Black Hills Fly Fishing Report August 31st 2023
The warm weather has hung around for most of this week and this weekend looks to be a hot one. Fortunately the moisture we received early in the summer is keeping our core streams in good shape. Expect the best fishing conditions on Rapid Creek, Castle Creek, and Spearfish week for the foreseeable future.
Hot Flies- Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, Chubbys, Caddis, PMDs, Baetis
Nymphs- Jig SF, French Nymphs, Frenchies, Zebra Midges
Above Pactola- The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 47 cfs this afternoon. Flows have dropped again this week, but we are in very good shape for this time of year. Smaller flies and lighter tippet continue 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 - Not much change from last week. Hoppers and bigger terrestrials are working better. 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- No change from last report. 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.
About the same as last week. Flows are down a bit. Coming into Deerfield Lake at 16 cfs, and releases from the dam are down to 12 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.
Also not much change other than a slight drop in flows. Spearfish Creek remains in very good condition. Flows are down slightly since last week. The gauge at Spearfish is at 64 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. Fishing might be better in the canyon later in the day, rather than first thing in the morning.
Even lower than last week, and likely warmer too. The flows are at 11 cfs by Keystone. We don't recommending fishing on Spring Creek. It's likely too warm below Sheridan Lake since all the water is surface water flowing over the spillway into the creek.
Box Elder Creek
Box Elder is down to 18 cfs from 24 cfs near Nemo. Water temps will be an issue later in the day, especially further down stream from Nemo. Be sure to bring a thermometer.
Same story different week- fall temperatures and cooler nights will bring an improvement to lake fishing- 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.