Black Hills Fly Fishing Report September 7th 2023
The hot hot weather looks to have passed for the most part. Friday looks to be a bit warm, but after that highs in the 60s and 70s. We are happy to see the 90 plus degrees days pass. The cooler weather will bring better fishing for sure. While the core streams didn't suffer to bad from the hot weather, the fishing should pick up. We are seeing better hopper fishing and more craneflies are showing up too. Flows on Rapid Creek, Castle Creek, and Spearfish Creeks are in good shape. Time to get back on the water.
Hot Dry Flies- Hoppers, Craneflies, Ants, Beetles, Chubbys, Caddis, PMDs, Baetis
Nymphs- Rio May it Be, French Nymphs, Frenchies, Zebra Midges
Above Pactola- Not much change, other than cooler weather coming in should make the fishing better. The USGS gauge above Silver City is reading 46 cfs this afternoon. Almost the same as last week. That is a good flow for this time of year. Last year we were 20 cfs lower? Smaller flies and lighter tippet continue to be more important. No need for 6-7x but 5 is a good choice; smaller nymphs may be more important. Fish tungsten nymphs size 14-18 Jig Pheasant Tails, Rio's French Dip, and Frenchies. 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. Hoppers and bigger terrestrials are working better. Releases are the same as last week out of Pactola Reservoir. Fishing directly below the dam is tricky right now. There are good sized fish, but it isn't a numbers game. Fishing can be slow. 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. Saw a few more Craneflies this week.
In town- No significant change from last report. Other than we shouldn't have to worry about water temps in town after Friday. Thank goodness for the cooler daytime highs and cool nights. Smaller flies are working well. Size 16-18 May it Be nymphs. 16-18 Waltz Worms. Dry dropper with a klinkhammer and a small baetis nymph will get it done in most sections in town. Fishing above canyon lake is another good option. Tricos in the morning. Caddis in the evening. Hoppers fishing is picking up. Ants worked well this week. Fingers crossed that we start to see more craneflies in town over this week.
About the same as last week. Flows are down a bit. Coming into Deerfield Lake at 15 cfs, and releases from the dam are down to 15 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.
Also not much change other than a slight drop in flows. Spearfish Creek remains in very good condition. Flows are down slightly since last week. The gauge at Spearfish is at 63.5 cfs today. Fishing can be tricky at times. The fish in slower pools and runs can test your patience and skill. Use longer leaders, light tippet, and small flies. Otherwise cover water and fish the riffles, pockets, and seams. Dry dropper with a chubby or hippie stomper up and a small baetis nymph down will be a good choice. Hopper fishing is picking up. Fishing might be better in the canyon later in the day, rather than first thing in the morning.
Even lower than last week, and likely warmer too. The flows are now at 8 cfs by Keystone. We don't recommending fishing on Spring Creek. It's likely too warm below Sheridan Lake since all the water is surface water flowing over the spillway into the creek.
Box Elder Creek
Box Elder is down to 16 cfs from 18 cfs near Nemo. Luckily the cooler temps will help Box Elder this coming week. Fishing should pick back up, best fishing will likely be above Nemo.
Wait a few days for the cooler weather to help the surface temps come down. Fishing should pick up in the coming week. With decreased boat traffic, fishing on Pactola will pick up. Deerfield is another great option. Having a boat or pontoon boat will open up more opportunities on the larger reservoirs. Sinking Lines with a slow retrieve will produce the best results. Mini Leeches, Balance Leeches, Blobs, and damsel flies are the top flies for Black Hills Lakes.