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The Blue Ribbon Report | Spring Edition

Fly fishing doesn’t stop for winter. In fact, Inside Hook recently published the story, “Why You Should Go Fishing on Your Next Ski Trip.” They named Discovery Ski Area and The Ranch at Rock Creek as the essential places to try this dynamic duo. With a little over a month of skiing left, and warmer temperatures on the way, we’re making plenty of room for skis and waders in our SUVs.

Winter fly fishing on Blue Ribbon Rock Creek in Montana
Photo by Martin Battilana

While we enjoy a “heat wave” of temperatures just over freezing, our guides are gearing up for an eventful season of spring fly fishing. Montana’s streams, and especially Rock Creek, are famous for their fly hatches. With this exciting season close at hand, we’re back with a fishing report and our new fly fishing video that shows what it’s like to fish on the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star ranch and glamping destination.

Casting lessons allow guests to learn essential fly fishing skills
Photo by Tyler McBride


The Blue Ribbon Adventure

It’s not a stretch to say that fishing at The Ranch at Rock Creek is not your average angling adventure. Guests enjoy access to some of the best fishing conditions in the world, all-inclusive gourmet cuisine and drinks, a choice of lodge rooms, glamping tents or historic barn accommodations within 300 yards of Rock Creek, and access to dozens of on-Ranch activities to fill any time spent off-stream.

The canvas cabins along Blue Ribbon Rock Creek are an angler's dream.

This spring, anglers can receive $1,000 in additional value for booking  a four-day stay between April 15 and June 9, Our Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing Special includes a all-day float trip on Rock Creek, a fly tying workshop, casting lessons, stocked ponds and a full-day off-Ranch fishing excursion. Want to get a glimpse of what this adventure entails? Watch our new video.

View other videos in our gallery. 


The Blue Ribbon Report

Our IT manager and fly fishing guide, Brock Long, shares what fishing during the late winter and early spring entails. 

We might think that deep into a Montana winter, a fly fisherman should be tying flies or hitting the slopes at Discovery, but around here, we don’t forget about fly fishing on Rock Creek. During winter warming spells, the river sheds its ice and shows you her winter beauty.  As I type, we have snow on the ground and fish in an ice-free river. To me, it doesn’t get any better than a season when you can ski and fish in the same day.

Rippling water along Blue Ribbon Rock Creek near Missoula, Montana
Photo by Tyler McBride

Rock Creek’s trout are holding in slower lies and lines. We target fish in big pools with slow moving water. The early part of the year Rock Creek is a nymph fishery. We find that a trusty worm pattern, any midge pattern, a Prince nymph or even a Rubber Legs floated under a strike indicator will work well now, in addition to a streamer moved slow and deep.

The spring run-off is fast approaching.  March and April bring us a favorite, often considered a locals-only hatch, the Skwala.  This is a larger stonefly that lets the fly angler fish a larger dry fly early in the season. Not to be outdone, the March Brown brings fish to the surface and gives us another dry fly opportunity, while Grey Drakes and Blue Wing Olives appear about the same time.

Fly fishing on Rock Creek in springtime

Rock Creek is famous for its Salmon Fly hatch in June and July.  However if you want the river to yourself, April and May fishing are ideal. If you want a spring break trip filled with runs on Discovery Ski Area and wading in Rock Creek, then March is your best bet.


For those who can’t make it to Montana in the next couple of months, the Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing Special picks back up in the fall. Anglers can book between September 6 and October 31 to receive $1,000 in extra value during their fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

A cowboy hat rests on a branch over our Blue Ribbon creek
Photo by Tyler McBride