Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Rosebud Creek Montana
Rosebud Creek is one of the best kelp secrets in
Montana. It's hidden away fairly close to many other
highly advertised trout streams. Almost unheard of
Rosebud Creek is near a little unheard of town of
Fishtail, Montana. It is far better known for the Battle
of Rosebud Creek that took place in 1876 than trout
fishing, but rest assured, fly fishing Rosebud Creek can
be about as good as it gets.
The headwaters of both of the two forks, the West Fork
of Rosebud Creek and the East Fork of Rosebud Creek,
begin in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. They
both are beautiful streams with picture perfect
backgrounds. It's as pretty of a place to fly fish as
Montana has to offer. The two forks eventually flow into
prairie country where they join to form the rather short,
main fork of Rosebud Creek.
Of hand, you may think the two forks are small streams
and I guess they are but they could well be classified as
rivers. The East Fork of Rosebud is the larger of the
two. It also provides the most fly fishing opportunities of
the two. It flows primarily through Forest Service Land. It
also has excellent access from a forest service road that
follows along closely for most of the entire length of the
stream. Only the section outside of the mountains is
limited to bridge crossings. The West Fork flows mostly
through private property for its entire length. Access is
limited to bridge crossings. The main stem of Rosebud
Creek is only about four miles long. Like the West Fork,
access is limited to bridge crossings.
Most of the trout in the two Forks are small cutthroat,
rainbows and brook trout. The lower section of the East
Fork within the Forest Service Land, as well as the main
stem holds some nice brown trout. The water in the
mountain sections consist mostly of fast pocket water
but there are some meadow sections.
The streams can be fished in the sections outside of the
mountains from a small pontoon type watercraft or
canoe provided the water levels are not too low. The
same is true of the main stem of Rosebud Creek. You
can also wade from one of the bridge crossings as long
as you stay within the water line.
We much prefer to fish the sections on Forest Service
Land. The trout may average a little smaller and there
probably won't be any brown trout, but you won't have
any competition from other anglers. You should be able
to stay occupied and catch plenty of trout. Fly fishing
Rosebud Creek is a small stream delight.
Fly fishing Rosebud Creek can be good any day of the
Except during the runoff, springtime is a prime time for
fly fishing Rosebud Creek due to plentiful hatches.
The water stays cool during the Summer, especially in
the upper sections, and the fishing stays good all the
way to its confluence with the Stillwater River.
Early Fall is an excellent time to fish Rosebud Creek and
if the water levels are good, it maybe the best time.
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Rosebud Creek Montana
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.