Rock Creek, Montana, and Me

While I grew up primarily in Helena, Montana and at our cabin near Ovando (as well as at cabins shared with the extended family in Glacier National Park), Missoula, Montana and its environs have figured prominently in my life for a long time.  While I was a kid, we had friends and relatives there.  Later in life, I earned my bachelor’s degree at The University of Montana in Missoula, and I hung out there for a while afterwards before going to graduate school.  By then, my sister and her family, as well as my father (both of whom also went to U of M) had moved there.

Today, with the majority of my family in Missoula, it feels more like “home” than most other places, with the exception of our cabin.  For many years, I have fished the waters around Missoula.  In college, friends and I would often visit nearby Rock Creek.  These days, too, I often head there when I don’t have time to make the longer journey to the cabin and the waters surrounding it.

Rock Creek was a relatively quiet place, when I was in college.  Certainly, it had many fly fishing fans, but the numbers of people who fished there are nothing like the numbers one sees today.   Also, development of the private land along the rivers has increased at a frightening rate.  Still, I enjoy fishing there, though I usually only visit during the week and at times of the year, when I know it is not likely to be so crowded as to make fishing there a bad experience.

Rock Creek Road

I visited Rock Creek just a short time ago.  Driving up and down the long dirt road that borders the creek gave me plenty of time to think about past fishing trips there.  For instance, I thought of the time that a college friend and I drove up in his truck.  Just as we hit the dirt section of the road, a sherif pulled us over for speeding.   My friend probably wasn’t in any condition to be driving at all, and that condition was only going to get worse (thanks, in part, to the twelve-pack at my feet).  And yet, my friend, a North Carolinian with a molasses-like drawl, managed to talk the sherif out of giving him a ticket.  Before the sherif returned to his truck, he said, “I’ll get my quota elsewhere.”  I remember fishing with another friend, with whom I was quite close.  We had known each other for years, and his father had once been appointed as my public defender (that’s a whole other story).  We were fishing one of the lower stretches of the creek, and my slightly inebriated friend was casting from a half-submerged log.  When a fish struck his fly, he vigorously set the hook and threw himself backwards of the log.  The trout got away, of course.  

Bighorn Sheep (ewes).

On this last trip to the creek, I had nothing in me besides a cup of coffee.  My personal habits have changed tremendously in recent years.  Hopefully my old friends’  habits have changed too, though I have lost touch with them and really don’t know.  I’m not even sure if they still fly fish, sober or otherwise.

The “Salmon Fly” — Pteronarcys carlifornica

Rock Creek is still a wonderful place, despite the greater numbers of people now there.  I took a few pictures on my recent visit.  Because I’m usually more concerned with fishing than with photography, these are poor images taken on my smart phone.  Their grainy quality aside, I think the pictures show why Rock Creek remains special.  They include an image of two of the Bighorn Sheep (ewes) one often sees on the road, an image of one of the Giant Stone Flies or “Salmon Flies” that attracts so many people to the creek, and an image of one of the beautiful (if not-so-large) brown trout that fishermen seek with their salmon fly and other imitations. 

I hope that, with all the human visitors this place receives, Rock Creek remains a wonderful place for a long time to come.  Kudos to The Kingfisher fly shop in Missoula, whose owner’s have made the conscious decision to decrease their guided trips to Rock Creek and other area waters.  We’ll see if other outfitters follow suit (it would be especially nice if the one who had his client fish in my hole during this last trip would lay off the float trips). 

Rock Creek Brown

 Post script: My apologies for the long period between posts.  I was travelling for the past month.

 

 

2 Responses to “Rock Creek, Montana, and Me”

  1. trout outfitters Says:

    Very good website you have here but I was wondering if
    you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked
    about in this article? I’d really like to be a part
    of community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable
    individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thanks a lot!

    Like

    • Kenov Says:

      The fora listed on the right has some areas devoted to such discussions, as they pertain to fly fishing. Beyond that, I don’t have any great recommendations. Thanks for the kind words, regardless.

      Like

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