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 no fishermen come in this past weekend. There were a couple of guys here early in the week. They only caught a few. We had a full moon and that can slow things. We are hoping this week will pick up. The ice is 18 inches thick.”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” Only a few people out fishing at times this week. The fishermen say they caught a few more walleye . Some caught a few crappies and perch. The ice has not changed this week. Most guys were catching with minnows from the Marina. We have 12 inches of ice. They are walking or using a 4 wheeler. We got 6 inches of snow on Sunday. “
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 not as many fishermen here over the weekend. Guys were heading toward Rattlesnake and catching perch at that spot. The people were using minnows. It was good fishing there. On Sunday it really started to snow and no one was out there so we closed the Marina for the day. They have been using both live minnows and smelt. Ice is 12 to 15 inches thick. Guys are using 4 wheelers and snowmobiles.“
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
Lane says,” ice fishermen have been catching northern pike in the Bay. They are finding them at 20 to 30 feet depths. The pike right now are in the weight range of 10 to 12 pounds. They seem to be using live minnows or smelt to catch them. The walleye bite is picking up out on the main lake. That bite is just starting. They are catching them at depths of 10 to 15 feet using live minnows. 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. It has been plowed. This weekend is the Hell Creek ice fishing tournament. It is $75 to enter. Hours are 8 to 3 pm. You can have a team with as many as one or larger number of people using the 6 lines. You can sign up on Saturday morning. ”
The Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm now.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Taylor says, “It has been slow fishing this week. We have had a lot of weather fronts lately . The lake trout had just started to bite last week. Very few fish were caught this week. There has been some drifting when the wind is blowing. We don’t have a lot of snow maybe 3 to 4 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.
Marina reports,”Not many fishermen here this week. The weather has been a factor. There is a lot of drifting. With the plow I have plowed access to Fisherman’s Point. The equipment I have has made it impossible to plow the Red Lodge access. I need a larger plow from Bozeman and I do not know when it is coming. So the Red Lodge area is completely drifted shut and there is no access. I have also been told to be careful on the north shore as the ice is really iffy. In checking that ice it is real thin in places. The county road is plowed. Before the drifting and no access there was 12 inches of ice 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
Elmo still has good ice. They have catching lots of little perch. They are catching mostly small ones a little above the bottom in the deeper part of the lake. Guys have been using everything from corn to cut worms and crawlers. The recent cold weather has made 8 to 12 inches of ice. I hear the condition of the ice is better. It is walk on only.”
Deadmans Tony Stefani
We had a couple of ice fishermen at Deadman’s this week. Lots of drifting on the last couple of days. Today the wind is really blowing again. The real question is will it drift open or closed. I would just say it is awfully nasty. The forecast has snow on Thursday as well.
There are shacks on Broadview pond. So some are catching fish.
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” Not really hearing from fishermen. We are having trouble just getting out of our driveways so traveling to fish is pretty tough. They were snagging some Kokanee at 5 to 6 feet the week before at Deadmans but I would think getting there would be hard. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “ It was only fair fishing this week . We were out for an hour and a half and only got 2 fish. The people we fished with stayed for 5 hours and caught five fish. Catching took an awful long time to get them. We have been using corn, worms, and maggots. There is 14 to 16 inches of ice all over on Bair. On the other hand we talked to guys who fished all day long on Canyon Ferry and caught nothing. Sometimes people just have a slow day. On Sutherland it is tougher to get in. With the drifting use snowmobiles to get to the ice. ”
Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194
Dale says, “ We have snow that is hip deep and I can say no one can even get out to go right now. The ponds were fishing well before the storm We have more snow and weather coming .
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, “ Getting in is tough right now. I have been plowing but I am running out of places to put the excess. I have wounded Warriors here right now and some had a hard time getting in. We have so much snow I am plowing paths on the ice as well. If you come in I have plowed the road in and it is passable. Whether you are pulling something or not you will have to chain up. We have 2 ½ feet of snow. We had one guy who came in and broke his hitch off so his trailer is sitting here. I would say snowmobiles are the best way to get around once you get here. It has been slow fishing. I think the weather fronts are doing that. There is snow on the ice so you have to move that to drill. We have 20 inches of ice. It also has been really cold , last night it was 20 below. There are pressure ridges building so be extremely careful. ”
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,” People are fishing here. There is no problem getting in. The ice is good. I would give fishing a 7 out of 10 so it is good fishing. The ice is 12 to 15 inches. They are catching walleye, perch and trout . The perch are at 40 to 60 feet at Duck Creek and Confederate. The ice is still good. The trout bite is also 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,” I hear at Forchette guys are catching a few big northern pike. People say the walleye bite is slow. Some guys got into perch by going deep. They plowed out today (Tuesday).
Nelson fishing is spotty right now. Weather has been windy and cold temperatures have made things tough. The weather has just been bad. The ice is 22 inches deep. I keep saying, you won’t catch fish if you don’t go fishing. “
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 have not heard much about fishing this week. It got tougher to get out because of the weather. All I heard was that they have caught perch at Holter. The Superbowl also kept people inside. ”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ I talked to some guys who did good on trout at Canyon Ferry. I know of two groups that caught 30 and 40 trout.
The Madison and Gallatin rivers are open. The Jefferson is frozen over. Lots of ice on the edge. You would have to really be careful to get to the water where it is open.
The Missouri is also open below Totson to the Townsend Bridge. There the ice is building up.
Holter- I have heard the perch fishing right now is off and on. They are finding fish at 25 to 60 feet down. ”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“There is a lot of ice. It has been really cold. The rivers are not safe. There is lots of shelf ice. You just cannot safely get close it makes it very dangerous ,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau says, “Fishing is good if you can get there. You have to be able to deal with weather and also can stand the cold. Not many fishermen out there at times because of the weather. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Stephanie says,” Not as many fishermen. Just too cold and some bad roads with ice from the weatherd. It is snowing right now again.(Tuesday) The wind has been blowing a lot this week. The cfs is 4,000 and there is good water clarity . The only change is guys are seeing a baetes hatch again. Use a dry size 20. Streamer fishing is still 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 pattern.
Streamer fishing can also move fish if midges aren’t active…”
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May.