Black Hills Fishing Report - 8/26/2019

Fishing has been nothing short of great throughout the hills, and will continue to be excellent into the fall! We have some of the best late summer/fall water conditions that we've had in a number of years, and the fish dig it. Terrestrials, dries, streamers, nymphs - you name it, you can do well on it. The fishing is solid right now, and this fall is going to be equally great. Rapid Creek above Pactola came up to 170 cfs yesterday, but should drop quickly today and tomorrow. The water is dirty still, but the fishing is good on nymphs and streamers. North Fork Specials, Rainbow Czechs, Bloom's Optic Nerve, Jig Hare's Ears, Skinny Jigs, and various worm patterns will work well. The fish are pretty spread out everywhere, so you can do well in both pools and faster, skinnier water. Streamer fishing with medium sized streamers will work great as well. Grinches, Kreelexes, Sculpzillas, and various other 2-4" streamers will work well. The fishing is solid all the way up the trailhead, so don't be afraid to walk in a little ways. Rapid Creek below Pactola is around 130 cfs right now, which is a fantastic flow - high enough to spread the fish out, but not so high that it's difficult to fish. Nymph fishing is going to catch the most numbers, but there's good dry fly opportunities and some streamer fishing as well. Nymph fishing has been good, primarily with smaller PMD and BWO droppers in the 16-18 range. Split Backs in both PMD and BWO flavors, Barr's Emergers, Two Bit Hookers, T Baetis, and Pheasant Tails are good dropper flies. Use a Rainbow Czech, Worm, Boat Anchor Scud, or your favorite jig fly in 12-14 for your lead pattern. Like above the lake, the fish are pretty spread out so don't be afraid to fish a little bit of everything. If you find a fish sitting in some shallower water you can do well fishing smaller terrestrials like beetles, ants, and small hopper patterns. Small Chubby Chernobyls and Fat Franks are fun flies to fish that are easy to see. There can be some PMDs hatching in the evenings in the first few miles below the dam, and the fish will be up on them a bit more as the water comes down a touch. Sparkle Duns, F Flies, and Students in yellow variety will work well if you run into fish eating PMDs on the surface. The catch and release area is fishing well, but don't be afraid to venture a bit further downstream to find less pressured fish - they aren't as big as the basin fish, but it's fun water that doesn't get fished much at all. Rapid Creek in town is fishing fantastic - the fish aren't as numerous as some years, but they're running considerably larger than they typically would. The higher flows have make the fish really healthy, and most of the fish you catch in town are pretty rotund and sassy right now. Fun fishing! Nymphing has been the most productive method throughout the day. We've had fantastic luck Euro Nymphing through town lately, and have been catching fish on surprisingly large flies. Pat's Rubber Legs and size 12 jigs have been lead flies, as well as Mop Flies and Worms. Good droppers have been Hare's Ears, Sweet Peas, Skinny Jigs, Peacock Jigs, Purple Pheasant Tails, and Duracells in size 12-16. There's a lot of fish in the riffles right now, especially where there's some sort of depression or drop off. There are some caddis around in the evenings in town, and you can find a few fish up on them in the slower water. Bloom's Parachute Caddis, Tightline Caddis, and Henryville Specials are good bets in 14-16. It's nice to be able to have great fishing in town after it being so high all summer! Spearfish Creek is fishing pretty darn well, with both the canyon and in town being good options. Dry Dropper rigs are super productive right now with the lower flows, and you'll get a fair number of fish on the dry throughout the day. Fat Franks, Chubby Chernobyls, Stimulators, Parachute Ants, and Bionic Ants are solid bets for the dry fly in size 10-14. Smaller flies will get some attention, but can't hold up much of a nymph. If you want to put on a single dry, try a User Friendly, Bloom's Parachute Caddis, or smaller Stimulator. Lots of fish close to the banks will eat a dry in water that you really couldn't get a nymph in! If you're fishing the bigger dry and want to fish a nymph below it, try a Duracell, Peacock Jig, Tungsten Midge, Sweet Pea, Skinny Jig, or Tung Teaser in size 14-18. If the fish are picky, find some faster water or fish the edges of the really fast stuff - the obvious pools get more pressure and the fish are pickier with the slower water. In the evenings there are some caddis around - Elk Hair Caddis and Bloom's Parachute Caddis will get some action in 14-18. The fall BWO hatch should get going in the next couple weeks as well. Spearfish Creek is fishing great, and will be good into the fall! Castle Creek is fishing excellent right now, and has some of the better terrestrial fishing around. Dry-dropper rigs will up your chances, and are the go-to rig on Castle Creek right now. Fat Franks, Bloom's Parachute Ants, Hippie Stompers, Chubby Chernobyls, Hi Viz Beetles, and Morrish Hoppers are all good dry flies right now. Medium sized seems to work best - 10-14 will get the most looks. Good dropper patterns include Skinny Jigs, Tungsten Midges, Brush Hogs, Assassins, Peacock Jigs, and various other small-ish nymphs in size 14-18. The fish aren't super picky typically, so long as you get the fly in front of them without spooking them. Fishing the corners and broken water you will find fish that are more willing than the fish in the slow, straight water. Caddis are hatching in the evenings as well - the same flies as Rapid and Spearfish will work great. Get your 3 weight out and have some fun! Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well, but aren't particularly easy fishing. There's a lot of aquatic vegetation around this time of year, which can make casting/fishing more difficult. That being said, there's plenty of fish to be had if you're up for a bit of a challenge! Dry droppers are the go to rig here as well. Essentially the same flies as Castle Creek will get the job done, with the addition of some larger size 8 hopper patterns on Crow Creek. The fish are typically between the weeds in the deeper water, but they can be on the bank side sometimes as well. If you're not getting them on the dry, try a smaller jig or midge dropper. Small streams around the area are fishing excellent! Upper Rapid, Upper Spearfish, Hanna, Little Spearfish, Box Elder, Elk, Whitewood, and various others are fishing great, with the fish being super willing most days. Put your favorite dry fly on and get to work! User Friendlies, Hippie Stompers, Purple Hazes, and Klinkhamers are good places to start. Warmwater fishing is picking up around the area, with bass, pike, and panfish fishing being good. Sheridan has been good for bass and pike, with heavier sinking lines and medium sized flies. New Underwood is a fun place to go try with a lighter rod for some nice bluegills as well. Pactola pike fishing will be getting good soon with the cooler nights and lower water temps! Fishing has been solid, with nearly everywhere fishing great! Give us a call or swing by for the latest updates.