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> > Montana: Rock Creek and the Ruby River

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Marv's Rock Creek Brown
Marv's Rock Creek Brown
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Rock Creek Rainbow
Rock Creek Rainbow
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Rock Creek Vista
Rock Creek Vista
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The Ruby
The Ruby
MartinlfJuly 28th, 2021, 8:30 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
In our eighth annual fishing trip, my nephew Marvin Forte joined me in Montana for four days of fishing. Our last two days were spent fishing Rock Creek and the Ruby River. After a pleasant stay at the Broadway Hotel in Philipsburg, Marv and I made the drive to Rock Creek. We’d studied guidebooks, and had a good sense of where to look for a place to fish, but found much of the creek swift and relatively featureless. Finally we chose a section with some structure just below a bridge and started, using 10’ rods and weighted nymphs. We were into fish very quickly, but they were mostly whitefish. They put a bend in the rod, but we were looking for trout. A few smaller trout showed up, but water that looked good yielded nothing of any size. Finally under the bridge, in a deep slot, we found a few larger fish, but we had to work for them, nymphing deep fast water. Other fly fishers we talked with had only found smaller fish, or none. Someone more familiar with this wide, fast stream would likely do better, but we didn’t have time to explore further, and headed out to Nevada City, where we discovered that the room we’d reserved was, in fact, an old cabin in the middle of a preserved old west town. The interior was modern, though, and the beds especially comfortable. The next morning found us on the Ruby River, below the dam. A little after we pulled in, Carl and Andy, local guys, joined us in the parking lot. Rather than rushing to get in ahead of us, they graciously advised us to choose our section, since we were “here first.” We talked a good bit and exchanged contact information, receiving an invitation to stay with them if we were ever back in the area. This was the kind of hospitality I’d seen throughout Montana. The Ruby was small, low, and clear, much like a small spring creek. Marv and I fished down from the Alder bridge and though we’d hoped to fish hoppers, found trout rising to a PMD hatch. What a great bug! Unlike our Eastern sulphurs, which often hatch profusely in the last few minutes of light and into the dark, pale morning duns hatch earlier, at civilized times, and you see them on the water long enough to really fish the hatch. After hiking downstream as far as I could, I found a ranch house, and asking permission to fish, was kindly granted it. Marv fished a section above me, and got a friendly nod from a horse that followed him upstream. This day yielded a good number of trout, up to 13” –all browns--and no whitefish!

More Montana fishing reports above and below; scroll up or down. Many waters in Montana are now shut down or on “hoot owl” restrictions due to drought and heat. Climate change is affecting the west, and if we don’t get it under control great trout fishing there may become a thing of the past.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123July 29th, 2021, 4:36 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2530
Western landscapes!!! Beautiful!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TroutnutJuly 30th, 2021, 8:57 am
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
Nice report!

Finally under the bridge, in a deep slot, we found a few larger fish, but we had to work for them, nymphing deep fast water.


That has generally been my experience with Rock Creek. I've fished it three times and always keep coming back to the same stretch where I've done really well, which is probably farther upstream than where you were. It's been an unusual river for me in that I rarely find many fish in the large pools that look like they should hold a bunch, but I catch lots of fish along the margins and pockets in fast water, in little eddies behind stumps, and other small habitat pockets.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfJuly 30th, 2021, 9:20 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Jason, as we drove out, I spotted a place upstream that looked really good. We'd missed it driving in, due to angles of sight, and we let guidebooks have too much influence. But I'd agree, it's not a typical river.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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