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Category: Spring


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. Read more…

Category: Spring


The Big Fly Country: Spring Fishing on Rock Creek

Montana Fly Fishing During “The Hatch”

We’re biding our time in the Rod & Gun Club, because the spring melt has begun in the lower elevations. We know that with the end of spring runoff comes a series of fly hatches that make Montana a world-famous fly fishing destination. We’ve just released our Blue Ribbon Adventure special for anglers who plan to take advantage of prime seasons—spring and fall—in 2017.

Fishing-Rock-Creek

Soon we will be immersed in the six-week period known as the salmonfly hatch to avid fly fishermen. This period generally stretches from late May through early July on Montana’s “big bug” rivers. The celebrated period of fishing takes place on several waterways, including the Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Big Hole, Smith, and our very own Rock Creek. We want to take a moment to let our waders dry off and share the three big reasons why these late spring weeks might be considered the “Carnivale” of the fishing calendar. Read more…

Category: Spring


Clark Fork River Cleanup

Since The Ranch at Rock Creek opened as a guest ranch in 2010, we have become increasingly invested in the Granite County, Montana community. Our staff has delved into the local causes that improve environmental sustainability and the lives of its residents. Throughout the year we look to give back in ways that will make a lasting impact. As a charter member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, it’s also been an important part of our mission to be responsible stewards of the land, protect wildlife and maintain clean waterways.

montana-wildlife

We are dedicated to keeping Rock Creek’s waters clean year-round. However, this Spring, as Activities Director Patrick Little began floating a little further afield, he noticed that the Clark Fork River, 47 miles North of The Ranch, was accumulating some litter. The refuse ranged from old farm equipment to highway trash to forgotten recreation supplies. People leave cans, water bottles, clothing and other items on the bank, which get washed into our fisheries. As Little noted, the section of the Clark Fork River in Granite County needed a little love.

clark-fork-cleanup Read more…

Category: Spring


Local Food: Lambing Season in Springhill

Living in the land of the cowboy, cattle and horses are often the stars of this blog. This week’s guest post allows us to feature Montana-raised lambs as well as Montana-made writer and photographer, Lynn Donaldson. The Ranch at Rock Creek’s Executive Chef Josh Drage drew our attention to this excellent story about lambing after Donaldson visited one of our producers, Willow Spring Ranch. Chef Drage invites local purveyors to attend our Autumn Harvest every year, so that we can appreciate the people whose hard work emboldens The Ranch’s delicious, locally sourced cuisine. This post illustrates the close relationship that most Montanans have with their food–whether it’s foraging for morels, hunting for elk or visiting the farms and ranches that produce our vegetables and stock. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to experience good food at its source. (Spoiler alert: This post contains images of birthing, so be prepared.)

 

Lambing Season in Springhill

montana-lambs

Last Tuesday, I interviewed Katy Harjes—who raises certified organic, grass fed and finished lamb with her husband Rich outside of Bozeman—for an upcoming post by Wyatt Nelson & myself about their annual Willow Spring Ranch Sheep Shearing Party. The Harjes’ are smack in the middle of lambing season, so Katy & I spoke on the phone between her walks to the pasture to check on laboring ewes and various bottle feedings. Though my family has attended a Willow Spring shearing, I mentioned that my kids had never bottle fed a baby animal. “Bring them out!” encouraged Katy, who is passionate about increasing awareness of sustainably grown, organic lamb and loves sharing hands-on ranch experiences with children. Read more…

Category: Spring


Rethinking Spring Break

During spring in Granite County, everywhere you turn something has started anew. The land looks and smells green and earthy. Thousands of calves have been born within 100 miles of us, and they roam the fields in little gangs challenging each other to running races. If we could bottle that contagious feeling of spring renewal and send it out into the world, we would. But it wouldn’t be the same without seeing the fawns poking their noses out of the tall grass or the endless open spaces that make Montana such a unique destination.

montana-wildflowers

We want to harness that contagious feeling of spring renewal for travelers and propose some reasons to get out and take a spring break now—before the fevered excitement of summertime begins. If you’re looking for your own spring cleaning, for body, mind or soul, here are some once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities that are sure to recharge you. Read more…

Category: Spring


Scenes from Montana Brandings

Beyond the necessary business aspects of marking cattle, brandings are big springtime social events on Montana’s ranch lands. The valley snow has melted and green grass permeates the rolling hills of Big Sky Country. When neighbors live several miles apart, brandings are important social gatherings that reinforce valuable bonds. Hard work and helping hands shared among neighbors and friends have always been key to surviving in rural Montana communities.

These Instagram photos were taken by staff member HelloFromClaire

Montana Cowboys On Horseback at The Ranch At Rock Creek

Depending on a ranch’s capabilities and weather considerations, most calves are born in late winter or early spring. By late April, most babies are ready to be branded. The morning of a branding, cattle are gathered and sorted. Calves are separated from their mothers and kept in a different pen.

Read more…

Category: Spring


Goodbye Big Air. Hello Big Fish.

So Long Skiing

It’s over. The final day of our extra spectacular ski season has come and gone. Since December, our guests have embraced winter sports and adventures with gusto on The Ranch. They’ve had powder days and conquered moguls on the backside at Discovery Ski Basin.

downhill-skiing-1

It should come as no surprise – nobody suffers from cabin fever at The Ranch at Rock Creek. (Except the Canvas Cabin variety). But, spring fever is another story.  On a warm April day, we bid a fond farewell to winter. 

Hello Fly Fishing

We’ll make it official: Goodbye Big Air. Hello Big Fish.

Casting lessons on Rock Creek are part of fly fishing adventures at The Ranch at Rock Creek

Anglers are headed outside to the water’s edge to sharpen their skills. We practice our art form and daydream about the big fish we’ll catch this year.  Where will we be when the salmon flies hatch? Expectations are mounting. And, we can’t wait for our guests to experience spring fly fishing on our beautiful Rock Creek.

A trout gets ready to eat a fly in Rock Creek, a Blue Ribbon trout stream in Montana

From the banks of our pristine freestone mountain stream, we see wild creatures–elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep–traverse the valley floor.  Our eyes gaze up.  Nature has begun to paint a fresh landscape. Snow still drapes the surrounding peaks but recedes each day. It travels crooked paths through the rock and round hills, triggering sprouts of green.

A springtime scene in the Rock Creek Valley with green grass, mountains and stormy skies

We look at the runs and start scouting new spots. In the creek bottom, sediment loosens with the flush of mountain waters. Habitats are created for a new generation of fish and the myriad of aquatic insects. Rainbows, cutthroats and cutbows flash their most vibrant colors to attract a mate.

Our beloved Rock Creek is coming alive.


Our special Spring Fly Fishing Special is available April 15 through June 9. Floating on Rock Creek is only available until June 30th, so book that bucket list fly fishing vacation as soon as possible.