Fishing Rock Creek in April

By April, Rock Creek is free-flowing and clear of ice that once covered the river during winter. Thick ice along the bank melts as warming April temperates melt the thick masses away.

Trout are hungry after their long winter. In early April, fish feed entirely sub-surface. But as the water temperatures warm, hatches begin mid-month.

In places where the valley widens and the spring sunlight dance on the water’s surface, trout are feeding.

Fishing Rock Creek in April
Cutthroat Trout in April on Rock Creek

April Hatches

While Baetis can hatch on most any overcast cloudy day in April on Rock Creek, there are two important hatches that can really make for a fun afternoon of fishing.

Skwala Stoneflies are large, ugly, poor flying insects which hatch in Western Montana when water temperatures rise above 40 degrees.

Western March Browns begin to hatch mid-month and continue to the end of the month. These hatches can be very predictable so being on the water at the right time of day is important. Choose a long glide pool and arrive by 11:30 am. Trout are active ahead of the hatch so make a day of it. The hatch begins at about 1 pm and is over by 3 pm.

Flies For April

  • March Brown Dry 14-16
  • Bullethead Skwala  8-10
  • Pat’s Rubberleg Stone
  • San Juan Worm (Powerworm)
  • Double Bead Pince
  • Blue Winged Olive 16
  • Purple Prince BH

Local fly shops such as the Rock Creek Mercantile or the Missoulian Angler sell these patterns and more.

Holding a Brown Trout with San Juan Worm in Mouth
Catching Trout on Rock Creek in April

The Weather

April weather can be challenging at times especially earlier in the month. Expect snow, rain, and amazing sunshine; often all in the same day.

River levels tend to start very low early in April and by month’s end, if temperatures tend to be on the warm side, can be in the early stages of run-off.

Ideal conditions are daytime temperatures in the 50s with overnight temps dipping below 32. Colder nighttime temps are what keeps run-off from starting.

For much of April, river water clarity is very good. Personally, I prefer water that has a hint of color – fishy green if you will, as I tend to catch larger fish subsurface if there is some color to the water.

April Fishing Video

Here’s a fine example of what fly fishing is like in late March and early April. If you didn’t know, we also have a blog called Fly Fishing Waters. We shot this video in 2020. Most of the footage was shot upstream of the cabin, some from the homestead area of Rock Creek near the 30 mile marker.

Cabin Availability in April

Golden Stone is available year round and is the perfect cabin for an April fishing trip to Rock Creek.

Save over 20% in April and May

We offer unbeatable special Spring Rates. Come and fish Rock Creek in April and see why so many people fish pre-runoff!

Catching Trout on Rock Creek in April