Black Hills Fishing Report - 9/17/2018

Fall is in the air, and the fishing continues to be excellent. We've got a few cooler, rainy days in the forecast for the next couple days, which is a nice change from the sunny and warm conditions we've been having. With the cooler weather, the BWO hatch should get kicked into gear quite nicely! Rapid Creek from Silver City to the confluence with Castle Creek is fishing well. The flows have leveled out around 40 cfs, which is high enough to have enough water, but low enough that it's easy to fish. Lots of fish are willing to come up to the surface to eat a Hippie Stomper, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Klinkhamer, or Morrish Hopper. If you can't get them on the surface, try putting a dropper 2-3 feet below the dry. Jig Pheasant Tails, Assassins, Yellow Spots, North Fork Specials, and Tungsten Rainbow Czechs will all work well. If you make sure you're fishing heavy enough you'll do well. Rapid Creek below the dam is flowing at 60cfs, which is a nice flow for this late in the year. There's good numbers of fish up on the surface throughout the day, with terrestrials working pretty well when there's not many bugs around. Smaller hoppers, beetles, and crickets have been working well in the morning and into mid afternoon when the fish switch over to PMDs. Once the fish are up on mayflies, try a Comparadun, F Fly, Sparkle Dun, Student, Parachute PMD, or various other PMD patterns in size 16-20. Nymphing has been solid most days, with PMD nymphs and midges being the main bugs on the menu. Tungsten Split Back PMDs, Two Bit Hookers, Pheasant Tails, Skinny Nelsons, and various Zebra midge type patterns are all working well trailed behind a larger weight fly. Rapid Creek in town is fishing well, primarily with dry-dropper type rigs. Hippie Stompers in Olive or Red trailed by a tungsten nymph in 14-18 have been getting the job done most days. Slim Jims, Skinny Jigs, Assassins, Soft Spots, and Peacock Jigs have all been working well. If the fish get a little pickier, switch to a nymph rig with one of the above flies as your lead fly, and trail a small midge pattern a foot below or so. Spearfish Creek is fishing great, and the canyon is beautiful right now! The fishing in town and in the canyon is solid, with a few more dry fly opportunities in the canyon. Nymphing has been consistent with slightly smaller flies than usual. Try a jig fly in size 12-14 as your lead pattern, and drop a smaller, slender fly below it. Two Bit Hookers, Pheasant Tails, Skinny jigs, Peacock Jigs, Slim Jims, and various midge patterns will all work well in size 14-18. There's been good Blue Winged Olive action in the afternoons, and a good number of fish have been up on them. CDC Thorax Duns, F Flies, Students, Brook's Sprout Emergers, and Parachute Adams are good choices in size 16-20 if you see some fish on the surface. If you're fishing in town or in the valley, terrestrials are still a viable option as well. Foam Beetles, Parachute Ants, and small hopper patterns will work well in size 10-14. Castle Creek below Deerfield has come down to around 15cfs, which is a normal wintertime flow. Hippie Stompers with a small tungsten dropper in size 16-18 will work well, as well as nymphing with a jig trailed by a small dropper fly in the deeper water. BWOs will start hatching up there any day as well, so if you’re heading up make sure and have a few BWO adult patterns. Fishing from the Castle Peak campground all the way up to the lake is good, as well as above the lake in the walk in area. Don't be afraid to check out some new water on Castle - there's a lot of it that flows through Forest Service Land and doesn't get fished much! Crow Creek and Sand Creek are fishing well also, primarily with dry flies. Blue Winged Olives are very much on the menu right now, and the fish are up on them for a good portion of the day. CDC Thorax Duns, Para Sippers, F Flies, Students, and various other small BWO patterns will work well. The fish aren't super selective, but they are fairly spooky. Terrestrials are still a really good option as well, especially beetles, ants, and crickets. The fish are pretty visible this time of year, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem finding them. Smaller streams are the same as the last couple weeks - give some of our smaller water a try before it gets too cold! Hanna, Little Spearfish, Box Elder, French, upper Rapid, and upper Spearfish Creeks are all fishing well. Dry Droppers with various attractor dry flies trailed by smaller Slim Jims, Tung Teasers, Assassins, or Jig Pheasant Tails are all good bets. Get a fiberglass 3 weight and head out to some of our smaller, overlooked water. It’s tons of fun! Pike fishing is heating up, and should continue to be solid through October. Pactola and Sheridan are both good options, as well as various lakes on the prairie. The key to being consistently successful on Pike is having the right sinking line to get your flies to them and keep them there. On any given day, we might change densities of sinking line several times depending on where the fish are holding in the water column. If your flies aren't in front of them, they can't eat them! Various flies have been working well, mostly mid sized stuff in the 6" range or so. Don't be afraid to change colors. Fishing has been excellent. Swing by the shop or give us a call with any questions or if you'd like to spend a day with one of our guides!