rock creek salmonfly hatch

Rock Creek

Many streams across the Northwest share the name, but there is only one Rock Creek as far as Montana fly fishermen are concerned.   Flowing from south to north from its origins in the Pintlar and Sapphire mountain ranges, Rock Creek tumbles through 52 miles of rugged Montana trout country.  Loaded with westslope cutthroats on the upper end and eventually switching over to a brown trout fishery for the lower half, this river provides anglers an unparalleled experience in fish numbers, scenic beauty, and fast action fishing. There is never a dull moment on Rock Creek.

Known for its famous Salmonfly hatch in early June, Rock Creek kicks off the season with the first hatch in the area.  Gobs of bugs consistently hatch on these waters, making for exhilarating fishing on high speed floats, the river a perfect haven for stoneflies with clean cold water and rocky shorelines.  Hit the hatch right, and fish pounce with fury to dry flies along the speedy banks and riffles, while also chomping nymphs on the deep island seams and insides corners.

Located east of Hamilton 45 miles over Skalkaho pass, the upper reaches of Rock Creek can be accessed fairly easily by Montana standards, especially for its remoteness.  Taking about an hour and a half, Skalkaho highway is a scenic adventure in itself, passing through the Sapphire mountains and under Skalkaho falls on winding mountain roads.  Launching our rafts at the confluence of the east and west forks of Rock Creek, the “Splits” as we call it, we guide the upper 16 miles of this famous fishery down to Guille’s bridge.  Tie on that Salmon bug and hang on!