Black Hills Fly Fishing Report October 13th 2023

Black Hills Fly Fishing Report October 13th 2023


Black Hills Fly Fishing Report October 13th 2023

We received quite a bit of rain yesterday in Rapid City. It appears a good chunk of the Black Hills did also. Nothing is blown out by the looks of the stream gauges. We had a dry late summer and early fall, most of this moisture probably was sucked up by the dry ground. Streams that were the lowest got a good dose of rain and will be in great fishing shape this weekend. Cooler weather should boost Blue Winged Olive hatches on all Black Hills streams. It could get fairly cold tonight, so terrestrial fishing might be on its way out. Hoppers can typically withstand the first frost or two. It is ikely those have already happened at the highest elevations. 

Hot Dry Flies- Baetis, Hoppers and attractors at lower elevations 

Nymphs- Jig SF Olive or Rusty, French Nymphs, Frenchies, Zebra Midges 

Black Hills Streamflow Data is available here

Rapid Creek 

Above Pactola- Flows are up coming into Pactola Reservoir from yesterday's rain. The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 98 cfs this morning. This is almost double of the flow from a day or two ago. But this is still very fishable. Water may be bit stained, but try bigger nymphs and streamers. Pats Rubber Legs, Jig Prince Nymphs, San Juans, and Frenchies. Thin Mint buggers will produce.

Below Pactola - Releases are the same as last week. Water will be clear below the dam. Further downstream may have picked up some color from mud. Hoppers are tapering off due to colder weather. Baetis and Midges will be the main bug activity. Dry fly fishing should pick up for the next week or so. Brown trout will likely begin to spawn soon. Please don't target spawning fish!

In town- Flows are not up much from the rain but there must have been a mudslide above Canyon Lake. Water is muddy in the lake and downstream of the lake. The water is clear above the lake this morning and half of the lake is clear. Once the lake flushes out the stream should be in good shape. Hopefully it will clear by tomorrow morning. For today, Friday, fishing will be best above the lake.  Baetis aka Blue Winged Olive hatches will pick up with the cooling weather. We may be towards the end of the cranefly hatch, even though it wasn't as good as previous years, it is always fun to see fish hammer a skated fly. Once the stream clears, look for afternoon hatches. Earlier in the morning into early afternoon, nymph fishing will be the best bet. Streamer fishing should pick up now that fish are moving around in prep to spawn. Please don't bother actively spawning fish!

Castle Creek

No major changes, even if flows have changed slightly. Coming into Deerfield Lake up to 19 cfs, and releases from the dam are down to 13 cfs. Fishing is good above and below the dam. Mostly a BWO hatch from here on out. Midges as well. Fish are likely already spawning below the dam. 

Spearfish Creek

No big changes. Flow is up slightly to 60 cfs today. Maybe a few opportunities for hoppers yet lower down, although could get a solid frost tonight. Baetis hatches will pick up just like everywhere else. 

Spring Creek

Rain was a big help to this drainage. Flows are up substantially. Fishing should be much better below sheridan lake. 

Box Elder Creek

Same story as spring creek. Look for fishing to improve throughout the fishery.


Lake fishing is quite good. Pactola will be the most productive - but it is already getting busy. Pactola has been stocked for the fall. Sheridan lake is very good as well. Anglers will find big fish cruising the shore lines. Likely a mix of recently stocked fish as well as some hold overs. Some of these fish are quite big. The fresh fish won't be picky. Mini Leeches, Balance Leeches, Blobs, and damsel flies are the top flies for Black Hills Lakes. 

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