This spring has been all about exploring. Discovering new stretches of river, new side channels, new honey holes, new dirt roads and hiking new trails.
I have spent most of my free time in the Big Hole Valley. Floating and exploring new sections of the river and discovering new areas in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness area. The Big Hole is a classic western river. Flowing through a big scenic valley, fed by cold and clean snow melt, lots of bug life, full of beautiful wild trout and epic views.
Scouting missions are always rewarding! Some days you figure out the super secret fly pattern, others you find the right line to navigate the rapids or other days you spend quality time with the dog.
For a few months I have been day dreaming about a week long float on the Smith River this spring. We successfully drew a permit for the float, my wife and I both got time off work and the I had planted the seed about the adventure with my best friends in Colorado months ago. Everything was falling into place…
As our launch date approached the weather forecast turned south, friends had a change of plans and just like that my dreams of a week on the river crumbled.
Fortunately, I live in Montana and there is an abundance of vacation options just outside my backdoor. To salvage our days off we took a “staycation” by spending a couple of days on Rock Creek about a half hour from our house.
Rock Creek can sometimes be overlooked with all the other fishing and camping options around the state, but this recent trip reminded me of why I fell in love with this gem on my first trip to Montana years ago. Rock Creek is a Blue Ribbon Trout Stream with a healthy population of willing Cutthroat, Rainbow and Brown Trout. Being a small steam, it is only float and fishing option during the spring and early summer. Float trips during this time of year can be unforgettable experience; great scenery, awesome fishing and all while having the river to yourself.
Rock Creek is not only a great fishery, but it offers dozens of great camp sites and a handful of Forest Service Cabins available for rent. On this springtime trip we chose to stay at one of our favorite cabins. The four or five cabins along Rock Creek vary in size and accommodations and can be perfect for any getaway. The Stony Creek Cabin has a convenient location, great outdoor fire pit and is the perfect size for us and our dog.
As we were headed home we both remarked about how we both take the beauty of Rock Creek for granted since it is so close to Philipsburg. Sometimes the best vacation is close to home.