDC Thorax Duns, Parachute BWO’s, Hackle Stackers, and Students are all good bets. If you’re in the faster water, the fish typically aren’t as picky as the ones in the slower water. Nymphing is always a good bet up there as well, especially if you don’t see much on the surface. Size 12-14 jigs are a good lead pattern, especially flies that are a little on the thinner side since they sink a lot faster than bulky patterns. Dropper-wise, smaller jig patterns, Two Bit Hookers, Split Back BWOs, and midges are solid bets. As usual, don’t let the fast stuff scare you off – there’s more fish in there than you think. In town in Spearfish the same patterns work, with the addition of worms and scuds in the subsurface game. On top, you can do very well on Hi Viz beetles and Parachute Ants if you’re mobile and find fish that are close to the bank.
Castle Creek is fishing well, mostly with dry-dropper setups. You can do well on dries if you only want to fish one fly as well. Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Sparkle Duns, and Hippie Stompers in smaller sizes are good dry flies to have around. The water is fairly low, so lots of it is best fished with a single dry. If you want to put a dropper on in the bigger deeper holes, try a Psycho Nymph, Tung Teaser, Rainbow Warrior, or small jig fly. There’s BWO’s coming off up there as well, so have a couple of patterns to imitate those as well. A parachute adams often works as well as anything else on Castle Creek! Don’t be afraid to try downstream of Slate Prairie as well, there’s lots of overlooked water there.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well also. There’s BWO’s hatching on both of these creeks as well, and the same patterns as Rapid Creek and Spearfish Creek are working well. You can fish some nymphs as well right now, especially in the deeper runs. Scuds and midges are good bets up here, as well as all of the typical Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail type stuff. The biggest thing to catching fish on Crow and Sand is a stealthy approach. The fish are spooky, but not all that particular about fly patterns.
Pike and Bass fishing has been heating up again as well with the cooler temperatures. We went out yesterday and had some success – look for a blog post in the next couple days talking about fall warmwater fishing around our area!
Fishing has been solid overall. We’ve had a lot of guided trips out lately, and they’ve been very successful. Fall is a fantastic time to be out in the Black Hills – the fishing is solid, and there’s not a whole lot of other folks around. Give us a call or shoot us an email to get a day set up with one of our guides, and don’t hesitate to swing into the shop for the latest in flies or intel!