Black Hills Fly Fishing Report August 4th 2023
Much cooler weather is rolling into the Black Hills today. Chances of rain the next several days. Some of the rain could be heavy. Hard to say, so far we haven't had much heavy rain. Many streams could use a boost. NWS has a flood warning in effect. Be careful as stream conditions could change quickly, but so far so good. The highs are forecasted to be in the 70s and low 80s for the next week. This is a welcome change from the 90s we have had. That plus some rain will give the hills streams a nice cooling off and freshening up. Another thing to note is the start of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, traffic will be heavy on many roads in the Black Hills. Expect a bit more travel time, but the added traffic often keeps many anglers at home.
Hot Flies- Perdigons, Tricos, Chubby's, Hippie Stompers, Zebra Midges, Hot Tag Hare's Ear Jigs, Jig Assasins, Rio's May It Be,
Above Pactola- As of this morning (Friday) flows are up a bit due to thundershowers last night. Flows coming into Pactola Lake near Silver City are at 120 cfs up from 80 cfs. The water may be stained but should be fishable this weekend. Keep an eye on the flows, if it jumps again with more rain the stream may get a bit muddy. Fishing was very good this past week at Silver City. 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 - No changes in releases as of this morning. C&R area- Releases are at 101 cfs. This is a nice fishable flow. Flows have been stable now for a few weeks below the dam. Good fishing immediately below the dam. Nymphing with PMD nymphs, baetis nymphs, and midge larva patterns has proved effective. The flows have dropped enough to create opportunities for dry dropper and afternoon/evening dry fly fishing. Look for small Baetis, caddis, and some PMDs. Hoppers are showing up.
In town- Not much change since last report. Fishing is very good in town right now. Flows are good, temps are good, and the fish are happy. Jig hares ears, perdigons, and Waltz worms are great options . Streamers are working as well. Fish the edges not the fast current. Fishing above canyon lake is another good option. Tricos in the morning. Caddis in the evening. Water temps should be in good shape with the cooler weather, but never hurts to check especially in the late afternoon. Hoppers and bigger terrestrials are working.
Castle continues to be in prime fishing shape. Flows are essentially the same as last week, coming into the lake around 20 cfs and out at 25 cfs. Dry Dropper is an option here now that flows have come down. Fish and attractor like a chubby chernobyl, stimulator, or hippie stomper, along with a split case PMD nymph dropper. Fishing above the lake will have improved with the drop in flows. Castle Creek is one of the best stream options in the Hills right now.
Spearfish Creek remains in very good condition, although it is dropping a bit week over week. Flows are up slightly since last report, as of today the gauge at Spearfish is reading 71 cfs (up from 62 cfs last report). Up in the canyon there should be some dry fly activity later in the day with caddis and small summer BWOs. Anglers are having success with larger attractor dries in the Canyon. Chubby Chernobyls are a good bet. Nymphing remains the best overall option. With the lower flows some anglers are reporting that lighter tippet and smaller nymphs are needed. 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.
Spring Creek will get a break this weekend from the heat. It may take a day or two for water temps to drop. Hopefully flows will get a boost from the rain. Best to take a thermometer just in case. With added flow and temp drop fishing could pick back up below Sheridan Lake.
Box Elder Creek
Box Elder bumped up last night to around 80 cfs near Nemo, up from last report 36 cfs. The added flow is welcome, but water may be stained for a few days. Nymph fishing and streamer fishing will be the best techniques until the stream clears up a bit. Don't be afraid to try fairly large nymphs. Pat's rubber legs are a good choice. 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.
The cooler weather will be a boost to lake fishing as well. There are good options throughout the Black Hills. Canyon Lake is fishing well. Float tube or other craft gives the angler more options, but fishing can be good from the gazebo island. Custer State Park lakes should pick up with the cooling weather, they likely slowed down due to the heat last week. A float craft makes for better access on these lakes as well, but fishing can be done from shore. Deerfield Lake is a great destination for lake anglers. Deerfield is a bigger reservoir, so having a float craft makes a big difference. Mini Leeches, Balance Leeches, Blobs, and chironomid patterns are the best bet.