Eastern Montana Fishing Report for the Week of 9.12.16
By angelamontana

Posted: September 14, 2016

The summer weather means you should stay aware. The weather and water levels can be very unpredictable.  Enjoy yourself but remember alcohol alters your judgment. So use it sparingly while enjoying the outdoors. Keep an eye on the weather as conditions such as temperature, wind and precipitation can change quickly. This report is compiled on Monday and Tuesday and reflects conditions and results of fishing from the past week.  If you wish other information feel free to contact most parties for current daily information. Good luck fishing from the Montana Outdoor Radio Crew.

***Please be aware that there are closures and fishing restrictions  still in effect on the Yellowstone in areas around Livingston and some tributaries. Other areas are open to fishing and floating.  Check the FWP site for further information as waters may change after this report is submitted.  ***

(Report compiled by Carol Henckel)

Rock Creek Marina-Bill 1-406-485-2560

“Bill   says,” Pretty quiet for fishermen   this week. The few  who were here did find fish.  One group had 2 walleye, 5 northern pike and bass.  The water is around 65 degrees.  Fall is here and  fishing will pick up if the weather stabilizes.  The docks are still in.  A  12.7 pound salmon was caught off shore here.  Some fishermen are heading to the dam and catching salmon.  They are still biting. ”


Tongue River Reservoir /Bob

Bob   says,” It was rainy and cold on Monday.   Fishing is holding  up even with the cooler weather.  Only had a few fishermen here.  Fall is in the air.  Sunday is the last day for reservations for this year.  After that it is first come, first serve.  After October 15th  there will be a limited number of sites open for use available.  By shutting down part of the sites we are able to cut the cost of maintenance.   Wade has his store trailer working and he is open.  They are bit yet in the old building. ”


Tongue River Marina  1-406-757-2225 Wade Stephanie /Warden Jordan Straley

“ With the lake being  low it is surprising fishing has been so good.  People are catching everything, bass, walleye, pike and crappies.  Pretty much everything is being caught.  They are trolling with a rip shad at 5 to 15 feet at 2 ½ mph.  The old faithful jig with a minnow works well.  Some guys are finding big fish  using structures.  If you  get a snag  you might get a whopper.  The lower water   I think has trapped the fish in holes.  You know things are good if the cleaning station is busy.  I was told the station was just hopping.  That is a good sign,” Wade says.



Clint Thomas- Hell Creek Marina 1-406- 557-2345  Marina Matheson-Park   Hell Creek-Fort Peck Reservoir east to

Staff tells us ,” Waking up this morning it was 29 degrees.  It has warmed up now and  is still getting warmer.  Fishing has not been too bad. It has been decent fishing. Guys are catching northern pike and bass.   The water temperature has been 68 degrees or so.  Walleye are just not biting. “

We are open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm now.”

The new park manager for Hell Creek State Park is Marina Matheson. “


Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597

Carrie says,   ”The first string   of salmon are at the dam.  They are catching nice healthy fish.   We have seen a 22 pounder   and the biggest salmon caught this season was  a  29.6 pounder.  I am hearing that guys are   fishing for walleye at the pines.   They are finding some there. I have not seen any of them.  The guys are using squids and flashers   in greens and blues. They are also trying minnows and jigs.  The fall bite is starting.   “


Lake Elmo Billings FWP-Bob Gibson

With this colder temperature   fishing has slowed down.  With school starting the number of people fishing has decreased.  The water level is good.  The ospreys   are sure having fun  fishing and are doing well.  If guys   are   fishing  they are trying early in the  morning or  late in the day.


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has rescinded restrictions on campfires and smoking at its fishing access sites in Bighorn, Yellowstone, Stillwater and Carbon counties.

Minnow Bucket


Cooney Reservoir -Glennis

Glennis   explains, ” People are catching some crappie with a jig and a worm.  Guys are catching trout from shore using the usual night crawers and power bait.   We have pulled all the docks.  Things look great.  The water levels are down.   You can only get small boats   in.  The parking lot on the North shore   is done.  The   sealing looks really good. “

The new Park Ranger is, Skylar Mitchell a transfer from Dillon.


Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Tony says, ”  We have not had fishermen this week.  It has been wet and mussy.  We have seen some hunters.  The water is as low as if it was winter.  Some salmon are being caught  and a few rainbow trout.  Big boats still can NOT get in. A smaller boat still can.  You must   walk   through the mud to get to your boat in   the water.  The lake is very low. The dock has been pulled.  They have cut back  on drawing the water now.   The   DNRC   are still working on the dam. “

Campers remember it is now a pay site.


Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22

Low waters are still making fishing difficult  at  Martinsdale. I have heard that fishing   is only okay there because of the low water.


Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Dale   explains, “  The weather is beautiful  today,  everyone should be out fishing.  At   Spring   Creek   fly  fishermen have been having luck.  Fishing is doing   well.  Use little dry flies mostly midges.  The basic nymphs are also working well.

On the west end of Fort Peck like Crooked Creek   guys are finding fishing doing well.    Try  depths  of  5 to 15 feet depths for walleyes.


At Achley fishing   is starting to   do well in the shallow water  at shore.  Fly fishers are doing well for rainbows   . “


Crooked Creek-Grant

Walleye   are being caught at   Crooked Creek .  Decent   size ones   are being   caught.  Please Call for information. The number is 1-406-429-2999.


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

“We have had a fair amount of wind this week.  Not many   fishermen out because of the wind.  Walleye  fishing was good  if they were able to get out.  Mostly 12 to 18 inchers   caught.  The fishing is dcent , not awesome right now.  Look for walleye in depths of 22 to 30 feet down.   The lake is down.  The perch are at 30 feet depths, “ Sharon says.

The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.


West Side Sports Jim Mayer 1-406-654-1611

“Nelson’s  water is still low.    Launching   is difficult.  Catching a   few walleye.  Catching more northern pike.

Fishing   has been spotty.  At   Forchette they are catching a few walleye with a jig and a minnow.  Some people have caught a few northern pike 10 to 15 pounds, ” Jim said.

Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday.


Billings-Scheels Dan , McCahen

McCahen   says,”

The   Yellowstone river has dirty some because of the recent rain.   They are catching lots of bass.  Sauger bite has also gotten better. Use gulp or minnows with a shiner.    Fishing is real good from Billings going East.

For Yellowtail   they are still finding a fair number of bass.  They are   finding walleyes and sauger.   The   fishing has been good.  Use tube jigs.   Some   small gulp   minnows are working.

Fort Peck  fishing is good for salmon at the dam.  Try   rocky points going 15 to 20 feet down.  Some nice ones are being caught.  “


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ Things have been pretty quiet. The weather is a part of that.   Canyon Ferry was real windy this week.  Walleye are being caught.  Eater size mostly. Trout are biting pulling cranks. .

The rivers are still low. The hoot owl is off.  The Jefferson is closed.   Not much change in fishing.  Try night crawlers, and grasshoppers.


Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977

Bill tells us, “ The river here continues to be open.  We are still booking trips and of course we are open.   One of the guides was just in and said the fishing is really doing well.  Use the yellow flies this seems to be working.

The Stillwater is fishing   pretty well.  Try dry fly   nymphing, it is working.  Use a fat Frank hopper in the middle of the day.   The Purple haze and elk hair caddis is working for hatches they ae seeing.”


Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

“The river was the busiest I have seen in a long time today.  Fishing is   still  good.  It seems to have less grass in it.   The weather has messed with the   tricot hatch.   Nymphing   seems to be a better presentation.  There is some   hopper action.    For hoppers   you have got to stay at it.  Try shallow ripples and corner pockets.   Sow bugs and worms are also working. The fall baetes hatch has started.  I am seeing it after noon.     For dry flies use black cadis and grasshoppers.  After that use nymphs and grasshoppers,  ” Beau says.


Steven Caldwell  guide

“When fishing head to the dam.  You can catch a bunch toward Wolf Creek.  At the bridge you will be moving around a lot   so stay alert.  The Canyon   is good. I have seen no hatches this week.   The tricot hatch seems to be done.    Try using a pseudo baetes  size 26.  It is not good for nymhs.  Try a Hogan 5 size 16 or S& M, “ Steven explains.


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Stephanie   says,  “ The tricots have been  good.  The cfs is 2200.  The bite is early, early.  The water is clear.  Use more dries early in the morning and later in the day.    Nymphing   is not as active.     Use the   thin mints on the streams.      Black caddis are also   working.    For streamers try a dirty hippy or something really colorful.  You will be lucky to catch fish later as the hatch of PMV’s are there.  There are more people are on the river right now.   Call ahead for guide   availability.”

Our shop hours are 7 am to 7 pm now Monday to Sunday.


Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone : Alice Owsley, fishing guide and outfitter 406-640-1698


Alice says,” The Madison is doing well.  With the Yellowstone closed below the Park fishing is an alternative there.  The only area closed in the park is slough creek.  There is some smoke  in the park but the Madison valley has been clear of it.  The Madison and the Gibbon is smokiest in the morning.  The air has been 80 degrees so be aware of the water temperature and its stress on the fish.  I would suggest staying off the Firehole as the warm water is stressing fish there.  Really be conscious of fish stress right now no matter where you go.  Mornings are most productive nymphing smaller mayflies and caddis patterns. Warm, breezy afternoons are fantastic for a big foam hopper with an ant dropper. For Hebgen Dam  fish the deeper water.  Get those fish back into the water as quickly as possible to reduce stress in this warm weather.


Yellowstone National Park

All fishing accesses in Yellowstone National Park are open. High elevation streams are quite cool following accumulated snow from this past week. If you hike to higher elevations to streams and lakes bring your bear spray as the bears are berry picking. Flying ant patterns or hoppers midday are the most productive. IF fish aren’t responding to your dry flies, check your drift or nymph small-midsized flies. Continue to keep those fish wet and set them free as quickly as possible. to higher elevations to   streams and lakes that are cooler.  Bring your bear spray as the bears are berry picking.   Flying ant   patterns or hoppers   midday are the most productive.  IF fish aren’t responding to your dry flies, check your drift or nymph small-midsized flies.  Keep those fish wet and set them free as quickly as possible.