Conditions continue to be quite good on many Black Hills streams. Especially the core streams of Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish Creeks. Fishing has been a nice mix of dry fly and nymph fishing. Bigger bugs like attractor dry flies and terrestrials are working increasingly well. Hatches have been consistent enough to provide dry fly fishing most days. Look for afternoon hatches of Pale Morning Duns, along with caddis hatching into the evening. Some little yellow stoneflies are hanging around as well. With all the bigger bugs on the water it's a great time to fish a dry dropper rig.
One factor that will be of concern this coming week will be the warmer air temperatures. We’ve already seen some days on Rapid Creek through Rapid City, primarily below Canyon Lake, where water temperatures have gotten 70° in the afternoon. Please take caution when fishing during warmer weather. While this primarily applies to Rapid Creek in Rapid City, it’s still worth bringing a thermometer to check stream temperatures. When water temps reach 68 degrees it's time to move upstream and find colder water.
We are lucky to have two tailwater sections, one on Rapid Creek and one on Castle Creek, that will provide cold water fisheries during the warmest of weather. Tailwaters are fed by cold water coming from the bottom release of a reservoir. The Catch and Release section of Rapid creek below Pactola Reservoir has water temps in the mid to high 40's year round. The same goes for Castle Creek below Deerfield.
Spearfish Creek in Spearfish Canyon also stays nice and cool due to spring-fed water. These are by no means the only spots to fish. There are other sections of these streams at higher elevations that have cold water. Check out the upper stretches on both Rapid Creek and Castle Creek. The area around Rochford and Mystic offers access to the higher elevation reaches of those drainages.
The primary concern when fishing in warmer temperatures is causing undue harm and mortality to the fish. There’s no sense in risking the fishery for a few hours of fishing when there’s colder water just a short drive upstream. And as we have said this primarily applies to the section of Rapid Creek within the city limits. Temperatures just above Canyon Lake are cool enough to fish on most days due to the spring water coming in from Cleghorn Springs.
In general, the best fishing conditions will be found on Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish Creeks. The warmer drier conditions are making fishing on French Creek and Spring Creek quite poor. Low flows and water that is too warm don’t make for much of a fishing opportunity.
Another option for stream fishing is upper Box Elder Creek above Nemo. This is smaller water with good numbers of brookies and browns.
Another great option for warmer days is Deerfield Lake. This large reservoir offers great fishing from kayaks, float tubes, personal pontoons, etc. It’s a no-wake lake so almost no motorized boat traffic is around to disturb anglers.
And it is great carp fishing weather. The most reliable spots are Angostura Reservoir and Belle Fourche Reservoir. This time of year, carp are just as likely to be feeding on the surface, cruising to find cotton and terrestrials out in the middle of the reservoir. This is some of the most exciting and exhilarating carp fishing of the season.
Dries- PMD Sparkle Duns, PMD Parachutes, Yellow Stimulators, Hippie Stompers, Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, Fathead Cicadas, Elk Hair Caddis, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, micro chubbies, Purple Bruce, User Friendly
Nymphs- Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Torin’s Soft Hackle, Czech Princess Olive, Tungsten Split Case PMD, TNT Jig PMD
Streamers- Small Thin Mints
Flow Changes- Last Report (July 1st) to Now
• Rapid Creek above Pactola near Silver City- 60 CFS to 53.6 cfs
• Rapid Creek below Pactola Reservoir- 69 cfts to 77.6 cfs
• Rapid Creek in Town- 69 cfs to 62.1 cfs
• Castle Creek above Deerfield- 16 cfs to 14.8 cfs
• Castle Creek below Deerfield- 15 CFS to 15.8 cfs
• Spearfish Creek at Spearfish- 69 CFS to 59 cfs