Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Rock Creek in Southern
The state of Montana has two Rock Creeks. The most
popular one is located in southwestern Montana and is a
tributary of the Clarke Fork River. We have a separate
four page section on the Rock Creek in Southwestern
Montana.The Rock Creek covered here is located near
Red Lodge in southern Montana. It is a 55 mile long
tributary of Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River. Fly
fishing Rock Creek at either Montana location is great.
Rock Creek begins in the high elevations of the
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The uppermost
headwaters flow through timber lined, moderate to steep
declinations for about 18 miles to Red Lodge Montana.
Downstream from Red Lodge, Rock Creek flows through
a prairie like terrain all the way to its confluence with the
Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River.
A quick glance at the stream will explain where its name
came from. There's plenty of rocks and boulders along
Rock Creek. Pocket water as wells as plenty of riffles
and fast runs are common. The lower section of the
stream is braided with channels and islands.
Fly fishing Rock Creek is great even during the hot
Summer. The water in Rock Creek remains very cold for
most of the year due to it's high elevation headwaters.
It's also a very clear stream that's best fished by wading.
The lower section can be waded on higher water.
We prefer fly fishing Rock Creek in the mountains above
Red Lodge. It provides some great small stream
cutthroat and brook trout opportunities. Access is easy
and plentiful. There are roads close to the stream
throughout most of its course. You will probably miss a
lot of strikes from lack of concentration. The scenery is
as good as it gets on a small Montana stream.
Although the upper headwaters are our personal
favorite section to fish, the waters below Red Lodge are
more popular. The stream is never crowded and one
reason is because the stream is on a direct route to
Yellowstone National Park. Most anglers drive right by it
even though It's a great little stream to wade and fish the
dry fly. The banks of the lower section are lined with
bushes and cottonwood trees. Deadfalls are common
along the creek, providing a good habitat for brown trout.
Rock Creek has a variety of aquatic insects but only a
few in large quantities. Pale Morning Duns, Small
Western Green Drakes, Pale Evening Duns, Mahogany
Duns, and Tricos make up the majority of mayfly
species. Spotted Sedges, Little Black Caddis,
Short-horned Sedges and October Caddis make up the
majority of the caddisfly species.
There are plenty of stoneflies including the giant
Salmonflies, Golden Stoneflies, Little Yellow Stoneflies,
Winter stoneflies and others.
Terrestrial insects can become important during the
summer months. Grasshoppers, ants and beetles can
be imitated with success.
The river also has lots of Sculpin and baitfish. Streamers
usually catch the larger trout, especially when the water
is slightly stained or it is very cloudy and overcast.
Fly fishing Rock Creek is best during the Summer but it
can be good any day of the season.
Springtime is a good time except during the time of the
Summertime is the most popular time to fish Rock Creek.
Early Fall can provide some good fly fishing opportunities
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
|Type of Stream
Small to Medium
Yaak Village Montana
3rd Sat. May - Nov 30th
Access is great in upper section due
to the public land it passes through.
Access to the lower section varies.
There is a lot of private land sections
but several designated access sites
and bridge access points are
State of Montana
National Weather Service Link
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