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 Tuesdayand 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 compiled by Carol Henckel)
Rock Creek Marina-Bill 1-406-485-2560
Linda reports,” We had several fishermen come this week. The fishing was good with top-ups. People were catching northern pike, walleye and ling. They were using some minnows and smelt. One group was along the rock wall of the bay catching their fish. Some were in the bay in a cove in the weeds fishing. The ling caught was 36 inches and was caught in a depth of 15 to 20 feet depths. The ice is 18 inches thick. It was warmer yesterday so there was slush on it but overnight it froze again. The water temperature is 32 degree. ”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” I continue to hear fishing is hit and miss. People say that is typical for Tongue this time a year. The fishermen say they caught a few more walleye . The majority have been crappies an perch. I drove around the whole shore line and there were fishermen everywhere on shore and far out. People have been calling about how the ice is here because of the warmer weather but we have been cooler than other areas so it has not changed the ice. Most guys were catching with minnows from the Marina. We have 12 inches of ice. They are walking or using a 4 wheeler. As always use caution. “
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,” there were again quite a few fishermen here over the weekend. Another monster northern pike was caught . It was 40 inches. We have had some big pike caught this year. Some guys are spearing using decoys. They have been using both live minnows and smelt. Right now I told more smelt but it changes from day to day. I think more perch than crappie if I had to say. People were catching crappie and perch. No one was slaying them. The guys were trying south across from the Marina. Ice is 12 to 15 inches thick. I would say last week the ice was in the best condition I have seen in years. Some guys are saying I am just catching all perch or all crappies what am I not doing. I tell them they need to move. Change it up, move your holes and try a change in depth. Guys are using 4 wheelers and snowmobiles. The minnows I have right now are tiny 1 to 3 inches. The crappies and perch were doing well. “
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
Lane says,” ice fishermen have been doing good this week. The guys are using both live minnows and smelt. We have had fishermen, right now we are full up. They are catching northern pike and lake trout. The walleye bite is pretty slow right now with not many in the bay. They are catching all everything at 18 to 30 feet. The northers and lakers are going for smelt and minnows. We have 1 foot to 15 inches of ice. Guys are catching walleye toward Snow Creek. We have several pressure ridges so check with us for details. There are two in the bay and two out on the main. Guys are using 4 wheelers and side by side. No pickups are going out. As far as the road it is fair as there are a few slick spots. If you are bringing a camper you need to chain-up before the big hill as the base of the big hill is slick. ”
We are open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm now.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Carrie says, “It has been a good week for fishing. Guys are catching lake trout, walleye and northern pike at depths from 9 to 30 feet depths on top-ups. Smelt does not seem to be working right now. The lake trout have started to bite. It is not a hot bite but a steady bite.” “ People are doing well on northern pike. We were at depths of 80 to 110 feet.” Eddie explained, “Most guys were using a clacken rap or a 1 ounce slim bait.” Carrie tells us,” Walleye are about the same in bite with live minnows. They seem to be at a depth of 2 feet depths. They are being caught but harder to get. Ice is 14 to 18 inches of ice. Today (Tuesday) the temperature is 43 degrees but we are having some gusty winds. “
We 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,”The fishermen I talked to were fishing mostly on the south end and were told that it has been real slow. They said they are catching brown trout. They have tried corn, minnows and artificial bait. There is 12 inches of ice at Red Lodge campground area. Fisherman Point has 14 inches at the shore line and 8 inches in the middle. “
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Elmo still has ice but some water on it with warmer temperatures. They are catching perch. Mostly small ones. It is walk on only.”
Deadmans Tony Stefani
There have been a few ice fishermen at Deadman’s this week. Heard of some people having luck getting a few kokanee.
There are four shacks and ice fishermen on Broadview pond. So some are catching fish.
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” I heard from fishermen that fishing at Deadmans was pretty good this week. They were snagging some Kokanee at 5 to 6 feet. They were around the boat dock. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “ The bite at Bair this weekend was slow. People were catching but it took an awful long time to get them. We used corn, worms, and maggots. There is 14 to 16 inches of ice all over on Bair. It is getting easier to get in and out. On Sutherland it is still tough getting in. Due to the drifting snowmobiles are the ways to get to the ice. We heard Martinsdale was slow. ”
Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194
Scott says, “ The ponds have been fishing good.
The East Fork is fishing well. Maggots and small jigs are working. The perch bite is good.
At Achley the ice is good. Guys are using small jigs and maggots. If you’re at Achley you are catching fish.
Crooked Creek has been hit or miss. Smelt and herring are working better on northern pike. Some nice walleye have been caught.
I have heard nothing about how fishing is at Forchette. ”
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
Slim says, “ This last weekend we had a lot of fishermen here. Fishing seems to picking up a little. We have 16 to 17 inches of ice. Walleye and northern pike are back on the bite. People are catching walleye , eater size, not big ones. Also some crappies are being caught. Guys are going to Anderson point to Squaw Creek. People are using 4 wheelers and pickups on ice. There is a pressure ridge building so be extremely careful. The road is okay, a little slick in places but not bad. ”
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,” the Broadwater Lions Club Ice fishing Tournament was this past weekend. The number of fishermen fishing it was record setting. There was a tie for first place. The total was 10.06 pounds of perch. That was their best 10 for a team of three. On Sunday the big perch was 1.45 pounds. The ice is 12 to 15 inches. They are catching average size one pound walleye. Not the usual. The perch is at 40 to 60 feet at Duck Creek and Confederate. It has been warm during the day and cold at night so the ice is still good. The trout bite is still good. There are 3 to 4 pressure ridges so check at the marina for details. Just be careful. “
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,” Nelson fishing has been hit and miss. On Nelson there is good ice. It is really hard ice. The ice is 22 inches deep. “
Forchette is slow fishing right now. There is 8 inches of ice in the bay and more than 5 inches at first point.
Stop by the store. We do have bait, minnows and crawlers here if you need them.”
Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday
Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Dan, Matt
Jayce says,”Big Horn: Lots of people fishing fly fishing. The guys I talked to each caught only a few fish. I know that a few guys went to the Afterbay to use minnows to try for walleye.
Bair: Some guys came in and said they caught a few rainbows. It was a slower bite.
Crooked Creek: At Crooked Creek by Peck I heard the pike fishing is fair but steady. ”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ the rivers are open but have lots of floating ice and shelf ice on the edge. You would have to really be careful to get to the water.
At Canyon Ferry the tournament guys I talked to were saying they did not get much action. It was a full tournament, lots of people trying. They were saying it is finding that right spot that is tricky . They were going 50 to 60 feet down.
Holter- I have heard the fishing is good there. ”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“There is quite a lot of ice. The rivers are still not safe. There is lots of shelf ice. You just cannot safely get close it makes things very hazardous. . If you try to find an opening you really have to pick your spots carefully. They are few and far between,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau says, “Fishing is good right now but I hear there were many fishermen out there. I hear the water is definitely clearing up. Try the usual winter midges if you fish. The cfs is at still 4,000 cfs. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Stephanie says,” The wind has been blowing more this week. The water has very good clarity . Fishing is okay winter fishing. Streamer fishing is the way to go. For streamers use dirty hippies. Try a thin mint or a vanilla wafer.”
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,” With the recent warmer weather more midges have been on the Madison. If no adult midges are on the water, nymphing is productive. Fish a larger nymph with a zebra midge or similar below.
Streamer fishing can also move fish if midges aren’t active…”
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May.
(feature photo via Destination Missoula)