Montana's Rock Creek is located in
the Lolo National Forest. Lolo is known for its terrain ranging from
the gentle to the rugged, where you'll find snow-peaked
mountains, vast wilderness, sheer, granite cliffs and
canyons but most importantly cold trout waters. The river flows northwesterly through a magnificent canyon with
mountain ranges rising up on either side.
Creek", riffles, fast runs and huge rocks.
The drive into
the canyon is a slow one. The road is narrow and runs along Rock
Creek's meandering waters. These waters with shallow riffles,
fast runs, undercut banks, isolated channels, vegetation mats,
deadfall structures, boulders the size of cars and holding pools. As
you continue the drive, you'll notice the setting doesn't change
very much. The first few miles you may see four or five
anglers fishing this stretch. Most of them will be first timers on
Rock Creek. The others, probably fly fishing junkies getting their
fix prior to a day's work. For nearly thirty miles it's the same.
One must simply chose where you want to start fishing.
Creek is ideal for the avid fisherman, both novices and experts. It's a
place that challenges "fly fishing" skills and where you
new techniques. The fish are smart
and they utilize
obstacles quite affectively. Sometimes landing them becomes
and adventure in itself. Doug Pericos from Rock Creek Mercantile
Fly Shop swears it's the slipperiest river he's ever been on. With that
said, it's advisable to wear
waders or shoes with felt or cleat soles. Rock Creek is
best known for it's consistency at providing fishermen
with steady action throughout the season and it is wadeable most of
the season. The river supports an amazing number of trout and
an even more amazing number of trout fishermen. For the local
Missoulians, it is a favorite Blue-Ribbon stream, since it is
only twenty two miles east of Missoula. The fish populations are
reasonably high with many fish in the 13" to 18" range
with a few lurking bruts.
but grins when you land one this size.
The river has good, solid hatches of
mayfly and caddis throughout the year, and excellent dry fly fishing
after runoff. To catch the bigger
trout, educated fishermen match the hatches with the smaller
flies( fish with nymphs, emergers, and wet flies; or try innovative
patterns). Rock Creek is busiest
in June and early July as anglers chase the salmonfly hatch.
This however is not the best time to fish Rock Creek. Many guides
state that the best fishing is autumn when the big browns move from
Clark Fork into Rock Creek to spawn.
Cutthroat, Brown, Bull Trout, White Fish
Caddis, Stoneflies, Leadwing Olive, Gray Drake, Brown Drake, Green
Drake, Pale Morning Duns
Tackle & Gear: For
most fishing on the Rock Creek an eight to nine foot, four or
five-weight rod is a good choice.
Rock Creek (near Clinton)
from its mouth to the confluence of the East and West forks, Open
third Saturday in May through November 30. Exceptions below follows
- 3 brown trout, none over 12 inches.
- Catch-and-release for cutthroat and
- Artificial lures only, except
anglers 12 years of age and younger may use bait.
- Extended season for whitefish and
catch-and-release for trout open December 1 to third Saturday
in May with aquatic insects, maggots, and/or artificial lures
- Closed to fishing from boats July 1
through November 30.
Note: Whirling disease has
been found in Rock Creek and has affected some rainbow trout. The
extent of damage is still undetermined. Please contacted Montana
Fish and Game for more information.