Black Hills Fly Fishing Report September 22nd 2023

Black Hills Fly Fishing Report September 22nd 2023


Black Hills Fly Fishing Report September 22nd 2023

Rain this weekend. It rained fairly heavy this morning and we are forecasted to get more tonight and a chance again on Saturday. Streamflows are in good shape on Rapid Creek, Castle Creek, and Spearfish Creek. A bit of rain will do them all good. The past several weeks have been a bit dry, so it was time for a freshening up.  

Hot Dry Flies- Hoppers, Craneflies, Ants, Beetles, Chubbys, Caddis, PMDs, Baetis

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

Black Hills Streamflow Data is available here

Rapid Creek 

Above Pactola- Flows are down from last week as of right now. Maybe the rain will bump flows up overnight. As of right now The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 49 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 - Not much change from last week, flows are up just a tick from the last report. Hoppers and bigger terrestrials are working better. Releases are the same as last week out of Pactola Reservoir. Fishing immediately below the dam continues to be quality over quantity. 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. Craneflies continue to show up. Cloud cover should make the Baetis hatch a bit stronger.

In town- NO major changes as flows have remained steady. The rain could drive a slight increase in fish activity, and we may see more Baetis hatching in the afternoons. Good fishing in town this past week and that should continue into next week. Tricos continue to hatch in the morning. Small baetis later in the afternoon. Seeing more and more craneflies. Fingers crossed we see many more craneflies. The fish go crazy for them. 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. 

Castle Creek

No major changes, even if flows have changed slightly. Coming into Deerfield Lake up to 17 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. 

Spearfish Creek

No Major Changes. Flows are down just slightly from last week. The gauge at Spearfish is at 58 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. 

Spring Creek

Need plenty of rain to get things going again on Spring Creek. Flows dropped over the past week and are down to around 10 cfs by Keystone. While the added flows and cooler temps have probably helped spring creek, it might not be the best option for fishing. The last few weeks of hot weather have not helped the conditions there. 

Box Elder Creek

Box Elder dropped a bit. This stream could use a good shower or two. Flows are down to 16 cfs by Nemo. Fishing is probably fair above Nemo. 


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. 

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