We’re going to warm up for a few days, but the fishing continues to be solid and will only get better with the shorter days and cooler temps forecasted for next week. The big three – Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish are still your best bets, but some of the smaller streams are starting to fish consistently well also.
Rapid Creek near Silver City is fishing alright, and is better the further up you hike. Dry-dropper rigs will get the job done, with Peacock Jigs and various other tungsten patterns in size 16-18 working well. The fishing near Black Fox is quite a bit better, and the fish are a lot more willing. Rapid Creek below Pactola in the catch and release area is fishing well if you’re willing to put time in. Terrestrials are still bringing some fish up to the surface, especially smaller beetle and ant patterns. Hi Viz Beetles, Parachute Ants, and black Morrish Hoppers will move some of the bigger fish around. There’s a sporadic PMD hatch, but the terrestrials are what’s bringing the fish up to the top right now. Nymphing has been the same old story. Scuds and midges/worms/baetis as a dropper are the best bet lately. Tungsten Rainbow Czechs, Epoxy Scuds, Boat Anchor Scuds, and Hunchbacks are good top fly bets. Drop an annelid, Split Back Baetis, Two Bit Hooker, Zebra Midge, Bling Midge, or whatever other tiny dropper pattern you dig below it. 6x is your friend with the lower flows right now. Rapid Creek in town has been fishing well, especially early and late. The fish get a little funny during the middle of the day for a couple hours for some reason. There’s a good Trico hatch in the morning, so have a few trico spinner patterns if you’re headed out any time before 10 or so. Scuds and jigs trailed by a midge pattern are probably your best bet for numbers throughout the day. Experiment with various colors and sizes of midge patterns until you figure out what they’re diggin’ that day!
Spearfish Creek has been fishing well. This is the time of year where the BWO’s could pop on any given day, so be prepared with a variety of emergers and adults. If you’re into fishing dries, the fall BWO hatch is the best dry fly fishing Spearfish Creek typically sees all year. Viz-a-Duns, CDC Thorax Duns, Brook’s Sprouts, F Flies, Students, and regular old Parachute Adams all have their place in size 16-22. If you just want to stack up some numbers, nymphing is the way to go still. I’m partial to the double-jig-rig myself, with a size 12-14 as the lead fly and a 16 as the trailer. Jig Assasins, Sweet Peas, Pheasant Tails, Brush Hogs, Hare’s Ears, and Soft Spots are all solid bets. If you’re fishing one of the big slow holes, you’ll probably do better with a smaller midge or BWO dropper. If you’re fishing in town, don’t be afraid to try some scud/worm patterns as a lead fly as well. There’s still some fish that are willing to come up and eat a terrestrial as well, so don’t hesitate to toss a beetle or ant if you see a fish that’s posted up close to the bank.
Castle Creek is low, but still fishing alright. If you cover water effectively you’ll find a lot of fish. They’re not picky, just spread out a bit until you get right by the dam. Any bend/riffle that’s more than about boot deep will have fish in it right now. Dry flies have been the most effective, especially since a lot of the water the fish are holding in is too shallow to effectively nymph. Standard fare will work just fine most days – Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators, Beetles, Parachute Ants, Hippie Stompers, and small size 12-14 hoppers will get the job done.
Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing good, with Crow Creek being the tougher of the two but with bigger fish. You’ll work for every fish you catch on Crow, but there’s a lot of nice ones. Terrestrials are your best bet up there, but like Spearfish, there will be a good BWO hatch in the next couple weeks. The same BWO patterns as Spearfish Creek will work fine. The fish up there have a sweet tooth for hoppers, but can be particular about size and color. Look around and see what’s in the grass and match accordingly. Morrish Hoppers and Grand Hoppers are good places to start, but don’t overlook some of the OG’s like Dave’s Hopper.
Pike fishing is going to start ramping up again in the coming weeks. For now, focus on drop offs in the 8-15 foot range with sinking lines. We’ve been using the SA Sonar Titan Int/3/5, and it’s a gamechanger for sure. Sheridan is a good bet for numbers, and there’s been talk of good pike fishing at Stockade as well. Swing by for the latest in flies and intel!
Fishing has been good, and should continue to improve. We’ve had a good number of guided trips out with solid success, and are starting to get booked up for this month. Give us a shout if you want to spend a day with one of our guides. You’ll learn more about Black Hills fishing than you’d imagine in a day with one of our expert guides! Swing by the shop or give us a call for the latest in stream reports and hot flies as well.