Getting on the water well ahead of the hatch is a good idea. We arrived on the Beaverhead at the normal spot only to find another fly fisher in the eddy. The fishing is never technical up here, but this time of year, after a month where the fish have seen a fair number of offerings, can require reach-casts and longer leaders. Bighorn sheep strut their stuff in neighbor’s yards. Follow us. I looked around and found I was looking too far away. Peak foliage occurs mid-October. Perhaps we should have tried a few more spots and stayed another day. We fished a couple of areas, one on the West Fork and another below Hamilton. No doubt. On the heels of the salmon fly hatch, an equally prolific golden stone hatch keeps big cutthroat trout and brown trout active through June. The Rock Creek Valley is beautiful year round. When we lived in north Idaho (CDA & Sandpoint) we often fished Rock Creek. Big whitetail bucks frequent apples trees while black bears bulk up on choke cherries along the creek bottom. By July (and the end of floating season on Rock Creek) the water is usually on the steep drop, and the upper end, characterized by long, deeply cut grass banks that are often unfishable in big water, come into their own. The sign says it’s 41 miles from the bridge to I-90. Rock Creek from the Jordan Knott bridge. Immediately ahead of the hatch small nymphs and emergers work well. Rock Creek, especially its upper end, fishes well throughout the winter. If you believe a vacation is a mix of fishing, fine dining, and relaxing, October could be your perfect month. Big tan sedges, and chunky Green Drakes also lure the Creek’s biggest fish to the surface, before the month rounds out its great fishing with Yellow Sallies, small caddis, and PMDs. But there is some the fall. I walked to the river to see if I could see rising fish and returned to the van and took my time gearing up. October Fishing Strategies for Rock Creek. After a while, it seemed to move on. Luckily, our mid-week arrival allowed is to find campsites for the two nights we stayed on the river. As late summer tapers into fall, ants, hoppers, and beetles give way to hatches of mayflies, most notably the Mahogany and Hecuba. We didn’t see it again or the bushes move. Why not the Blackfoot? We waded about the same path as the moose and fished the other side. A Purple Haze “hatch” saved us that evening. April, pre-runoff, brings good if in consistent hatches of Skwalla stones and March Browns, as well as some great streamer fishing—think YELLOW—during the bumps in water flow. Boulders, deadfalls, cutbanks, cliff walls—Rock Creek offers literally every kind of trout holding water imaginable, and hatches of rare proportion draw its trout readily to the surface. In late July and August, when wade fishing on the upper end of the Creek is at its prime, we’re fond of guiding combo days where the morning is spent catching the damselfly hatch on Georgetown Lake, and the afternoon spent fishing hoppers and terrestrials on the clear, snow-fed waters near Ghilles Bridge. Wildlife view is at it’s peak September to November. It was open and I decided to give it a try. Strike two! Again, only a small fish or two. It was late enough and we didn’t fish. Looks like this year it finally happened. The map from Montana’s Best Fishing Waters book references it as Gilles Bridge, but it looks like it’s dedicated to a soldier who gave his life for our country. As September fades into October, the days grow short and the nights are below 32. I’ll catch you up on a minute. After the hatch, either switch back to nymphs or switch to streamers. With over 2,000 wild trout per mile and a density of bug life rivaling some tailwaters, this “creek” is really a small river that flows through ponderosa lined meadows, pristine National Forest canyons and cottonwood choked bottoms. In October, hatches are limited to afternoon blue winged olive hatches in deep … We waited out the weather for a few days. It’s a beautiful river though. It didn’t last too long, but my sleeping was done for the night. Sure, we caught a few fish with our dry flies. A hatch with an unbelievable biomass, the Rock Creek salmonfly event is a spectacle not to be missed—often the alders and willows are so choked with emerged bugs that shaking a single tree branch will send hundreds of three-inch long stoneflies downstream. The days are cooler and shorter making your day on the river a bit shorter. CS is an lifelong, obsessive fly fisherman who is forced to work as a fish biologist and conservationist the PNW. But then there are the magical days. Downriver we drove to explore more water and hopefully find another campsite.We lucked out with site number 8. Once you see rising fish, think small. We like to float it from Saint Regis to 16-mile bridge – great fishing & easy-to-navigate water. October brings unsettled weather. Sitting in the van enjoying both, I heard Dancingtrout say “there’s a moose”! 60 degree days without a cloud in the sky. In October, hatches are limited to afternoon blue winged olive hatches in deep pools and slower runs. If you can find a ten-yard break in the shelf ice, you can usually drown two nymphs and come up a winner. A couple of fish came to the fly and I landed a 7 incher. Stay tuned to see if that really happens! It’s a great time to be here. We eventually drove back upstream to check out a spot we passed on the drive in the previous day. He didn’t stay long and…here we go again, back to the eddy. It’s fine unless you happen to be the last group looking for a site and they are all filled. Remember the thunderstorm I mentioned above? Rock Creek, from its headwaters, tends to be a series of riffles, runs, and pools. Fly Fishing Rock Creek From its headwaters in the upper Sapphire range to its confluence with the Clark Fork twenty miles from Missoula, Rock Creek is a wading angler’s paradise. How about Rock Creek? Home / Missoula Montana Fly Fishing / Rock Creek Fly Fishing. The blue winged olive hatches, which occur almost like clockwork around 1 pm, last for about an hour. One thing about being spontaneous is you never know where you will be fly fishing next in SW Montana. 18-22 do the trick. Choose flies that offer action such as marabou or rabbit strips. It’s kinda been our thing NOT to fish Rock Creek. Our foliage season is the perfect backdrop for Montana fishing photos during the first two weeks of October. With over 2,000 wild trout per mile and a density of bug life rivaling some tailwaters, this “creek… Another great fishing opportunity is the Clark Fork River. Eruption-like trout takes soon to follow! Another great fishing opportunity is the Clark Fork River. 1 thought on “ Fly Fishing Rock Creek, MT in 2020 ” Gretchen & Al Beatty on August 12, 2020 at 6:08 am said: Hi Guys, When we lived in north Idaho (CDA & Sandpoint) we often fished Rock Creek. Layers, longsleeves, sunglasses, floating line and maybe a sinktip for a late October trip, hats, something hunter orange as the Montana hunting season begins late month. We post images and videos of Rock Creek and Western Montana regularly on our social media accounts. While these bugs bring big brown trout and cutthroat to the surface, the real huge fish caught this time of year are migratory pre-spawn brown trout headed up from the Clark Fork. Fly fishing Rock Creek, MT in 2020 wasn’t on that list. Several people have told us we need to fish Rock Creek. It makes for a long, slow drive out to find somewhere to stay. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. I didn’t see any rising fish, but tried Beetle Betty, a Morrish Hopper, and finally a Purple Haze. Dense populations of wild trout, prolific hatches of dry flies, and epic scenery—three wonderful reasons why anglers seek out Rock Creek year after year. It sure looks like fishy water, doesn’t it? Start the day exploring with nymphs and emergers such as a pheasant tail dropped off an October Caddis. Hi Guys, A camp spot at Divide campground was our base for the night. We ended up landing a small handful of fish between us with this Brown Trout being the biggest of our two hours of morning fishing.