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,” this past weekend we got snow and were drifted in pretty bad. We got 6 inches and 1 foot drifts of snow. We had fishermen last week who could not get in. We have plowed and access is better. We have people coming this weekend. We did have some snowmobilers who came down to see I they could catch anything on the north point across from the Rock Creek ramp and they did not catch anything but cold. It sounds like it is going to warm up a little so the guys coming will have better weather. ”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” it was 20 below this morning. We have had a lot of fishermen. It was a good weekend for finding fish. I heard about more pike being caught. We have 12 inches of ice. I heard of crappie and perch being caught but no walleye. They are walking or using a 4 wheeler. Use caution. “Spencer said,” I went fishing this weekend. It was slow fishing but there was enough action to keep you interested. “
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 many fishermen here over the weekend. One person caught a tiger musk eye which was 15 pounds, 42 inches. That person also caught a 10 pound walleye using minnows he bought at the marina. The minnows I have right now are tiny 1 to 3 inches and it was a little one. The crappies and perch were doing well. People caught lots of northern pikes. Friday and Saturday were busy that is for sure. There is 12 inches of ice over the whole reservoir. We did have people catching some smallies, some nice size 2 to 3 pound bass. This weekend every species was caught “
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
Clint says,” it has been a busy week for me. I have plowed 2 times all the way to town and 5 times half way to town. 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. They are catching all everything at 18 to 30 feet. The northers and lakers are going for smelt and minnows. We have 10 to 11 inches the first half of the bay. There is 8 to 9 inches west to Snow Creek and the main lake east is only 7 to 8 inches. Guys are using 4 wheelers and side by side. No pickups are going out. Not much in pressure ridges as of yet. ”
We are open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm now.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Justin says, “ice fishing was slow this week. That cold snap we had really slowed things down. There was not a lot of action fishing. The cold weather just stopped things from happening. I was one of the guys who tried getting something across from Rock Creek. It was real slow. We did not catch anything. We were spearing, hoping for northerns. With the weather warming up that should help. “
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,” 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. People have caught a bunch of perch, mostly small ones.
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,” there were a couple of ice fishermen here this week. I did not hear anything about how they did. The road is passable, not dry. Just come prepared for a few drifts you have to push through. ”
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” some people have tried ice fishing at Deadmans this week. They went down 25 to 30 feet and out quite a way on the ice. They used a fish finder and marked no fish. I told them they needed to stay close to shore because that is where the Kokanee are usually. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “It is 8 below today. There is still 14 to 16 inches of ice all over on Bair. It is getting easier to get in and out. That is because of the snow being packed from the chains. It still is the hard part getting down and back. You just have to be prepared with chains to get out. People are using 4 wheelers. The bite was a little slower probably the cold. It took a bit longer to catch something. No matter the ice conditions be careful have not heard anything about Sutherland this week. Try worms, corn and maggots. ”
Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194
Dale says, “The East Fork Perch Derby is this weekend on the 20th and 21st. The perch bite is up. At Achley it has been quieter. They are finding them at 20 to 21 feet with 25 being the max. They are catching trout. The ice is solid.
At the small ponds they are catching brook trout.
On Crooked Creek it has been quieter for action. They are catching mostly pike using smelt and herring. ”
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
Slim says, “We had fishermen here. This morning it was 22 below so the cold slowed things. Fishing seems to be hit and miss. Ice is at 1 foot. People are catching walleye with a jig. Some people are 300 to 400 yards out. The shore fishing has been slower. At Anderson to Squaw Cree fishing seems to be good. Guys are taking 4 wheelers out. You find them from 20 to 4 feet right now. There is a pressure ridge building so be extremely careful. Only a few crappies caught but no perch yet. We have more than 10 inches of ice. It is walk on only. ”
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,” fishing is quite good. Fish are quite good and they are big and plentiful. Guys are getting their limits. They are finding perch 40 to 60 feet down mid lake. The trout are along the shore and guys are doing well for them. We have good ice in depths of 12 to 15 inches of ice. You can walk on to drill. There are some pressures 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. We have tickets here. You can call for more information. “
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 okay ice fishing if they want to go out in the cold. 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 titups and spearing for walleye. 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,” On Nelson by Malta some guys say fishing was good for northern pike and walleye.
On Tongue people have caught small mouth bass, pike and a few ling.
On Cooney I hear fishing was slow. They are catching only a few trout as the cold slowed things. I was there trying for 5 hours and we got no bites. We were at 15 to 20 feet. Some were catching a few decent ling before the cold I heard.
On Holter fishing has been good for catching perch. It is a little slower than last year I am hearing.
Someone said Highlight has had good ice fishing for trout.”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ the rivers have ice floating right now. It is hard to get to the water and pretty treacherous. I would not recommend it.
At Canyon Ferry guys are catching perch. I talk to one guy who limited out and another who did real well. The guy who limited out his largest perch was 1 pound 14 ounces and the smallest was 1 pound 4 ounces. The other guy caught 5 walleye that were 14 to 15 inchers but he caught twenty smaller he did not keep. They were both deep at 50 feet.
At Harrison guys are still catching. I hear they are catching trout.
At Hauser they are catching perch. It is still an okay bite.
I hear Holter is really good and the fish are good size.”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“The rivers are not safe . There is slush and shelf ice. You just cannot safely get close. If you might find an opening you could try but be careful. Stay home and tie flies,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau says, “The cfs is supposed to go to about 3900 cfs. Hopefully that will help with the high water we have had in the summer. The water is definitely clearing up. It is less off color. On calm days there still is a baetes hatch usually around 1 pm. Use the usual winter sows and midges if you fish. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Stephanie says,” The cfs is at 4,000. The water has very good clarity clear. Try a tan or gray ray, soft tackle sow bug, an orange scud or a zebra midge. You can also try a zebra midge, San Juan or a black PT (pheasant tail) as well. For dries try a baetes size 20. The baetes hatch is just about over. For streamers use dirty hippies. Use a full sinking line in deeper water. 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,” I have not been out but I have heard sunny, warmish days are seeing midges hatching. If the winds are calm, fish should rise to them. If they aren’t rising, nymphing is the way to go, two flies, one chunky and one small should do the trick. If the water is deep enough streamer fishing can be effective on slightly warmer days, too.”
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May.