Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 2.21.18
By angelamontana

Posted: February 22, 2018

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 compiled by Carol Henckel)

Rock Creek Marina-Bill 1-406-485-2560

Linda  reports, ” We had some guys here this week that lucked out and found a trout hole.  They caught  their  and then some.  They caught a total of 100 trout of course throwing the extra back.  The guys would not share where the spot was. They did have a great time.  They did catch a few Northerns but not one walleye.
We are snowed in. Too much snow to plow.  You can get to Rock Creek but  you need to come in through  the north end and use a 4 wheeler to the Marina.  There is too much drifting and snow to come in the other way.  If you have more questions call us.”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Spencer   said,” Today we had -8  degrees and one fisherman actually showed up to ice fish.  We have not seen  many  people out fishing this week. We had a storm over the weekend so that made part of Saturday and Sunday hard to fish.  The road from Sheridan is snow packed.  Plowing at the park is happening but slow going.  We are working on it.  You can get to the marina we just now are working on the campgrounds today. (Wednesday noon) We will geet it done.  The few   fishermen caught a  few crappies and perch. Most guys were catching with minnows from the Marina.  We have 10 to 12 inches of 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 reports,” we had  -20 below this week.  Over the weekend on Saturday the Marina was busy.  Not a lot of people  talking about if they were catching  but they were fishing.  We sold a bunch of minnows.  My wife was nice and gave me a break and was there on Saturday.  She got snowed in  when the blizzard hit and could not get home.    Try going 35 feet to find the fish  using a glow in the dark spoon and  my small fathead minnows.  The smaller minnow  works better.  The roads are good around here.“

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.  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,” it is 9 degrees here.  We have had a few fishermen here.   They have been doing well on  northern pike this week.  They are deeper and  are finding them at 20 to 30  feet depths.   The walleye bite is a little better. It seems to be more consistent.  They are finding   them at 10 to 20 feet.  The ice  is  14inches  to 2 foot in places.  Fishermen are  using 4 wheelers and side-by-sides.   We have several pressure ridges so check with us for details.  There are two in the bay and two out on the main.  The road is good  Clint plowed it. ”

The Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.  ­­­­­­­


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

Carrie says, “The lake trout are biting.  Guys are jigging   at 25 to 80 feet.  The walleye are only biting an hour before sun rise and an hour after sun set.  People need to know there is 8 to 10 inches of snow on the ice.  Some had caught northern pike. The bite seems to be steady. The bait of choice that is the most successful is hot dogs.  Not part of a hot dog but a whole hot dog.  A little kid caught a pike and they went to clean and fillet it and found two whole hotdogs inside! So you don’t have to bring a lot of bait all you have to do is bring your lunch and feed it to the pike and you will catch fish.   We are using four wheelers but we are putting chains on.  It is not always necessary but if you need them you really need them.  The ice depths are 22 to 25 inches.  ”

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. (Last week–unable to contact)

Marina reports,” We had lots of drifting this week.  I have been plowing.  I have seen a few people about 4 on the ice this week.  those few people said it was slow fishing.  I have closed Cottonwood and Overlook going north is also closed.  You can fish at Red Lodge Campground, Fisherman Point and Marshal Cove or on the shore by the boat ramp.  I got help getting the deep plowing done so now I can maintain it better with my plowing.  There is  12 inches  of ice at the Red Lodge campground area.  Right now  at Fisherman Point there  is 14 inches at the shore line and 8 inches in the middle.  “


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

“ It has been slower out there with not as many  shacks with fishermen on the ice.  Lake Elmo still has good ice.    The bite is slower because of the cold.  Guys have been using everything from corn to cut worms and crawlers.  The recent cold weather  has made 8 to 12 inches of ice  but there is 4 to 5 inches of snow on top.    It is walk on only of course ”, Bob says.


Deadmans Tony Stefani

Tony said,” We have  had no fishermen at Deadman’s this week.  They are  plowing  the road, they actually did yesterday.   There are times when  drifting becomes a problem.  So if they come watch the weather closely. “There are  shacks  on Broadview pond.  So  we think people  seem to be catching fish.”


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

Terry says,” I have had no one who went  fishing. It has been pretty nasty for   getting  around. We are  struggling to keep the sidewalks open and clean of snow because of the drifting.  ”


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

Rick says, “There have been very few people going out.  We did go out this past weekend.   It was  pretty slow  fishing this week .  You can get into Bair,  just make sure to  be prepared with chains because of the patches of ice on the road.  There   is 22 inches of ice all over on Bair.   Bring chains being prepared to be stuck sometimes.

On Sutherland it is tougher to  get in. be prepared don’t leave home without a shovel and chains.   With  the drifting use snowmobiles to get to the ice. ”


Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Dale  says, “  We have lots of  snow.  There is 2 feet of snow on the ice.  At this point there are not a lot of places you can get to the ice because of snow and road conditions.  The cold is also a big factor.

Watch the Olympics and stay in the warm house. .”


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

Slim says, “ I am still closed.  The Marina IS closed right now.  The road is not plowed and the Petroleum county is not plowing it because it is “recreational”  although when the road was open I was living there. It is  impossible  to get to Crooked Creek because  of the snow.  I do  have a plow  but the snow is more than it can handle.  Only the county has a plow that could open it.  One group of homes just had their road by Winnett plowed open  today and they were on their 19th day with it being closed.  I do   not  advise  trying to go in with a snow mobile either.  There will be no   services and no one will be  there. Pay attention  to facebook for any changes.  ”


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon says,”  fishing has still been  good  and the ice is good.   The wind is still  an issue at times.  Guys are catching trout and some walleye.  If you want to catch fish and don’t mind the cold you can catch them.    All in all fishing is good.  The ice is 12 to 15 inches. There are still pressure ridges.  Just go around but don’t go over them.  Check at the marina for details. “

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 has 28 inches of snow.  If  you are coming bring your snow mobile.  There were a few guys out there but they only caught a few perch they said and the guys spearing   said it was slow as well.   It was 20   below this morning use wisdom and be prepared if you go.   I   hear Forchette is blown in.   Ty some flies   or making lures and come to the shop for supplies. “

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,”   I had some guys saying they were going to Fort Peck but they said they would fish but thought a lot of time would be playing cards and visiting until it warmed up more.

Tongue-I had a couple of guys who went to Tongue and found some crappies on the lake.  Most people I talked to had been catching perch.

Cooney- Other guys have said Cooney has been slow.

Many people are laying low because it was so cold and staying home. ”


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “   There is a lot of  ice out there.  There is also  a lot of cold out there.  I have not had anyone come in who has gone fishing this week.   The cold usually slows fishing down .

I do know that the Town of Townsend last night was worrying about an ice jam and the possibility of flooding starting. ”


Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977  ,Bill

“ The cold and freezing weather has put more slush  in the Yellowstone.  It is tough to access anywhere right now.  Right now we are looking at ice building up that could lead to jams. Usethe break to tie flies ,” Chris says.


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

Beau says, “I don’t know of anyone who has gone fishing on the river.  It is just too cold.  I have heard   the water is much clearer.  ”


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Stephanie  says,” there are not any fishermen coming to fish.  It just has been way   too cold. The cfs is still at 4500.  Before the storms guys were   seeing  a baetes hatch.  Use a dry size 20.   Streamer fishing was the way to go.”

Our winter hours are   8 am to noon all week. “


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

Madison River

I (carol) left a message for Alice telling her I hoped she had not gone out in the cold.  Her response illustrates someone who has “fishing in her blood”  but still found a way to think about her passion.  I thought I would share her message with you all.

Alice wrote,”   If I went fishing this past week I would need my head examined. I did however go look for brown trout in the Firehole in Yellowstone National  Park  and   found one!  We had three days of blizzards, with most roads closed and it hasn’t been above 0 zero  in over 24 hours. So nope I   haven’t been fishing. (No Alice, but you did go looking for your withdrawal fix.” So I would say,  once a   fisher woman always a fisher woman.)


Alice reports, “IF the wind isn’t blowing,  midges will be hatching in the middle of the day and the fish are eating them! Before and after the hatch try , nymphs with a smaller midge below a stonefly nymph pattern.

If you would prefer to throw streamers, fish like olive.

IF you see rainbows on or prepping a  redd, STAY OFF.”

Yellowstone National Park    

Yellowstone National Park  is closed for the season until May.