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Fishing Conditions

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Fishing Report Archives


April 29

     Today is one of those truly unique days.  Rock Creek is clear, the cfs is actually right near normal for the time of year, it is an absolutely gorgeous day out....and there isn't a fisherman to be seen.  I'm a little blown away at how quiet it is out here today, and there aren't even vehicles going up the road.  If you're reading this, and you have the afternoon/evening free, I highly recommend coming up here and trying some fishing, it should be a great day for it.

     Keep the nymphs handy, but be on the lookout for some dry fly action this week.  Skwalas, March Browns, and attractors like the Purple Haze should hunt really well over the next few days.  If it gets as warm as it's supposed to get towards the end of the week, the streamflow will bump, but for the time being, it is in excellent condition, so come on out!

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 26

     Despite a fair amount of rain the past few days, Rock Creek has maintained a streamflow averaging around 1000 cfs.  It's been especially rainy today, so we'll see if that bumps the river over the next couple of days.  In the meantime, people are fishing close to shore and dropping nymphs and streamers and still catching fish.

     For those who are thinking about floating the lower stretch (Lower Fire Ring to Elkhorn), a tree recently fell across the water between Solomon Fishing access and Spring Creek, which is right above the Elkhorn takeout.  Longtime friend and fisherman Terry Heffernan sent me a photo of the obstruction:


     I will try to get some shots of the far side to see if rafts could be portaged around it, but for the time being, use extreme caution if you decide to do the lower float.  Expect more pics in the next couple days.  Stay safe out there, and stay tuned!

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 24

     Yesterday, for the first time of the year, the streamflow jumped over 1000 cfs.  The coloring of the water still isn't that bad, but it's going to be a fight to catch fish right now no matter where you go.  When the water gets to this level, your best bet is to find shorelines and side channels that fish will escape to, or calmer sections protected by large rocks or logs.  While you might still get a fish to look at the occasional dry stonefly or attractor, nymphs and streamers are easily the best option at the moment.  The flashier or more brightly colored, the better.

     Keep in mind that any break in the weather can very quickly normalize conditions on the creek.  While I doubt we will get back down to wading levels for awhile, the creek can be fished without having to set foot in the water.  Floating season will be another option, but check with your local guides and outfitters first if you plan on going out, as new water hazards can form at any time.

     More when conditions change.

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 18

     What a difference a couple days makes!  It was a very busy morning in the shop, and everyone who came in said the dry fly fishing was fantastic the past few days.  Both skwalas and mayflies like March Browns and BWOs were getting fish to come up and roll for them, and even the Purple Haze has been a success early in the fishing season.

     Whether or not this trend continues remains to be seen since we are supposed to get some warmer weather again (and thus another bump in the cfs), but for the moment, the dry fly fishing is here and doing extremely well!  Aim for early afternoon and fish until they stop rising, which from what I've been hearing is ranging from 4:30 to 5:30.  Nymphs, of course, are a great option as well, and stick to the usual suspects with subsurface patterns.

     So come on out while the fishing is this good!  My guess is today and Saturday will be productive, and then Easter Sunday will probably see the bump in the streamflow and things will slow down again for a period of time.  As always, I will keep you updated on the goings on of Rock Creek, so stay tuned!

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net


April 16

     The river is coming back into shape nicely and regaining a lot of its clarity.  There is still very little dry fly fishing to be had, but the nymphs and streamers have been catching trout.  I've been touting the Jumping Jack Flash recently, but the pink San Juan is also really solid right now.  I took a couple fly fishing newbies out on Sunday, and though at that point it was tough going, we were getting hits on the pink worm especially:

Me displaying my awesome fishing and flannel-wearing skills You can listen to Charene on 
KYSS FM in the mornings
Abbie's first fish on a fly rod!

     As for the next few days, Thursday and Friday are supposed to get some rain, and if you can make it out when it's actually drizzling, that should be great for more nymphing and streamer fishing (and perhaps some mayflies if it warms up at all).  So if you have some free time in the next couple of days, dress warm and dry, and come on out and give it a shot!  Stick with the pink San Juans and Jumping Jacks, but also try some JJ Specials/Yellow Wonderbuggers or other bright-colored streamers.  More in a few days.

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 12

     The recent bump in streamflow has scared away almost all the anglers, which is a shame because there are still fish being caught on the Creek.  While the dry fly action has come to a stand still due to water levels, the nymphing is still very productive.  For the most part, stick to either big nymphs or bright, flashy ones.  Girdle bugs and pink San Juan worms have been very good.

     The best fly, however, has been one that we've carried in the shop for several years now.  It's called the Jumpin' Jack Flash, and it is one of the most effective nymphs I've ever seen.  They are tied locally in Missoula and are specific to our shop.  Think of it as a mix between a prince nymph and a soft hackle fly.  When fish are being picky, this is a great go-to pattern to tie on.  Drop it deep and bounce it on the riverbed, and you'll get some takers, even in water conditions like these.


For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 9

     If you have been looking at the streamflow the past couple of days, you'll notice Rock Creek has jumped exponentially in cubic feet per second.  It is currently sitting at 930 cfs, up from 350 just two days ago.  The past two days were very warm for the time of year, which caused the bump.  This is likely going to happen whenever we have a sudden increase in temperature, because our snowpack this year is tremendous.  Hopefully some of the runoff will happen earlier in the year, which would make it less of a problem in the next couple of months, but we will have to wait and see on that. 

     Fortunately, it looks like the warmest weather is behind us for the time being.  It's currently 40 degrees and raining as I type this, and the cfs should level out if not start to decline again.  I'd probably give it a couple of days before trying to fish here right now, but if you're feeling bold, put on a bright streamer or some big and ugly nymph and give it a shot.  More in a couple days.

Thanks to Clay for submitting his fish pics!  Clay described his day in his e-mail:

"I have a picture of a nice one I caught up at Sawmill downstream a bit from the parking lot, about 1:30pm on a brown rubberlegs about size 18, red San Juan worm same size for a trail or about 14" down. I also had to increase the weight and  leader length to about twelve feet just to get to them. There are two pics same fish, the size didn't look right so I snapped another one closer. Caught 14 fish that day in that stretch of water."


For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 7

     Fishing has been good the past few days, and traffic has been relatively steady (although nothing like it will be in June).  Most people are getting on the water in the early afternoon and fishing until the early evening.  While nymphing is still the most effective type of fishing right now, there are more reports of skwalas during the warmer days, so have some green stonefly patterns ready just in case.  When it gets overcast or rainy, you'll also have a good chance of seeing March browns and blue-winged olives, and fishing with them is great this time of year.

     To vary up these reports, I thought it might be interesting to add in some pictures of fish caught on Rock Creek throughout the year.  So if you have ventured up here and had some luck, send me evidence and as many details as you wish to divulge (pattern, location, time, etc), and I will post them at the end of my reports.  Hopefully, we'll see some great shots of some Rock Creek hogs!

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

April 3

     The "Lost Boys" are back on Rock Creek for spring fishing, and they've sighted March Browns and Skwalas flying from time to time.  It's still not into the full swing of things yet, but it'll only get better as we move into April.  Stonefly nymphs have also been active, so any pattern that represents them will do very well.  A double-beaded stonefly or prince nymph with a San Juan trailer has been especially effective.

     Streamers are also a great option right now.  One of our locals noted that stripping them through shallow to medium depth waters was the best approach, and he stripped them very slowly as the fish are still a little on the sluggish side.  Go for darker colors like black, brown, or olive, especially if there is a lot of sunshine.

     Overall, things are looking pretty good here, and there still aren't a lot of people out fishing this area.  The middle section of Rock Creek is still in rough shape due to ice ruts and wet/muddy conditions, but it gets a little better every day and people are starting to venture farther up the road.  Just use caution and good judgment if you want to try it...and having a solid rig certainly doesn't hurt!

For more details or any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us: (406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net