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. The strength and depth of ice can change very quickly please watch for any changes. 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,” we had several fishermen here this last week. I heard of ten pike being caught and one ling. No one caught any walleye. The north and south is completely covered with ice. There is 4 to 6 inches of ice. In some places there is a mix of snow pack and slushy spots on the ice. The snow has insulated the ice. It is not ready to drive on and people were drilling on the edge. People have been pretty much fishing in front of the Marina. If you go out 30 feet the ice is clear ice. ”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” It has been pretty cold this week. We have had quite a few fishermen. They have been catching crappie, perchand pike. There is 10 inches at the Marina people say. There have not been fishermen down by the dam. People have been fishing close to shore only going 100 yardds out at the most. They are walking or using a 4 wheeler. I really urge using caution. You can’t see the strength of the ice so walk carefully. We have a foot of snow here. Carry your spud and check the ice. “
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,” We had a good number of fishermen over the weekend. Friday and Saturday were busy that is for sure. There is 10 inches of ice. There are slushy pockets of ice that you need to pay attention too. The ice over all is good. The guys were catching lots of perch and crappie using minnows. They also caught some northern pike with smelt. Guys were jigging. My son caught a nice size pike right in front of the Marina. He was so excited. Great time for a 14 year old. He also lost an even bigger one that’s head had trouble getting through the hole. They’re finding them at 25 to 35 feet. “
The Marina is open Friday, Sat and Sunday. Our hours will be 6 am to noon each day. I am getting minnows right now. I will have worms. Mill 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.
Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345
Kayla says,” We have 4 to 5 inches of ice at Boy Scout to Lucky Point. There are very few fishermen here this week.
From Lucky Point to Peterson Point to the face of the Bay there is 3 to 4 inches. On the Main Lake there is 1 inch or less of ice. . The weather has been cold. ”
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
Carrie says, “ice fishing is picking up. There is not a lot of snow cover. It is walk on or using 4 wheelers. Just be careful. They are using live minnows at 15 to 33 feet. Flathead has 7 inches at the boat ramp. Duck Creek has 4 inches. Nelson Dredge has 11 to 13 inches. Eddie has been at the Dredge. The walleye bite was good using tip ups. They are spearing northerns and getting some nice ones. They are getting more pike right now.
I do have minnows, hooks, floaters, full suckers, wax and meal worms and white and pink maggots here for the guys to use. Our hours are 7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday. ”
Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson.
Marina reports,” There is 8 inches of ice at Cooney. We have ice out 50 to 60 feet. I have plowed the road but we have snow coming again. If you fish right now it is walk on only. We have had a few more fishermen. “
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Bob reports , ” Elmo has ice . With the warmer weather today and yesterday there is some standing water on the ice. There is more snow and cold weather coming next week. There have been many fishermen out there this week although not today. It is walk on only at Elmo. Some people were catching.”
Deadmans Tony Stefani
Tony says,” We saw a couple of ice fishermen early in the week. After that the snow and wind closed things down. They plowed us open yesterday. Last night it blew and drifted us in so we can’t even open our door.”
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” the road has not been good so fishing is tough to do. People are fishing at Martinsdale this week. We are supposed to get snow and below zero temps so people won’t be thinking of fishing. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “ There is 14 to 16 inches of ice all over on Bair. The hardest part is getting down and back. If you are driving a pickup be prepared with chains to get out. People are using 4 wheelers. The bite is pretty good. No matter the ice conditions be careful. At Martinsdale have heard of huts being out there. In all three places you have to be prepared. There were days the drifting was really bad. One fisherman could only get in with a snowmobile at Sutherland. Try worms, corn and maggots. ”
Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194
Dale says, “We do have ice. At Achley they are catching trout. The ice is pretty solid.
At the small ponds they are catching perch . they are brookies 6 to 7 inches.
On the west part of Fort Peck they are doing well. St both Crooked Creek and Forchette they are catching nice fish. They are using a minnow for perch or crappies and doing well.
At Spring Creek the shore is pretty icy so fishing is tougher. If you can get in you can catch 14 to 18 inchers. ”
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
Slim says, “ We had a huge number fishermen here. Fishing seems to be hit and miss. When I first got here I was approached by a teen who had caught a big fish. This kid had caught a great big fish He had caught a 40 inch northern pike which weighed 20 pounds. It was so neat to see his excitement. People are catching walleye with a jig and getting some that were 14 inches long. Some people are 300 to 400 yards out. The shore fishing has been slower. I have not seen walleye caught. At Anderson to Squaw Cree fishing seems to be good. They are catching walleye in numbers there. They are taking 4 wheelers out. Go down 20 to 4 feet for results. There is a pressure ridge building so be extremely careful. That area seemed to be where it was last year. They have caught a few crappies but no perch yet. We have more than 7 inches of ice. It is walk on only. Carry on shanty is good right now. They are using dead smelt or minnows Live minnows are not working as well right now. They are starting to stack up. ”
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,”Generally fishing is good. They are finding perch 30 to 50 feet down. The wlleye are at the same depth. Some fishermen were out this week. People have been getting 1 walleye for every 5 perch. It has been so cold here. We have good ice in depths of 11 to 15 inches of ice. The top of the ice is slushy in places because of the warmer weather and snow on the ice. You can walk on to drill. There are some pressure ridges building so stop at the Marina to get specifics. Be careful. Don’t forget the Broadwater Lions Club Ice fishing Tournament on January 27th and 28th, 2018. “
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 Nelson guys are doing good ice fishing . The ice is 7to 18 inches deep but you still need to be careful. I will say some are driving out there but very cautiously. Be real careful driving on it. Not many northern pike being caught. They are using tipups and spearing for walleye. I have heard there is 4 to 6 inches of ice on Forchette in the bay. It is mostly walk on. They are using minnow and catching some big northern pike. 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,” On Cooney I hear they are catching a few trout. They also caught a decent size ling. They were catching a few decent ling..
On Holter fishing has been good for catching perch. Some guys are catching loads of them.
On Elmo people have caught a bunch of perch. Mostly small ones.
Someone said Highlight has had good ice fishing for trout.”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ The rivers have floating ice right now but with the weather change that could be different in the next few days.
I also talked to guys who said on Canyon Ferry they are catching trout. Not a lot of perch being caught. Guys said very few walleye were caught and they were small if they got them.
Harrison is producing trout I am told.”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“ The rivers are icing up and are not safe to be get to. The roads are bad. I headed to Argentina and found good fishing there. Stay home and tie flies,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau says, “ After a meeting with the water conservation board I heard they are going to change the cfs to about 3900 cfs which hope will help with the high water we had this summer. The water is less off color and it is definitely clearing up. On calm days there still is a baetes hatch usually around 1 pm. Use the ususal winter sows and midges if you fish. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Collette says,” The water is clearing. Use those streamers they seem to be working. We are seeing a baetes hatch so use your size 20 flies. Stay warm and be prepared for weather changes.”
Our winter hours are 8 am to noon all week.
Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone : Alice Owsley, fishing guide and outfitter 406-640-1698
Alice says,”It has been extremely cold. Nymphs and streamers have been working if you are willing to head out in the cold, Try midges if it isn’t blowing.”
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May.