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Fishing Report Archives

May 28


Streamflow - 1400 CFS Temperature - 51° F

     We've had rain on and off throughout the past few days, and that trend will continue through the weekend.  That's not necessarily a deal breaker, as a small bump in the streamflow can be a good thing for fishing this time of year, and the rain itself both gets fish looking up and knocks salmon flies out of the bushes.  Just dress accordingly, and you'll have some great fishing.

     So far, the salmon flies have been spotted up as high as the Microburst (25 miles), and they should be all over the upper stretches by the beginning of next week.  In the meantime, aim for fishing anywhere from 6 miles up to about 20, with the middle portion of that run being the best for salmon fly numbers right now.  I've also heard tell of a few golden stones emerging, but not a large quantity just yet.

     Besides stoneflies, girdle bug and other nymph stones have been doing great when the fish aren't looking up, or you can fish a San Juan worm to great effect right now.  We've also been seeing a few green drakes along the creek as well.  For you streamer fishermen, a JJ Special or a Brown Trout Wonderbugger are getting some nice fish to chase them.

     In all, the water is at an excellent level and the fish are keying in on lots of different patterns, so come hit up Rock Creek this weekend before the masses of fishermen arrive (usually in June)!

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

May 26


Streamflow - 1240 CFS Temperature - 4 F

     The salmon flies have been spotted as high up as Welcome Creek (14 miles) yesterday, and they'll likely be farther up by the end of the day.  They are also starting to fly, and when that happens, the fish really key in on them.  With the Memorial Day weekend behind us, the crowds are way down now.  We also don't have too many floaters just yet, so there are a number of open fishing spots this week if you can make it out, especially during the weekdays.

     My recommendation for the salmon flies is to fish thinner, more low-riding patterns.  The big, bushy flies are easy to see and sit high on the water, but the fish aren't so keen on taking them as the ones that ride lower.  That's one of the reasons the Cat Puke pattern is so effective; the fish see it as a sure meal worth expending the energy to chase.  Besides salmon flies, brown girdle bugs are the hot patterns right now.  If you are in one of the time frames where the fish aren't rising, put on a Pat's Rubber Leg and you should get some bites.

     Overall, the fishing is great right now, and with the streamflow sitting steady and a lack of anglers fishing it, Rock Creek should only get better as the week progresses!

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

May 22


Streamflow - 1210 CFS Temperature - 4 F

     The past couple of days, the salmon flies have been working their way upstream.  We're not sure exactly where they'll end up today, but usually they move up the river quickly after they emerge, especially when the days are warm and sunny like they have been.  If you want to fish the big orange bugs, I'd say for now stay within the first 10 miles of Rock Creek, and fish upstream from the various access points that are located throughout that stretch.

     If you want to still have some great fishing but avoid the salmon fly hysteria, head up farther into the middle and upper sections of Rock Creek.  Stonefly nymphs, San Juan worms, and black or yellow-brown Wonderbuggers are very good subsurface patterns right now.  And as you can see, the streamflow is now below the average for the time of year.  Although it'll likely bump periodically over the next few weeks, it doesn't look like it's going to get into the high 2000s this year.  We will see what that means in the late summer, but for now, that leaves this water in excellent fishing condition.  More when the patterns and conditions change.

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

May 19


Streamflow - 1380 CFS Temperature - 4 F

      Salmon flies have arrived!  This morning we noticed the big orange bugs crawling all over the bushes along lower Rock Creek:


Salmon flies found on lower Rock Creek today! They're here!

Posted by Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

      This week is supposed to be hot and sunny, so the salmon flies should race up the creek pretty quickly.  We'll report their whereabouts as we see them and receive updates from fishermen.  Aside from a large bump in the streamflow a couple days ago, the water has been sitting right near the average (it's actually below it at the moment), but the incoming warm weather will undoubtedly bump it.  Regardless, most of us believe the water isn't going to bump up to truly dangerous levels this year, and as anyone who fishes Rock Creek knows, when it blows out, it doesn't blow out for very long and recovers quickly.

     So get those big bugs ready (or better yet, pick up some of our custom-made patterns!) because Rock Creek is about to get some great dry fly fishing over the next few weeks!

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

May 12


Streamflow - 1060 CFS Temperature - 46° F

    For the first time in a while, we are right near the average streamflow for Rock Creek, which is clear and still wadeable in several spots.  It's also very floatable at this point, though as I always recommend, be sure you are skilled if you decide to row this stream.  You have to constantly be on the lookout for rapids, large rocks, and fallen logs that are peppered throughout the entire river.  Check in with us or the guides for obstructions in the water.  One example is the log that has fallen right above the Tamarack takeout (4 miles upstream from the shop):

The fallen log above the Elkhorn/Tamarack Takeout

     As you can see, there is a section of the log that can currently be floated over, though when the water is lower, it will present a considerable hazard.  My recommendation is to examine the log before you decide to float it and make a judgment call based on your skill level.  The alternative to floating over this is to either take out at Spring Creek a half mile upstream, or you can try going to the left of the log to the small island on the other side of it, and then portaging into the calmer water and the takeout that is right below this obstruction.

     While we still don't have salmon flies, I've heard reports of them hatching on the upper Clark Fork, so their Rock Creek appearance isn't far off.  In the meantime, try some caddis or some attractors for your dries, and use stonefly nymphs, San Juan worms, and either black or yellow/brown streamers.  I went floating on Saturday with some friends, and we did especially well subsurface in the evening:


Good fishing on Rock Creek!

Posted by Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

      There is great fishing to be had on Rock Creek even without the big orange bugs, and with a lack of crowds, it should stay this way until the run-off gets into full swing!  More soon...

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

May 8


Streamflow - 1160 CFS Temperature - 4 F

     The water has remained steady in cfs over the past few days and is clear and fishable (albeit high for wading).  The top nymph recently has been the San Juan worm, so try a few different colors of them (red, purple, pink) and dredge them near the banks.  If you are good with streamers, you can try swinging them or dead drifting them in a similar manner to the worms.

     The forecasted rain never did show up this week, though we are supposed to see some next week...we'll see.  Until then, keep trying those nymphs and large dries near the shoreline.  There are very few people up here in the month of May, so there is a lot of unfished water at the moment.  The salmon fly watch is officially on as well, and we'll update you as soon as we spot them on the bushes here on the lower Creek!

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

May 4


Streamflow - 1180 CFS Temperature - 4 F

      This week we are supposed to receive quite a bit of rain so have streamers and nymphs ready, both of which should be great should you choose to brave the elements!  Keep in mind that the rising streamflow is making wading much more difficult now, but at the same time, the fish are being pushed towards the banks so you don't necessarily have to wade out to reach them anyways.  During runoff season, my recommendation is to stand at a distance from the banks whenever possible and put those flies not far from the shoreline.  This is similar to how the floaters fish their flies but requires more stealth.

     If we get any dry spells during the rainy days, the Mother's Day caddis would be a great dry fly option.  People have been seeing clouds of them flying over the water over the past few days.  In conditions like this, the fish can be hesitant to rise all the way to the surface for them.  If you find this happening, put on either a caddis emerger or a Hare's Ear pattern.  The Hare's Ear has been especially good lately, but I think the emerger will get you into fewer white fish.  More soon.

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

April 29


Streamflow - 892 CFS Temperature - 4 F

      It's been another week of strangely fluctuating weather.  We had cold weather and even snow on Sunday, followed by just shy of 80° on Tuesday.  That unfortunately makes fishing tougher, especially when the temperature varies so wildly.  Fortunately, we are supposed to have some consistent weather in the high 60s and low 70s for the rest of the week, and that will bring some better fishing for the near future. 

     I've heard reports of a few early emerging golden stones, and though it's highly unlikely either them or the salmon flies are here just yet, my guess is the fish will key on several different stonefly patterns, from salmons to goldens to skwalas.  You can also use dark terrestrial patterns like ants or beetles or stimulators with a lot of peacock on them.  When the fish aren't looking at the large dries, try some smaller patterns like March Browns, Mother's Day caddis, or Purple Hazes, as well as the crippled emerger equivalents of these flies.  As for nymphs, I'd start trying larger stonefly patterns as well as various girdle bugs like the Bitch Creek or the Marvin, and then put either a pink worm behind it or a larger Copper John.

     To cap off this report, I thought I'd share a pic that our friend and longtime Merc frequenter Bill sent us of a pretty rainbow he caught over the weekend.  More soon!



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