Eastern Montana Fishing Report 12.20.17
By angelamontana

Posted: December 20, 2017

Winter is  here  and with it comes sudden changes in weather and  changes in  water  conditions.  Outdoor enthusiasts including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes.   Storms  can   happen    quickly so fishermen or fisherwomen need to   keep in touch with the weather service.     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, fire and precipitation including snow   can   come on in fierce strength very fast. 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.  


(Report by Carol Henckel)

Rock Creek Marina-Bill 1-406-485-2560

Linda   reports, “Earlier this week we had ice forming and then that melted.  Now the weather is getting colder and it is starting to make ice again.  We went fishing from shore with friends and did not get anything.  We made a fire on the shore roasting sausages and enjoying each theirs company but caught no fish.”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond  said,”  We have not seen any fishermen this week.  It has been pretty quiet. The water has a thin cover of ice.  I think if the weather stays cold we will make good hard ice this next week.  It is all dependent on the weather and the forcast  looks good.  “

Some of the campgrounds have been shut down of  electricity.  Campers point north  has electricity.  That is the camp site closest to the marina.  The cleaning station is closed.  The water is turned off. There is no water at the  dump site and  in the campgrounds. The   boat inspection site  is closed.


Tongue River Marina  1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg /Warden Jordan Staley

Wade says, ” Right now there is a too thin sheet of ice  over the whole lake.  We have cold weather coming so it should thicken up. I am opening the Marina next   Friday.  Then we will be open Sat and Sunday.  Our hours will be 6 am to noon each day.  I have minnows, worms, tackle, beer, pop and snacks.  If you want to know more information check out Tongue River Marina on facebook.

This year   there will be no vending machine for minnows.    There will be no fuel available “, Wade explains.


Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345  Marina Matheson-Park  personnel

Layne says,” We have no one out here fishing.  We have no ice and the water is wide open as of right now. The weather has not been very nice, pretty cold. No one wants to be out in that.”

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

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


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

Eddie says, “ I know  of one group trying to fish. They had a lot of wind.  They tried a jig at 15 to 35 feet deep.  They caught a walleye and a northern pike.  There is not any ice right now.  The storm is coming  .  They  say it will start at 5 tonight.  ”

 Our hours are  6am-8pm Monday through Saturday6 am to 7 pm on Sunday. ”


Cooney Reservoir

Aaron reports.” I am not seeing any fishermen right now.  There is a cover   of ice.  It is open in the center and on a bit of the north side.  There is no shore so there is no shore fishing.  I went out with my spud  and found it was too thin on the north side. One hit of my spud and I broke through.  On   the south side  it was thicker.  It took three hits with the spud   to break through. Hopefully the cold weather coming will help.   “


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Ken   reports , ” Elmo has ice but has been icing up one day and then breaking open the next.  With this current cold weather it is icing up again.  I think if the weather gets as cold as they say it will cover it all but it may be a week or two  until it is thick enough.  I have not   seen any fishermen. They were fishing  at the dock but I have not seen anybody lately. I suspect there is ice there. “


Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Tony says,” Nobody has   visited here.   It  has been windy.  Wengot 3 to 4 inches of snow last night. (Monday)There is no ice yet.”

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

 Terry says,” The wind has blown a lot  this week.  No ice news yet for Martinsdale.”


Checkerboard Inn   Checkerboard, MT   Rick and Judy Geordge  406-572-3373

 Rick says, “  There is 6 inches of ice in some places.  People have been fishing on Bair and Sutherland.  Worms, corn and maggots are working. We have had wind. ”


Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Dale says, “It is snowing here right now. (Wednesday)   So I  think it will be making ice with the cold that is coming.  Spring Creek  is still clear water. It was hard to fish there  because there was so much wind.  ”


Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana   James  (Slim) and Abbie Craig  406-429-2999

Unable to contact.   No fishermen have been down.  The Marina is closed until December 20th. “

There is full service at the Marina with non-ethanol fuel, bait, minnows, worms, leaches and fishing lures.  We  also  have some rods and reels.  There  are cabins to rent. We hope to be open year round.


 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

  Sharon says,”  There is 6 inches of ice.  You can walk on to drill.  They are only catching trout  you can not get out far enough to catch perch yet.  The ice is out about a mile.   We do have maggots and have  gotten in  our ice fishing  items.  Don’t forget the Broadwater Lions Club Ice fishing Tournament on January 27th and 28th, 2018.   “

The   inspection station at the landing has closed.

The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm. We still are making and selling sandwiches at the Marina.


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

  Jim says,” On Forchette  you can  still go out in boats.  It is open. (Tuesday)  Nelson is speculative.  It   has had a few people  in the bay ice fishing in the shallows.  It should freeze up more with the storm coming. We do have bait,  minnows and crawlers  here if guys need them.”

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


 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Dan, Matt

Jayce says,” We have had guys really gearing up for ice fishing.   I have not heard much on fishing.

Beartooth: In the Beartooth mountains some guys were ice fishing on Greeno   by   Red Lodge.

Georgetown: Georgetown I also heard had ice not a ton in some places they say.

Sutherland: I heard some guys got some ling through the ic.


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “  The rivers have no  ice again. The ice is gone.

Harrison has 5 to 6 inches   of ice.  They   caught some rainbow, browns and brookies

 I also talked to someone who said George Town has ice.

There has been lots of wind and not much cold this week.”


Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977  ,Bill

  The rivers   are open.   Wading is also possible where the bank is clear.   Try a wooly bugger.  Streamers and nymph fishing should work.


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

 The water is less off color.  The visibility of the water is not good. The grass is still in it. Try a streamer  maybe  in black with a flasher.  Fishing is slower. Watch the redds if you see them and stay off that area.”


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Collette   said,”Use a streamer and go deep and slow.   The fishing has slowed down.  You will see clarity to 3 feet now.  The wind is a big factor.  It has been blowing.  Nymphing is real slow.”  For the holiday we will be closed until December 2st to the 3rd. After that we  will be  open   8 am to noon all week. “


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


 Alice says,”It is very wintery weather around here, but I know some folks have caught a few fish on streamers on the Madison. We were fishing on Tuesday and we were   nymphing . We used a   size 14 stonefly pattern and they  were working. There were a few midges blowing around but I think fish are more willing to eat them on the cloudy, calm days. Nymphing is the most productive on the Madison this time of year.

Merry Christmas!


Yellowstone National Park    

Yellowstone National Park  is closed for the season until May.

(Feature photo via Experience.Scheels.com)