Black Hills Fly Fishing Report August 24th 2023
The hot weather has hung around for a good share of this week. Cooler weather is coming for the weekend and much of next week. Thankfully we have fewer days in the 90s in the forecast. Evening are supposed to be cooler as well. Fishing can be tough during the heat of the day, but if you find cold water the fish are still active. Our core streams of Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish are the best options right now.
Hot Flies- Hoppers, Chubbys, Caddis, PMDs, Baetis
Nymphs- Jig SF, French Nymphs, Frenchies, Zebra Midges
Above Pactola- Flows coming into Pactola Lake near Silver City ticked down a little since last week. The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 60 cfs this afternoon. As flows have dropped look to smaller flies and lighter tippet to be more important. No need for 6-7x but 5 is a good choice; smaller nymphs may be more important. Fish tungsten nymphs size 14-18 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 are the same as last week out of Pactola Reservoir. Fishing directly below the dam is tricky right now. There are good sized fish, but it isn't a numbers game. Fishing can be slow. Hunt for your target but don't expect lots of fish. 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. Hoppers, crickets, and beetles are good searching flies.
In town- Water temps stayed in check even with the warmer weather. Go easy on the fish later in the afternoon just in case. Carrying a thermometer is a good way to ensure that fishing is safe for the fish. 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. Dry dropper with a klinkhammer and a small baetis nymph will get it done in most sections in town. 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 17 cfs, and releases from the dam are down to 13 cfs. Fishing is good above and below the dam. 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. With the lower flows fish can be a bit spooky on Castle. Keep a low profile and if needed use a slightly longer leader. PMDs are hatching below Deerfield, likely some BWOs as well.
Spearfish Creek remains in very good condition. Flows are down slightly since last week. The gauge at Spearfish is at 68 cfs today. Fishing can be tricky at times. The fish in slower pools and runs can test your patience and skill. Use longer leaders, light tippet, and small flies. Otherwise cover water and fish the riffles, pockets, and seams. Dry dropper with a chubby or hippie stomper up and a small baetis nymph down will be a good choice. Hopper fishing is picking up.
Hmmm....flows are at 16 cfs by Keystone. We haven't been fishing or recommending fishing on Spring Creek very much. It's likely too warm below Sheridan Lake since all the water is surface water flowing over the spillway into the creek. Rain Dance? Wait for fall? In any case bring a thermometer.
Box Elder Creek
Box Elder is down to 24.7 cfs from 34 cfs near Nemo. Keep an eye on the water temperatures, especially further down stream from Nemo. Water temps were too warm to fish by mid afternoon this past week. Cooler temps this weekend and cooler nights will help a bunch. 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.
Same story different week- 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.