Ever since we opened almost 15 years ago, one of the questions
I'm asked most frequently is "When is the best fishing around
here?" My answer invariably is late March and early
April. And I'm serious when I say that. Late March is magic
around here even if the weather is cold and snowy, like it is
this year. Sometime in early March, the larger fish wake up
and smell the coffee. They come out of winter mode and take an
interest in feeding. Until the hatches start and we get some
dry fly fishing, they hang on the bottom and suck up
closer to the end of March, we start to get insect hatches.
First, there is the March Brown. This mayfly starts emerging
in late March and can continue until almost the end of April.
It is a good sized mayfly. We tie our imitations on size 14
hooks. The hatch usually occurs in the afternoon and fishing
can be truly spectacular. In my opinion, March Browns are the
best hatch we get all year. The fish are ready to take dries
and will really smack your parachute or emerger pattern. And,
because the water is still cold, the smaller fish are not yet
active. On a decent day, an average angler can catch six to
ten fish and the average size of these fish will be about 15
after the March Brown, we start seeing Skwala stoneflies. Our
hatch is not as prolific or as famous as the Skwala hatch on
the Bitteroot, but it has gotten better and better over the
past few years, until it is now a major hatch on the creek.
Put it together with the March Browns and you have what I
consider the best fishing of the entire year.
year after year, these hatches come and go with almost nobody
taking advantage of them. There are, of course, a few people
who have seen the light and make this time one of their most
important fishing trips of the season. But, the vast majority
of the people I talk to continue to come in July and August
even after they have asked me several times what's the best
time to fish the creek and I've told them several times to
come in late March and early April.
never been able to figure out why people listen to me tell
them about early season fishing year after year, nod sagely
when I recommend they come in early spring, tell me they'll
see me next March or April then appear the following August.
I'm not kidding people, right now until the end of April is
the best fishing we'll have all year and nobody, except a few
local fishermen, is taking advantage of it. Even the vast
majority of our local anglers are floating the Bitteroot,
looking for Skwalas. Read Rant 1 and you'll get my views on
floating. In any case almost all of you are passing up the
very best fishing Rock Creek has to offer. I'd really
like to know why those of you who actually read these rants
can't be talked into coming out for the best fishing Rock
Creek has to