(photo courtesy of Brett French)
The crappie bite seems to be heating up at Tongue River Reservoir. The bite is something a lot of folks can’t wait to hit. Although the fish are small, they are flavorful and a great chance to get children hooked on fishing. They can be successfully caught from shore, rowboats or motorized boats. Working the banks with jigs, bait or flies like a Clouser minnow are all good options. Trollers are also picking up walleye, bass and northerns. Like Fort Peck, firetiger seems to be a hot crankbait color.
Except for tailwater streams like the Bighorn River and Madison, most of the streams in this region are blown out with runoff. We’ve had frequent thunderstorms in the evenings adding to the meltwater streaming down from the high country. As an example of how quickly things have changed, in two weeks the nearby Stillwater River has gone from below-normal flows to above-normal. Up in northeastern Montana, the Milk River continues to rage. At the Nashua flow gauge, the river was running at 8,600 cfs on Wednesday.
Typically it’s down around 540 cfs. In comparison, the Missouri River at Landusky is flowing below normal at 12,500 cfs. Too bad we can’t redirect the Milk River into Fort Peck Reservoir to pump up its water volume rather than have it all going downstream to the Dakotas.
To check out the streamflows across the state, log on to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mt/nwis/current?type=flow.
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor of the Billings Gazette)