Category Archives: Uncategorized

Warmer days and dusty waders

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After a long and cold winter, warmer days remind us that spring is on its way.  The change in seasons brings open water and an opportunity to dust off the waders and spend a few hours looking for trout.


Fly-fishing during this time of year can be hit and miss.  Warm, calm days can provide optimal conditions this time of year and finding fish can be easy.  Nevertheless,  fishing can (as always) be slow, making you feel as if there’s nothing alive below the surface of the water.  However, early-season fly-fishing can have its virtues.


First, there is usually little or no fishing pressure this time of year.  Fewer anglers give rise to less wary fish.


The trout haven’t seen many flies over the last few months, and this can make them more eager to take an offering.  When conditions are favorable, you might run into a short-lived afternoon hatch, but don’t count on it.

Spring Bow

Hatches do occur this time of year albeit somewhat rare which tends to mean that nymphing or streamer fishing are the best options when targeting early-season trout.

Wildfire and Trout

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Forest fires often directly affect water quality in nearby streams and other bodies of water.  These direct influences are also considered immediate effects, as they are manifest either during fire or very shortly thereafter.  There are many reports of fish killed during or shortly after a wildfire.

Fish kills tend to be greater with increasing fire severity in the streamside vegetation and decreasing stream size.  Complete loss of fish from a stretch of stream, however rare, is most likely to occur in very small tributaries “cooked” by intense fire.

Only time will tell if the Gilead Fire (click here) will have taken it’s toll on the South Fork of Rock Creek.



The Gilead Fire began with a lightning strike August 14 on the Bighorn National Forest, about 10 miles northwest of Buffalo, Wyoming.

On September 4th, the wind picked up and the fire intensified.

As of September 7th, the fire has been contained on HF Bar Ranch property.  However, the fire is still wide-spread and has the potential to grow.  Please click here for Gilead Fire updates or call Rock Creek Anglers (888-945-3876) for up to date reports. (Photos by Sam McChesney and Clark Smyth, 2012).


June in Review

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Thought we would post some eye candy.  Every now and then we like to take the time to reflect on the past.  Please enjoy some highlights from June, 2012.

Beautiful June Rainbow

Watch Your Backcast

The “Green” Fork

Bull-dog or Cutthroat?

Boat Loitering

New Private Water

Spring Break

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Which “Breaker” are you?

Spring Break is upon us and “Spring Breakers” all over the country are headed somewhere, typically warm, to have a little fun. From Key West to Cancun, Breakers will be lining up to spend too much money drinking.  While the angler within forces us realize what truly is important, it’s not surprising that we take a somewhat different perspective when the urge to experience the ‘American Spring Break’ sweeps the nation.

Spring break tends to highlight college aged coeds taking a “break” from overindulgence to travel somewhere warmer to overindulge.

Between tax preparation, and scheduling fishing trips, the “break” the angler needs should look something more like this:

Spring Break is more often than not, NOT a good deal.  Airlines know spring break, and if you follow the fares, the difference between March ‘deals’ and April’s are stark.  Even if you DIY (do it yourself) tickets, meals, lodging and adult beverages can add up quickly.  For as much money as you spend on a flight, you might as well spend the time driving 2,875 miles and come visit us in Wyoming and let Rock Creek Anglers show you what Spring in Wyoming is really like:

Spring break is meant  to be relaxing and tranquil.  Rather than feeling like this:

  Why not try this:

At the end of the day, it comes down to priorities.  Most anglers have their priorities in order, we hope you do too.  So talk to a real travel guide:

And find a destination that can offer so much more for the traveling angler.  We hope to see you in Wyoming, or perhaps elsewhere, sometime soon!


Trout and Sex

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Often times, trout fishing guides will refer to a fish as either “he” or “she.” It is highly common for our customers to ask, “how do you know the sex of the fish?” We’re posting a couple images that may help you identify the sex of the fish you have caught.

Although it is very hard to identify the sex of a juvenile trout, adults (of all salmonids) display characteristics that make identification rather easy.

The image above is of a female rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Females typically have a rounded, softer “nose” or “snout” and typically have a smaller mouth.

The above image is of a male rainbow trout. The nose of the fish is much pointier and has a larger mouth. Also, the fish’s lower jaw has developed a “kipe” or a hooked lower jaw. Little is known as to the function of this feature. But, it is helpful in identifying the sex of the salmonid (pronounced [Sal-Mon-Id] or [ˈsælmənɪd]).

The color variations of the above illustrations are seasonal.  The female pictured above has typical rainbow trout coloration for most of the year.  Whereas the male displayed is colored more vibrantly which is characteristic of what a rainbow would look like during the spawn, which happens naturally in the Spring.

Rock Creek Hosted Trip to Belize

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Rock Creek Anglers is excited to offer a week-long salt water fishing adventure to the Turneffe Atoll in Belize.  The trip will be hosted by both Clark Smyth and Paul Robertson (founder of Rock Creek Anglers and director of the Turneffe Atoll Trust).  The Turneffe Atoll is a beautifully balanced ecosystem with unspoiled coral reefs teeming with an impressive variety of marine life.  The Atoll offers some of the best and most diverse salt water flats fishing as well as world renowned SCUBA diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Dates:  October and November 2011

The Turneffe Flats Lodge is located 30 miles east of Belize City on the eastern side of the Turneffe Atoll.  Turneffe Flats is known as one of the world’s top flats fishing resorts combining a remarkable fishery with superior service.  However, Turneffe Flats is not only a fly fishing destination but a SCUBA diving and eco adventure resort as well.  Choose to wade the flats, dive the famous “Blue Hole”, snorkel a private reef or simply relax on the beach.

Spacious, air conditioned, ocean-front beach cabanas await your arrival.  You’ll enjoy the comforts of home in a beautiful, unspoiled tropical setting.  Three delicious meals highlighting fresh seafood, local produce, home-baked pastries and fresh squeezed juice are all included.  Meals are to please any appetite.  The chefs prepare a blend of American and Belizean dishes.

The Turneffe Flats is noted for it’s variety of saltwater fly-fishing.  Plentiful bonefish, tarpon, snook and permit make Turneffe Flats one of the rare spots in the world where you have a legitimate shot at a Grand Slam (all four species in a day).  In addition, Turneffe’s guides, Clark Smyth and Paul Robertson are all equipped with the necessary skills and proven teaching techniques to either introduce you to saltwater fly fishing or make you a better saltwater angler.  We want to make it easy and enjoyable for you to feel good about deciding to further yourself an an angler.

Packages vary based on your interest.  All rates are based on double occupancy and are posted here.  Please contact Clark Smyth or Paul Robertson (or call 888-945-3876) to arrange this exciting vacation or with any questions you may have.  We are both looking forward to an exciting tropical vacation with you in Belize in the fall of 2011.

Winter Trout Fishing

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Winter Trout Fishing in the northern Rocky Mountains is not for everyone. Rarely does the airtemp reach above 30 degrees, layers of clothing are a must and fingerless or fingered polypropylene gloves can be your best friend.  If there is any wind, the chill factor can be a bit irritating.  On a warm winter day (meaning the sun is out) the weather can be tolerable if the angler is prepared.  Winter fishing is for the dedicated angler who enjoys fishing and not necessarily catching, although the later is always our goal.

Generally, solitude, abundant wildlife, low and clear water is why the angler enjoys fishing in the “off season.”  Within the past week, we have seen deer, coyotes, elk, eagles, hawks and even the paw prints of a rather large cat.  Furthermore, a variety of waterfowl and other birds that choose to stick it out for the season seem to take interest in our somewhat crazed attempt to find a few trout.

Both air and water temperatures are a significant factor during the winter months.  If the water temperature is below 34 degrees, you might as well hang up your rod, and return home to tie flies.  Both the fish and the fisherman can end up so chilled that production slows to grinding halt.  However, while angling on a tail-water (like the Bighorn) in the winter one can find water temperatures consistently in the low 50’s – warm for both the fisherman and his quarry.  Trout will feed regularly and fight pretty hard in these conditions.  Not to mention, there’s always the potential for a winter hatch.

If the air tempeture is hovering around freezing, the wind chill created from casting can freeze the line to your guides every few casts.  Attempting to cast a fly line which has been essentially glued to your rod can be a frustrating struggle.  The effort involved in clearing the ice from ones guides can also proove an arduous task – not to mention the dampening of already cold fingers.  Then, to top it off, efforts to tie (or untie) knots becoms a lengthy, painstaking process.  In this “bloggers” opinion, not worth it.  However, if the air temp is above freezing and the winter sun is shining… cast away.

Tip:  Bring a can of cooking spray on a winter fishing trip.  Spray your guides with the oil, you’ll double the number of casts before the ice builds up.

Holiday Shopping and Trout Fishing

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You can make your dollars do double duty this season by purchasing gifts through the TU Marketplace. It’s a great way to support companies that stand behind Trout Unlimited and cold water fisheries all over the country.

Orvis, Patagonia, Cabelas and others are partnering with Trout Unlimited this year and committing a percentage of each TU-generated sale to support coldwater fisheries conservation.

Just shop from the select list of retailers and a percentage of each sale will be donated directly to TU.

From fly rods to performance apparel to wine, you’ll find great gifts for everyone on your list… and perhaps a few items for yourself. Simply connect to each retailers website using the links in the TU Marketplace and start shopping.

Happy holidays from Rock Creek Anglers and Trout Unlimited.

Fishing High Water

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The water on Rock Creek is rising.  Given our heavy snowpack this year, it will settle into fishable shape in 3 to 4 weeks. We’ll be fishing it when others are saying “too high.”  Anglers who “know how” generally do well during high water.  Obviously, catching fish on artificial flies in cloudy water is tougher because the fly fisher relies on the fish’s sense of sight to trigger a strike.  Fly-fishing the wrong way in high dirty water is simply an exercise in futility.  However, there are things to remember and tactics to try at this time of year that can increase your success.

High Water on Rock Creek

1. Fish on Cooler Days

Even though you are probably wishing for warm days about now, hot weather means that more snow melts and the rivers go up.  At this time of year try to fish on cooler days and you’ll find that the water won’t be as high as it might get on very warm days.  Also, consider fishing early in the morning before the snow really starts to melt and bring the rivers up.

2. Fish Downstream

Snowmelt will take a while to get downstream so fishing the lower reaches of rivers that are far away from the melting snow.  Even though warm air temperatures in the high country could be melting lots of snow by noon, if you are far downstream, you may have until 2 or 3 in the afternoon before the high water gets to you.

3. Fish Big Dark Fly Patterns

Big dark fly patterns are far more visible than other earthy colors that might blend in with the earth-tinged water.  Black Stonefly patterns and Wooly Buggers are among our favorites.

4. Fish Slow

Remember that melting snow is really cold and that fish are cold-blooded creatures that will not move as quickly in cold snowmelt waters.  We like to bounce big nymphs slowly along the bottom and dead drifting Buggers slowly is a good tactic.  Because of low visibility and the cold water temperature you need to get your flies close to the fish so fish methodically and cover all of the water you can.

5. Watch River Flows

Keep a close watch on river flow charts provided by the USGS and other services.  Find streams that are lower than others in your area compared to their normal rates of flow.  Fish eat a lot during runoff because so much food drifts with the high water and can yield great results. Be smart about when, where and how you fish at this time of year and you could be surprised.

May 18, 2010