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Rock Creek Fishing Report - Smoke on the Water - July 29, 2021

CFS: 331

Water Temp: 60-68°F

Dries: Hoppers/Ants/Beetles, Purple Attractors, Spruce Moths, Crippled Emergers

Nymphs: Green Copper John, Pat's Rubber Leg, Hare's Ears


This summer has been beastly hot, creating a multitude of poor water conditions and fishing restrictions across Montana. Fortunately, Rock Creek hasn't had any closures at this point in time. The highest water temp we've seen the past few weeks has been about 69°F, which is not great by any means, but not quite up to hoot owl restriction levels. I have been heavily stressing that anglers do their fishing in the mornings and giving the fish a rest during the mid-afternoons and early evenings, when the water is at its warmest.

The other problem we've seen recently is the amount of smoke in the air. It seems like this is a yearly trend now; the last half of summer, the smoke hangs around like fog. Rock Creek isn't quite as bad as other spots for smoke, but there is a constant haze and it isn't a great situation for people with respiratory issues:

Now with all that being said...if you don't mind some smoke and are fine with fishing primarily in the morning (or late evening on a cooler day) you can still have some good days of fishing on Rock Creek. The purple haze still reigns supreme, but its nymph and Chubby Chernobyl counterparts have also been producing well:

Besides the purple attractors, we've been seeing a lot of terrestrials out. Medium-sized grasshoppers, ants and beetles have been good patterns, especially with small beadhead droppers trailing a couple feet behind them. Spruce moths have been out, but their numbers aren't what they have been in past years. Whether or not they explode in population this season remains to be seen, but so far the reports on fishing them have been mixed.

Another good fishing option is to do a double nymph rig of something big like a double-bead prince or a Pat's rubber leg with a smaller nymph in tow, like a Copper John or Perdigon. Also, despite the lower water levels, the streamer fishing has been producing well, so try some of your wooly bugger and sculpin patterns as well. The fishing has definitely been more work as of late, but with the crowds relatively low thanks to the smoke and hot weather, there are opportunities for the angler who's willing to venture up Rock Creek.

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