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Rock Creek Fishing Report - April 14, 2022

CFS: 394 Water Temp: 33-40°F

Dries: Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, March Brown

Nymphs: Perdigon, Jumpin' Jack Flash, TJ Hooker, Copper John


We are almost a month into spring, and with the exception of a few nice days, it's felt more like extended winter. That is the way of Montana sometimes, but it is amazing how particularly cold it's been the past few weeks. As I write this, the air temp outside is 19°F. We had warmer days two months ago in February. The only thing I can say about the weather this year is that is completely erratic and unpredictable. While in the long run it will help with late spring and early summer fishing, it has slowed down the production on Rock Creek for the present.

This is not to say the fishing has been BAD. On the contrary, last week we had a warm spell that saw some amazing trout being caught, albeit mostly on nymphs. One of our signature patterns, the Jumpin' Jack Flash was the lights-out pattern for several fishermen:

My best advice would be to fish big nymphs when it's warmer, and smaller nymphs when it's colder. The past few days, the best patterns have been size 14 to 18 patterns like Perdigons, Copper Johns, and TJ Hookers, which is the newest pattern to grace our fly bins:

The nice thing about these patterns (as well as other jig nymphs) is they get down quickly to the riverbed, where many of these trout are holding when the water temps are as cold as they are. Lately, I have been recommending double-nymph rigs with a tungsten jig as your lead and a smaller/lighter nymph in tow, such as a San Juan worm or a pheasant tail. This combination removes the need for extra split shot and creates a direct line from indicator to the initial fly.

As for dry flies, there are occasional hatches on the water, even with it being this cold, but the fish simply aren't rising to the occasion (pun intended). Your best bet if you want to catch fish on dries is to wait for the warmest part of the day, and try attractor patterns like Parachute Adams and Purple Hazes. You could also try a dry/dropper rig of a skwala stone with a small nymph riding under it. Thus far though, this hasn't been an overly productive method of fly fishing Rock Creek this year. I hope that changes soon, but until the weather warms up on a consistent basis, it's best to stick with subsurface fishing, be that nymphs or streamers.

More to come as conditions change. Stay tuned and happy fishing!

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