Black Hills Fly Fishing Report August 18th 2023
We are experiencing warmer weather than we have had for most of the summer. Luckily we continue to benefit from the moisture received earlier this summer. Flows on our core streams are in very good shape. The extra flows are helping keep water temps in those streams in good shape. There are decent dry fly fishing opportunities, especially from hopper, ant, beetles, and attractor dry flies. For hatches we continue to see a few caddis, some Baetis, PMDs, and Tricos.
Hot Flies- Perdigons, Tricos, Chubby's, Hippie Stompers, Zebra Midges, Hot Tag Hare's Ear Jigs, Jig Assasins, Rio's May It Be, Sparkle Dun PMD
Above Pactola- Flows coming into Pactola Lake near Silver City are at down a fair bit from last report. The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 67 cfs this morning. With the drop in flows water should as clear as it gets in this section. Now that flows have come down, smaller nymphs may be more important. Fish tungsten nymphs size 14-16- Jig Pheasant Tails, Rio's French Dip, and Frenchies. Don't be afraid to explore further upstream by Rochford. While there may not be as many fish per mile in the area above and below Rochford, it sees very little pressure.
Below Pactola - Releases have dropped to 81 cfs below the dam. C&R area- Releases were are at 103 cfs. Fishing directly below the dam is tricky right now. There are good sized fish, but it isn't a numbers game. Nymphing with PMD nymphs, baetis nymphs, and midge larva patterns has proved effective. Afternoons are seeing hatches of Baetis and PMDs. Best chances at dry fly fishing will be after 3pm.
In town- With the change in releases from Pactola and the warm weather, keep an eye on water temperatures below Canyon Lake. We haven't had issues so far this year with warm water, but be sure to check them over the next week. Remember if the temps are above 68 degrees it is best to head above Canyon Lake to find cooler water to fish. Smaller flies are working well. Size 16-18 May it Be nymphs. 16-18 Waltz Worms. Fishing above canyon lake is another good option. Tricos in the morning. Caddis in the evening. Hoppers fishing is picking up.
Flows are down a bit. Coming into Deerfield Lake at 18cfs, and releases from the dam are down to 15 cfs. This should make the tailwater section easier to fish. Dry Dropper or Hopper Dropper is a good option right now throughout Castle Creek. Fish a Chubby or Hopper with a split case PMD nymph dropper. Fishing above the lake will have improved with the drop in flows.
Spearfish Creek remains in very good condition. Flows are down slightly since last week. The gauge at Spearfish is at 70 cfs this morning. Dry fly activity later in the day with caddis and small summer BWOs. Anglers are having success with larger attractor dries in the Canyon. Hoppers are working in town. Nymphing remains the best overall option, however dry dropper can cover most of the water. Don't be afraid to try 6-7x when nymphing in the canyon. Especially in the slower runs and pools. Fish small baetis nymphs and midge larva patterns for the best success when nymphing in the Canyon.
Flows have dropped enough to make for warm water conditions. Best to leave Spring Creek alone for the next week or so.
Box Elder Creek
Box Elder is down to 31cfs from 44 cfs near Nemo. Keep an eye on the water temperatures, especially further down stream from Nemo. Dry Dropper or Hopper Dropper working well. Best fishing options will be at the Steamboat Rock Area or further upstream around Nemo. When flows drop anglers should see success with Tricos in the morning and caddis in the evening.
Warmer temps have slowed lake fishing down this week. For best success anglers will have to fish early in the morning. Sinking Lines with a slow retrieve will produce the best results. Mini Leeches, Balance Leeches, Blobs, and damsel flies are the top flies for Black Hills Lakes.