Rock Creek
Hatch Informaiton

Rock Creek

Seasonal Hatches on Rock Creek

Rock Creek has a solid March brown drake hatch in April. During this hatch, due mainly to weather, fishing pressure is relatively light. The March brown drake hatch tends to be of short duration each day, lasting for only an hour or two. However, if an angler is able to be on the water when the hatch comes off, they are likely to experience excellent fishing. Suggested flies include the March Brown Drake, Sparkle Dun and Pheasant Tail Nymph, sized 12-16.

The Salmonfly Hatch

The Salmonfly hatch occurs every spring and is without question the wildest hatch on the river. Rock Creek becomes over-run with anglers during the hatch; so don't come here with hopes of having the river to yourself. Of course, the reason all these anglers are here is because the hatch, when it comes off, is quite a spectacle.

Scenic valley on upper Rock Creek
Photo Use Guidelines

The hatch typically begins in mid-May to early June, frequently during the height of spring run-off. The hatch begins on the lower stretch of Rock Creek, and usually makes its way up the river at a pace of three to five miles a day. Nymph imitations are the fly of choice, particularly on the lower stretch of river, which is frequently turbid. Top water fly fishing can be done with fair success on the far upper stretch where the river tends to flow clear even during spring run-off.

To catch the larger trout during the Salmonfly hatch, an anglers' goal is to present a stonefly nymph imitation that imitates stone fly nymphs crawling to shore. Use large nymphs (size 2 to 8), heavily weighted, on a sink tip line with strong tippets. Short leaders may also be used, and are suggested, when the river is turbid. While there are many nymph imitations that may be used, a Montana Stone, Bitch Creek and a Kaufmanns Stone all work well during the Salmonfly hatch.

The hatch can also be fished, with some success, on dry flies on the far upper reaches of the river where the river runs clear. Elk Hair Salmon Flies, Sofa Pillows and various large stimulator patterns can be used. However, the Salmonfly hatch is primarily a nymph event. Top water fishing will catch fish, but the fish will not be as big nor is the angler likely to catch as many when compared to using large nymphs.

Brown trout waters on lower Rock Creek
Photo Use Guidelines

When fly fishing with nymphs during the Salmonfly hatch, one technique that works well is to cast the nymph upstream and then crawl it along the bottom towards the bank. Depending on river flows, this can be moderately easy to down right difficult, but will consistently catch the larger fish on Rock Creek. To do this successfully, the nymph needs to be "on the bottom," so it is important to heavily weight nymph imitations, particularly in fast water.

An angler does not have to fish the hatch itself to be able to take full benefit of the Salmonfly hatch on Rock Creek. Fishing right before and right after the hatch works as well, even sometimes better, than fishing during the hatch. As an added benefit, many of crowds are gone as well, reducing fishing pressure and allowing for a more relaxing day of fishing.

Other Summer and Fall Hatches on Rock Creek

Following the Salmonfly hatch, Rock Creek has a solid Golden Stone hatch, typically beginning in late June and lasting through July. Standard stonefly patterns, such as the Montana Stone and the Golden Stone, sized 4-8, work well.

During the height of summer, fishing top water with standard dry flies begins to work well. Fishing on top with Elk Hair Caddis and Adams flies may not pull in the largest fish, which are found in the deep pools. However, during the caddis and mayfly hatches that occur during the summer, fishing on top is a wonderful way to pull in lots of fish in the 14-inch range. With the wide variety of water conditions, the Rock Creek provides a wonderful place for a dry fly angler.

Terrestrial fishing is also solid during the summer. While terrestrials are not as abundant as on rivers such as the Beaverhead, Bitterroot or the Big Hole, terrestial imitations such as hoppers and ants can provide for solid fishing during July and August. A helpful hint : always bring plenty of hopper for a Montana fly fishing trip in July or August.

Fall provides excellent fly fishing for brown trout on the lower stretch of Rock Creek. During the fall, brown trout move out of the Clark Fork in large numbers and head upstream. Streamers should be used when fishing for these browns, swimming them right along the bottom near the banks and through the holes. The fishing pressure is not nearly as high during the fall, so the fish tend to be somewhat less skittish and spooky. For the angler who likes to chase large brown trout with streamers, Rock Creek is an excellent destination during the fall.

Next Page : Floating Information for Rock Creek


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