Greetings Fellow Fly Anglers- Fall is officially here. The colors are starting to change throughout the Black Hills. Peak color change should happen in the next couple of weeks. The weather is beautiful and so is the scenery. The fishing isn’t bad either.
The best stream fishing conditions are on Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish Creeks.
Rapid Creek continues to fish well above and below Pactola Reservoir. Hoppers and other terrestrials are still in play. We may get a frost soon, especially at the highest elevations, but as long as the frost isn’t too hard, we should continue to see hopper fishing for a bit. Hatch activity is limited mainly to Blue Winged Olives. Good fishing throughout the watershed. Fishing has picked up in town with the fall temperatures.
Castle has great water above and below Deerfield Lake. Flows are steady on Castle Creek. Great opportunities to fish smaller water and find some brook trout. Hoppers will work during the warmer parts of the day. Otherwise, look for BWOs midday and through the afternoon. Some of the best dry fly fishing of the season happens with the late Baetis hatches.
Spearfish continues to fish well in the Canyon and in town. Flows have remained steady on Spearfish for the past few weeks. Smaller flies and lighter tippet continue to be important for pressured areas in the Canyon. Best luck will be with zebra midges and small Baetis nymphs in sizes 18-22. Hoppers and Chubby Chernobyls are working, especially in the lower sections of the stream. Blue Winged Olives (Baetis) are hatching, especially in the afternoons.
Lake fishing has picked up. The coves and beaches at Pactola Reservoir are fishing very well. Fish are taking a leech and smaller streamer patterns fished on a retrieve. An intermediate line is a good choice for this tactic. Or fish blob and midge patterns under an indicator. Deerfield lake is also fishing quite well this season. The same tactics work on Deerfield as Pactola.
Pike fishing is another option. Fall has been the better season for catching pike in the Black Hills for a couple of years now. Pactola and Sheridan Lakes are the best options. Sinking lines from intermediate through type 5 are the best tools for the job. For pike flies try smaller bunny flies, whistlers, and murdich minnows.
Dries- Chubby Chernobyls, Hippie Stompers, Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, BWO Sparkle Duns, BWO Hackle Stackers
Nymphs- Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Torin’s Soft Hackle, Czech Princess Olive, Tungsten Split Case PMD, Tungsten Split Case BWO
Streamers- Small Thin Mints, Autumn Splendor
Tippet Sizes- 5x-7x