The fly fishing in the Black Hills has been excellent lately! Rapid Creek and Spearfish Creek are both fishing exceptionally well, and the fall Baetis hatch is just getting started. We fished in the canyon a few days last week and had some good success on BWO dries and droppers. The cooler weather coming up should increase the intensity of the hatch, and the fish will definitely take notice.
Rapid Creek is flowing right around 100 cfs, which is a great flow for nymphing and streamer fishing, and is still low enough that the fish aren't hesitant to come up to the surface. The Pactola Basin project will be getting started on November 1st, which will lower the flows significantly. What does that mean for fishing? Most of us prefer to fish the basin at higher flows - like they are now. 70-100 seems to be the magic number. That being said, the fishing will still be good when the flows lower, we'll just have to adjust our techniques to a slightly more subtle setup. The fishing over the next month is going to be spectacular - BWO's, great nymphing, and the streamer fishing will be outstanding as the browns start to head towards the fall spawn. Right now the Blue Winged Olives are just getting started. I'd expect the hatch to really pop in the next week as the nights start to get a bit cooler, so I wouldn't be without a good selection of duns and emergers in the catch and release area. The nymph fishing has been very good lately. Karl and I had a really good day this week, and we landed some really nice fish on larger nymphs. UV Czechs, G-String Worms, and a variety of smaller baetis droppers did the trick for us. Streamer fishing can produce some really big fish this time of year as well, so don't overlook that. Big flies generally move the largest fish, so throw something big and articulated if you're hunting for a big fall brown.
The BWO hatch in Spearfish Creek has just popped in the past week. The first couple days of this coming week look to be spectacular baetis weather - overcast and rainy. We fished Blue Wings for several hours a couple days ago in the canyon and did well, but the fish definitely aren't pushovers. A good drift, light tippet, and an accurately sized pattern were key. We did well on 20s, but a 22 might have caught us a few extra fish. The fishing in town is very good as well, but it's mostly a nymph game. Larger jigs in a light color and size 12-16 were productive for us, and a Jig Assassin is one of my favorites for Spearfish in town.
We're moving into one of our favorite times to be fishing in the Black Hills - very low pressure, great hatches, and great fishing! Stop by the shop or give us a call for up to date Black Hills fly fishing conditions, or to hire one of our experienced guides for the best fly fishing experience possible. Thanks!