By Tyler Gromer
With the onset of the hot weather in the Black Hills, fishing is better early in the morning and late in the evening, especially in lower elevation areas. In the higher elevations, however, we have been having great luck all day long in areas such as Castle creek above and below Deerfield Lake, the upper sections of Rapid Creek, as well as the areas around the town of Spearfish and up into the canyon. Areas that we recommend you avoid are Spring Creek below Sheridan Lake, Slate creek, Lower Box Elder Creek. Please carry a thermometer with you on hot days to ensure that you fish water that is 65 degrees or lower. This ensures the safety and future of our fish populations. Luckily, we will get a break from highs in the 90s from Thursday into early next week.
Bug activity has as well been a primarily morning and evening game while being comprised primarily of PMDs while also including bugs such as little yellow stoneflies and some hatches of tan caddis. We should start to see Tricos very soon. Typically on warmer drier years, we get Trico hatches early.
Many patterns have been doing well for us and our guides revolving primarily around nymphing patterns with light dry fly activity. Our nymph rigs have been dominated by perdigon style patterns in a size range of 14-18. We have also done well on patterns such as jigged pheasant tails, TNT jigs, and Optic nerve hare’s ears; all in the same size range.
Aside from nymphing, we are having luck on terrestrial patterns that in sizes 10-14 in black or darker colors. Our best patterns are micro chubbies, hippy stompers, and ant patterns such as bionic ants or a bloom’s ant pattern. Our standalone dry fly patterns for PMD hatches are comparaduns, parachutes,and Vis-a-duns. For our caddis hatches, we have used patterns such as elk hair caddis, Henry’s fork caddis, Hi-viz foam caddis, and the rio foam run caddis. Use yellow stimulators, fluttering sallies, and the Yamagata yellow sally for our little yellow stone hatches.
Overall, despite the heat, fishing has remained very good. Stick to streams with cooler temperatures and get out early in the morning and late in the evening. Staying in higher elevations helps to beat the heat.