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Fishing Report Archives

May 31, 2016

Streamflow - 1300 CFS Temperature - 48-54° F

       It was a very good weekend for salmon fly fishing on Rock Creek.  The bugs were in large clusters on the lower to middle sections of the water, and fish have been coming up for them eagerly.  The salmon flies are already moving their way up and will be most numerous in the middle to upper sections as we progress into June.  We should also be seeing golden stones very soon, which is arguably the more productive hatch.  Like their salmon fly relatives, the golden stones will start down here on the lower end of the creek and work their way upstream.

      We are supposed to have lots of sunshine and hot weather for the rest of this week, so fishing Rock Creek should be excellent!  If you want to float, make sure whoever is rowing is either familiar with this water or skilled on the oars, because Rock Creek is a very technical stream.  If you are planning a trip, give us a call at the Merc, and we can tell you about whatever logs in the water you may have to deal with.  The War Zone below Siria campground is the biggest headache, but even that is passable if you plan accordingly. 

     We are now open until 7PM here at the shop, so be sure to stop in and get some great salmon fly patterns for the Creek!  More soon.

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 26, 2016

Streamflow - 1500 CFS Temperature - 48-50° F

       Yesterday was a mix of sunshine and clouds, but it was warm enough to bring the salmon flies back out.  There are a huge number of them this year; they were crawling all over the grass and bushes down in the Valley of the Moon / Governor's Hole area, and some were even beginning to fly.  We still aren't sure exactly how far up they have gone, but it looks to be a very strong salmon fly (and hopefully golden stone) hatch this year!

     Despite the good water, we haven't seen many fishermen.  I suspect most people are waiting for consistently sunny weather before heading out, but we've had some solid nymph fishing this week in the clouds and rain, so I would recommend trying a large salmon fly dry with a small stonefly or San Juan worm dropper and seeing what you can catch; I doubt you'll be disappointed. 

     More soon. 


Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 23, 2016

Streamflow - 1720 CFS Temperature - 45-47° F

     The weather has been continuously rainy for the past several days, and the salmon fly hatch has been put down temporarily because of it.  However, they are still working their way upstream since the initial hatch, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them quite a distance up the road as soon as we get our next sunny day.

     In the meantime, the nymphing and streamer game has been excellent.  Despite the rain and the shifting streamflows, Rock Creek has been greating some great sub-surface fishing and has maintained its clarity throughout the past week.  You could also try a Green Drake or a Blue Winged Olive in these types of conditions, and I would suspect a fish might even start taking a salmon fly dry even in this weather.

     If you're willing to brave the cooler, wetter weather, come on up to Rock Creek and try some fishing before the fleet of rafts arrive!    

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 20, 2016

Streamflow - 1890 CFS Temperature - 47-50° F

     Log Jams

     Here are some of the logs we have received/taken pictures of so far this year.  More to come soon.  Please check out our Facebook page for more information on these logs:


Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 20, 2016

Streamflow - 1890 CFS Temperature - 47-50° F

     Salmon flies have been put under the rocks during these rainy days, although we are supposed to have some warm days ahead as well, and that will undoubtedly get them moving, so check those weather reports and be ready to fish the big orange bugs when it's not rainy. 

     Even in the rain, you can still have some good production with the nymphing and streamer game, and with the colder, wetter weather chasing most fly fishermen away, there is plenty of open river to fish at the moment.  The Jumpin' Jack Flash has been easily the most productive nymph thus far, but you can also have some good luck with prince nymphs, San Juan worms, girdle bugs, or even a drowned salmon fly pattern.  It would also be a good time to try a rainbow or brown trout Wonderbugger.

     The rain bumped the streamflow up almost 400 cfs in a day, so be careful of wading conditions and stick primarily to shore fishing if you come out.  For you floaters, there are a couple new logs in the river to keep in mind.  We have a map in the store where we can point these out, and I am working on gathering pictures and descriptions of each (thank you to everyone who has submitted pics) and should have pictures both here and on Facebook soon.      

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 18, 2016

Streamflow - 1340 CFS Temperature - 48-52° F

     They're here!  There were lots of salmon flies on the bushes when I checked this morning.  We've had decent, warm weather the past couple of days and that made the full hatch finally pop!  While we are supposed to get some rain over the next few days, the salmon flies will slowly start appearing farther up Rock Creek. 

     Surprisingly, there have been very few people up here during the decent weather to take advantage of the good conditions.  I suspect most people were waiting for salmon flies to come out before heading up here, but honestly, it's been good fishing with nymphs up here this week.  Everybody will focus on the big orange bugs now, but keep in mind there is still excellent fishing with a variety of nymphs and streamers too.

     The next several days are supposed to be colder and rainier, and that will inevitably put the salmon flies down during that time.  Still, it is time to get ready and prepare for a great month of fishing stonefly dries on Rock Creek!  We have a full stock of various salmon fly and golden stone patterns, many of which are exclusive to our shop, so be sure to come in and check out our flies!  Also, we are now opening from 7 AM to 7 PM Monday thru Saturday to catch the early morning fishermen and the evening fishers/beer drinkers, so stop on in!

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 16, 2016

Streamflow - 1470 CFS Temperature - 45-49° F

     So I have a confession...I actually did see one salmon fly down here on Friday.  However, it was ONLY one salmon fly in a whole row of bushes, and for the fish to get on them, the main hatch has to occur.  I would be very surprised if that didn't happen this week however, so start gearing up. 

     As you can see, the water level has steadily dropped, but that is primarily due to the cold weather we have seen here the past several days.  There is still quite a bit of snow in our mountains that has yet to melt, so as soon as we have some warmer days, the water will bump.  As I mention every year though, Rock Creek is sort of an anomaly when it comes to high water.  As long as it isn't steadily climbing, it regains its clarity and "fishability" within a day or two.  I am anticipating another great year for fishing with salmon flies and golden stones!

     If you are looking to fish now, your best bet is going to be with nymphs and streamers.  One client did especially well on our Jumpin' Jack Flash yesterday, and I would add either a San Juan or a Girdle Bug to improve your odds even more.  Soon, the fleet of boats will arrive on Rock Creek, so if that isn't your cup of tea and you want to get some good nymphing in before it arrives, now is the time to come out!

     The salmon fly watch continues...


Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 12, 2016

Streamflow - 1620 CFS Temperature - 43-48° F

     The water has come down even more since yesterday, and it's gaining a lot of clarity again.  Starting today, we are supposed to have more weather in the 60s and 70s, so we will have to see how much it bumps the water, but as long as it's not blazingly hot temperatures, Rock Creek should fare well over the next few days.

     As for fishing yesterday, it was slow overall, but we did have a number of hits, mostly on San Juan worms.  My friend Charene, who hosts the morning show at KYSS FM in Missoula, caught a whopper of a fish.  At first, we thought it was a giant brown or bull trout as we saw flashes of this beast in the water.  However, when we pulled it out....

     Looking on the bright side...at least we didn't get skunked! 

     Salmon fly watch continues.  More soon!

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 11, 2016

Streamflow - 1760 CFS Temperature - 42-46° F

     They say if you don't like the weather in Montana, just wait fifteen minutes.  Such has been the case the past couple of days, which have been more reminiscent of a typical Montana spring.  We had a cold rain all day Monday as well as chillier, sometimes rainy conditions on Tuesday as well.  I also read that this weather added to the snowpack in our surrounding mountains which can only help streamflows for the rest of the summer.

     The other benefit to the cold days is that Rock Creek's cfs has come down and the river has begun to clear a little.  This should spell some decent fishing until the next big heat wave.  For the most part, I would throw nymphs at them, with a girdle bug and a San Juan dropper being my favorite combination.  I would also try some streamers in this bigger water; try dead-drifting and swinging various patterns.

     I am headed out fishing after work today and will let you all know how it went tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net

May 9, 2016

Streamflow - 2000 CFS Temperature - 48-53° F

     Hello fishermen!  John here; I am back in action at the Rock Creek Mercantile and will be doing the reports much more frequently from here on out.  I apologize for not having these up more frequently, but living in the Flathead over the winter kept me busy.  I look forward to another season of fishing reports, pictures, and all-around fishing shenanigans!

     May has started off a little rough; the hot spring has brought runoff season here earlier than usual.  Still, it has been a gradual increase, and it doesn't look like we will have any crazy level of streamflows this year, so as soon as the salmon flies emerge, the river should immediately be in good floating condition. 

     I do stress that you always check in with us or the local fishing guides before setting out on the water though; as there are potentially new log jams during runoff season.  One such example is the popular lower float from Lower Fire Ring to the Tamarack Takeout near Elkhorn.  One of my floating friends reported a new log going across the water created by a beaver this spring.  I will get pictures and details in the next few reports.

     As for patterns, there have been some sightings of Green Drakes here and there, and I would also try Skwala patterns or various Chubby Chernobyls with San Juan or Stonefly droppers.  It is also a good time to try streamer patterns, such as our Wonderbugger or a Sparkle Minnow, either in Rainbow or Brown trout colors.

     The Salmon Fly watch has officially begun, and we will report on them as soon as we see them on the bushes on lower Rock Creek!  It should be another great spring for fishing Rock Creek!  More soon.

Questions or comments?  Please call or e-mail us:
(406) 825-6440 / rcmerc@blackfoot.net