The weather remained cool this week. The combination of cool weather and good flows is great for Black Hills stream conditions. Fishing has been very good. We hope to see some rain this weekend. A little freshening up never hurts. Some warmer weather is forecasted for early next week, but as long as flows stay up we will be in good shape for the warmer days. Here is a breakdown by stream.
Above Pactola: Flows have dropped some, staying steady around 80cfs. Water is typically a bit off color above the lake, it isn’t running muddy though. Fish larger nymphs for the best luck. Streamers are working well. Our favorite nymphs are larger perdigons, jig prince nymphs, pat’s rubber legs, and worm patterns. For streamers try thin mint buggers and lil kims. Fishing is good from Silver City all the way up past Rochford. Caddis hatches as well as some tricos hatching. Dry fly fishing could pick up as flows stabilize.
Below the Dam: As of this report flows are at 96.9 cfs down from 99cfs early this week. My best guess is that with Pactola at full they will drop them down at some point closer to what is coming into the lake. I hope the flows stay up since the cold water has a much bigger impact further downstream when more bottom release water is moving through the system. Fishing immediately below the dam should be quite good, although the fish are still quite picky. Look for dry fly activity late in the day. Baetis continue to hatch, and we are seeing some caddis and small yellow stones.
In Town: Fishing in town continues to be very good throughout the day, especially with the higher flow from the dam. The cooler daytime temps plus the cold water from the dam are creating near perfect fishing conditions. Caddis hatch is underway, and Blue Winged Olives are still present.
Dry dropper rigs with micro chubby chernobyls as a lead fly and smaller tungsten droppers (such as Cheeseman canyon emergers and tungsten split case BWO) have been successful. Other patterns to try include sparkle duns, foam beetles, frenchies, jig hare’s ears, and green perdigons. Tricos are already hatching. Get out early to catch the spinner fall. The cooler weather and temps may be tempering the trico hatch a bit, but it will come back in full with warmer weather.
Below Deerfield Dam: Fishing has been great on Castle Creek. Flows are down just a tad to 15cfs from 20cfs. Micro chubby chernobyls with droppers continue to be effective throughout the day. As fish start feeding on the surface, consider switching to sparkle duns or small terrestrials. Look for caddis activity to increase this week along with little yellow stoneflies.
Above Deerfield: Flows have stabilized around 15cfs coming into the lake. If we get much rain this weekend, that could jump, but as of this report conditions are excellent. Fishing remains good from the mouth of the lake up to the confluence with Ditch Creek. Above the confluence with Ditch Creek, fishing is great. The fish aren’t big, but they make up for that with their willingness to take a fly.
The flow in town bumped back up to 74 cfs from 65 cfs. Spearfish Creek is fishing very well in the canyon and in town. Not much of a change otherwise. Baetis hatches are slowing down a bit, but will pick up on days with cloud cover. Caddis hatches are picking up throughout the creek. Fly selection is essentially the same as Rapid Creek or Castle Creek, but be prepared to switch to smaller tungsten zebra midges or small baetis nymphs to increase your chances. Lighter tippet is recommended, as fish in the canyon seem to prefer smaller flies.
Other Options: Spring Creek: Wetter weather has kept the flow up on Spring Creek. Fishing was great this week along Sheridan Lake Road and up from the Trailhead. We hope flows stay up and conditions stay stable for a few more weeks. Spring Creek can drop quickly and warm quickly, the recent rains have benefited this stream immensely. Keep an eye on stream temps as we get some warmer days this coming week.
Lake Fishing: Lake fishing for trout is slowing down on Sheridan and Pactola Lakes. The fish are much more spread out now. Having a boat to move around and cover water is a huge help now. However, Deerfield lake should be in prime shape for lake fishing. Try sinking lines with leeches and thin mints. Or fish indicator rigs with balance leeches, balance damsels, and blobs.
Pike Fishing: Not much change here- Pike fishing continues on Sheridan and Pactola. One customer caught a 24lb pike on Pactola yesterday. Slow sinking lines and chartreuse and white Murdich minnows continue to yield the best results. Bunny flies are another option, try olive, yellow, and black.
Tight lines and enjoy your time in the Black Hills! If you have any further questions or need assistance, feel free to stop by the shop. Happy angling!
Tight lines, Dakota Angler & Outfitter