Black Hills Fly Fishing Report July 28 2023
We had a hot week here in the Black Hills. The summer started off cool and wet. We were spared from the heat for quite some time. Luckily the moisture we received early in the year protected us from hot weather this week. Stream flows for the most part have stayed in great shape. Water temps haven't been too much of an issue. Some streams have come down enough in flows to start warming up, but overall things are in great shape going into August. The top streams for anglers will continue to be Rapid Creek, Castle Creek, and Spearfish Creek. However, there are some other options due to the better water conditions this year.
Hot Flies- Perdigons, Tricos, Zebra Midges, Hot Tag Hare's Ear Jigs, Jig Assasins, Rio's May It Be
Above Pactola- This section really came into shape this past week. Flows coming into Pactola Lake near Silver City are at 88.7 cfs down from 101 cfs. Fishing has started to pick up and should get better over this coming week.
Below Pactola - C&R area- Releases are at 101 cfs down from 125 cfs earlier this week. This is a nice fishable flow. Fishing is starting picking up now that flows have come down even more. 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- 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. Keep an eye on water temps late afternoon. So far we haven't seen water get too warm, but it's always a good idea to check.
Castle continues to be in prime fishing shape. Flows have stabilized, coming into the lake at 19.7 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 down slightly since last report, as of today the gauge at Spearfish is reading 62 cfs (down from 70 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.
Spring Creek continues to drop, and the water was warm this week below the dam. Best to take a thermometer just in case. Fishing is tapering off below Sheridan Lake due to the warmer water. It might be best to give this stream a break until the weather cools off.
Box Elder Creek
Box Elder is 36 cfs near Nemo. Flows are down, but in good condition. Keep an eye on stream temps in Box Elder, especially later in the day. Best fishing options will be at the Steamboat Rock Area or further upstream around Nemo. Dry fly fishing is picking up on Box Elder. Look for tricos in the morning and caddis in the evening. Terrestrials and attractor dry flies are a good option as well.
Warmer weather likely slowed down fishing on smaller lakes, but there are some good options for lake anglers. Get out early or close to dark for the best action. Canyon Lake is fishing well right in town. Float tube or other craft gives the angler more options, but fishing can be good from the gazebo island. Custer State Park lakes are fishing ok, likely slowed down due to the heat this week, same deal a float craft makes for better access, 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.