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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm heading to Montana for the pheasant opener on Oct 9 and thought I would get over there early to fish Rock Creek for a few days. I hear the browns start to move up from the Clark Fork and that fishing can be good. Would appreciate any advice or suggestions for other rivers to fish. Also what would be the best flies. I'll be hunting up near Shelby, but figured I head over I90 and then head up 15. Thanks.
 

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Prepare ypurself for a bit of a crowd, this is a very popular fishery in the fall for good reason. If you are looking for browns they are in the lower section, they will be about to spawn and very protective. If you can strip a bugger across the spawning bed you will do well. Bright colors are effective.
A litle further up river are the rainbows, not so big but a few nice fish can be had. Sulpher duns, BWOs, October caddis nymphs and dries if they are flying will be effective.
Have a great time, that is one of my favaorite places in the fall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not set on Rock Creek and certainly don't want to go after spawning browns. Any other suggestions for rivers in the area I'll be traveling thru - I-90 to Missoula over to 15 and Helena and up to Shelby?

Steve
 

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If you can strip a bugger across the spawning bed you will do well.
Wow, just let me know your truck/cars location next time you do this on a freestone stream with wild trout. I will leave a note with the nearest towing service's info on it. If you want to do this, find a section of river above a reservoir or something. Or, better yet, dont do it at all and leave them alone to keep the gene pool alive.
 

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BigDog
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I can appreciate being careful with spawning fish and their redds under any circumstances, but it's not like browns on Rock Creek are some endangered native fish. The analogy to avoiding spawning native steelhead on coastal rivers where they are barely holding on isn't quite apt.

Be that as it may, I've had fun farther up on Rock Creek in October casting to fish rising to BWOs and didn't have any crowds to deal with.

D
 

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Rock Creek Semi-Guru
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If you go to Rock Creek, you don't necessarily have to fish the lower part to catch some of the bigger boys. A buddy of mine went about 30 miles upstream from I-90 and fished Circus Peanuts (a big articulated streamer), and he said the cutbows would not leave it alone. It should only get better for that by October, too.
 

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The biggest fish i have seen/caught/heard of were in the upper parts of the creek. I am sure there are some quality ones down low too, but considering that is where most of the fishing is they will a tough and unlikely catch. But if you really wanna stroke a hog, fish the Clark Fork in bewteen Rock Creek and Deer Lodge. Mostly unfished, and great to wade in the fall with some absolute monsters. A little birdie once told me they sip BWO's too...

Whatever the wild or native fish is, long as it isnt a nuisance species, just let them spawn. They spend 1/50th of their year to reproduce, if you cant let them do their thing then I disagree with your morals. This is of course my opinion, although it does favor wild fish so I doubt many disagree.

If you want to catch big brown trout in Montana without cheap shots, I would recommend to come out in late spring and early summer. High water gives the alpha predator (megaladon-esk brown trout) a serious advantage, and this results in fat fish when the tourist show up in summer time. They didnt get that big because they were scared of high water, they got that big because they feed on this fast paced smorgasbord of baitfish and bugs that occurs when high flows happen.
 

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Although I fished it from a boat we had a blast on a recent trip to the Missouri river in and around Craig (45 min north of Helena). Lots of 16-19" feisty browns and bows, with a few larger ones thrown in for good measure.
 

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Jeezuz....These fish are not endangered, I assume catch and release to begin with. I said cast to the spawning beds, not wade through and stomp on them! You will tow my rig...what else?
Good God you people are sooo self involved. It is fishing, catch and release, get over it.
 

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BAMF
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all it takes is a few doing it, then more will do it, then more, then more........then way more. catch and release only does so much, fish still die and a fish dying during it's spawn is the one fish that needs to stay alive the most. So, keep fishing over spawning beds, eventually more WILL DO IT, and eventually browns will be in the same damn conditions that steelhead are in.
oh and posting it on the internet? really?
 

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Jeezuz....These fish are not endangered, I assume catch and release to begin with. I said cast to the spawning beds, not wade through and stomp on them! You will tow my rig...what else?
Good God you people are sooo self involved. It is fishing, catch and release, get over it.
Next time your getting laid (I asssume you do get lucky once in awhile) how would you like it if someone comes along and drags your sorry carcass off the bed.

It is more then C&R and endangered species it is about respect for the fish.
 

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Just an Old Man
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I'm new in Montana(going on 5 years) and I was under the impression that Browns spawned later in the year. That is the reason that the Beaverhead is closed from the 1st of December until the middle of May the next year. Somebody please correct me.
 

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You are correct Old Man. Most brown trout spawn November through January, although is high mountain streams such as Rock Creek, they will start in October due to very cold water temps. No matter what stream, fish will spawn from October through February, although most will spawn in a month long period somewhere in there. Tailwaters tend to have much later spawning periods, but fish certainly move around in anticipation early on.
 

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Jeezuz....These fish are not endangered, I assume catch and release to begin with. I said cast to the spawning beds, not wade through and stomp on them! You will tow my rig...what else?
Good God you people are sooo self involved. It is fishing, catch and release, get over it.
I agree with you, Bob... some people are too damn self-righteous about their fishing practices... seriously. We each have our own personal environmental ethics to live by so why not keep them to ourselves, live and let live. As much as I'm a steward of careful C&R practices I still struggle with the very concept of it and the nature of this whole flyfishing industry... thus I choose to fish to reflect on such thoughts of self, society, and nature.

People wade fish through spawning beds in Alaska all the time. The 'bows spawn in the spring and people crash through their redds to fish for salmon... in true combat fishing style, unlike anything anywhere else. Then again in the fall, people fish through the salmon redds for trout and dollies (bull trout), repeatedly catching and releasing fish that are missing mandibles, eyeballs, and sometimes showing signs of infection. Yet, we continue to do it...

Any fish caught and released will get stressed, and sometimes there is collateral mortality, whether or not they are in their spawn cycle. The bigger issue here (in my opinion) should be habitat. Be it steelhead, rainbows, or browns. If you want the fish to return for future generations to enjoy, do something constructive to protect their habitat instead of bitching about how someone else chooses to fish it.
 
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