Black Hills Fly Fishing Report October 6th 2023
Fall is here. Colors are changing around the hills. Highest elevations may be at peak, but there is still green down lower. We may get first frost of the year tonight in Rapid City. Fishing Remains good. Not much change since the last report. We are still seeing hoppers, ants, beetles, and craneflies. Big Dries will still work. Hatches have hung on. Some tricos in town. Small psuedocleons (really tiny BWOs) continue to hatch. We should start seeing more fall Baetis anytime. Weather looks clear and sunny for the next week. Great time to be out fishing.
Hot Dry Flies- Hoppers, Craneflies, Ants, Beetles, Chubbys, Caddis, PMDs, Baetis
Nymphs- Jig SF Olive or Rusty, French Nymphs, Frenchies, Zebra Midges
Above Pactola- Flows are down just slightly from last week as of right now. Otherwise not much change. The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 47.5 cfs this afternoon. This is a good flow for this time of year. Fish tungsten nymphs size 14-18 Jig Pheasant Tails, Tung Teasers, Rio's French Dip, and Frenchies. Hoppers have also produced. Try some with Red Legs! 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 down from 60cfs to 47cfs from the reservoir, dry fly fishing should pick up over the next week. Hoppers and bigger terrestrials are working better. Fishing immediately below the dam continues to be quality over quantity. Hunt for your target but don't expect lots of fish. Baetis nymphs, and midge larva patterns have proved effective. Afternoons are seeing hatches of Baetis primarily, there may be an odd PMD still hatching. Best chances at dry fly fishing will be after 1 pm. Hoppers, crickets, and beetles are good searching flies. Craneflies are around. As the flows drop the fish will be concentrated in the deeper pools and runs.
In town- Flows down a bit with the decrease in releases, fishing was quite good this past week. Good fishing will continue, the stable weather pattern is a plus. Tricos continue to hatch in the morning, but should be about done. Small baetis later in the afternoon. Craneflies are hanging around. Hopefully they are around for another week or two. Dry dropper is a great option through most of town. Some of the deeper pools above Canyon Lake need a deeper nymphing rig. Search with a small hopper and dropper or a chubby chernobyl dropper. Skating a cranefly pattern will likely bring a few explosive takes.
No major changes, even if flows have changed slightly. Coming into Deerfield Lake up to 15 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.
No big changes. Minor decrease in stream flows. The gauge at Spearfish is at 55 cfs today. Dry Dropper with a chubby chernobyl or hippie stomper is a great way to cover most of the water in the canyon. Hoppers are working below the canyon and through town. Some of the slower runs and pools in the canyon are tough fishing. Fish light tippet and small flies for the best success there. Or try later in the day when there may be more bug activity. Small Baetis are hatching in the afternoons. Baetis hatches should thicken and become more reliable this week.
Cooler weather should help the stream below Sheridan Lake. However stream flows are quite low. Best fishing will be in the deepest pools.
Box Elder Creek
Stream flows are holding more steady than on Spring Creek. Flows are reading 13 cfs by Nemo. Better fishing opportunites above Nemo, although deeper pools downstream will pick up as stream temps drop.
Pactola will be the most productive - but it is already getting busy. Pactola has been stocked for the fall. 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. Other lakes to try as things have cooled down - Deerfield, Center, Sylvan, and Sheridan near the inlet.