Rock Creek is one of the most remote and beautiful trout streams in Kentucky. Nestled in the Big South Fork Recreation Area, a few bumpy gravel roads will lead you to this productive fishery.
Kentucky isn’t always known as having great trout fishing, and most of the attention is given to the nearby Cumberland River tailwater. While that’s a great place to fish from a boat, there’s something irreplaceable about the small mountain stream experience that Rock Creek offers.
Big South Fork, Rock Creek. @jcwilliams931
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT
To love fly fishing is to love conservation and preservation, and supporting Rock Creek as a coldwater trout fishery is a noble thing for any fly angler living near or visiting the area.
Like much of Eastern Kentucky, mining raised acidity in Rock Creek to levels intolerable for wild trout. Thanks to the efforts of the state, locals, and other organizations, trout are now thriving again in Rock Creek and are ready to take your fly.
Nestled deep in the greater Big South Fork area, Rock Creek is a lush, secluded stream that preserves what most of Eastern Kentucky would have looked like before the mines. Anglers will find lots of rainbow trout, as Kentucky Wildlife officials release over 15,000 every year. Though most of the fish that you will encounter at Rock Creek are between 8 and 12 inches, a few holdovers will grow to larger sizes and orient around fallen logs and deep riffles.
Rock Creek is one of the most stunning streams in all of Kentucky. Along its course, you’ll find massive granite boulders, quiet riffles, and lots of wildlife. Because Rock Creek is in such a remote place, the fish and the wildlife see little pressure, so keep your eyes peeled for a chance to see deer, turkey, bears, and a large diversity of salamanders and other critters.
A 3 or 4 weight rod is more than sufficient to handle these small fish. Attach a long leader and use nymphs, streamers, or egg patterns. Greenie weenies are especially effective from late April until fall.
WHO IS GOING TO LOVE IT
For the angler who likes to pack everything needed for a wild escape and stay off the beaten path, Rock Creek is a great place to just go and be a kid playing in a stream again. The wildness, the scenery, and the likely chance of encountering wildlife in a quiet mountain hollow is something to behold for the adventurous angler.
If you’re looking for bigger fish, Rock Creek isn’t going to scratch that itch, but continued conservation efforts paired with catch and release practice will help this fishery grow into an exciting trophy stream.
DIRECTIONS, PARKING, & REGULATIONS
All always, be sure to have a current Kentucky Fishing License. Rock Creek is legally a catch and release fishery, so practice this to ensure quality fishing in the future.
Rock Creek is situated at the end of bumpy Forest Service roads, so a high clearance vehicle is necessary, and 4-wheel drive is recommended.
All trout can be fussy to catch, but stockies are forgiving for beginner anglers. Plus, you don’t need a long cast to get in the strike zone.
Time to Complete
Spring Summer Fall
Mid March to Late October.
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