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Western correspondent John Holt has added to the comment recently about Montana’s Rock Creek an ongoing discussion that began two months ago with a positive Angler Network Report by subscriber Eric M. Richard. In some follow up comment, subscriber Nick Anderson reported that Rock Creek is not the water it once was due to excessive pressure and the state’s "lifting of catch and release regulations on one of the best sections." Herewith Holt’s comment on all this: "Concerning the Rock Creek discussion, this water has actually never been entirely a catch and release stream. Current regulations say the following about Rock Creek from its mouth to mouth of West Fork Rock Creek: *Artificial lures only except fishermen 14 years and younger may use bait. Limit A: three trout per day under 12 inches or two trout under 12 inches and one over 20 inches…. *Extended whitefish season and catch and release for trout open December 1 to third Saturday in May… *Closed to fishing from boats July 1 through November 30…. While Anderson is correct when he says that fishing in Rock Creek is ‘Nowhere what it used to be,’ this is not the fault of current regulations, which have actually led to a slight improvement in the quality of the angling here over the past few years. Too many people are using the resource that is the problem.
"He’s right about the effect of floaters. They do indeed wreak havoc with wading anglers, but the ones who do that are not professional guides and outfitters. The trouble is created by inexperienced individuals who run the river out of control or without giving any thought to the rights of others. The bright spot in this is that wading anglers, as stated above, don’t have to contend with floaters from July 1 through November 30. Overall, I still have to admit that the angling in this stream is not what it was and I don’t think it’s likely to improve."