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 another good weekend fishing. Fishermen caught northern pike and trout. No walleye were caught. Some ling were also caught. Minnows and smelt is what they are using to catch them. Guys were fishing in our bay or at Little Bug. We still have drifting on the road so until we get it plowed again you can only reach us by coming on the North Rock Creek side. There were a bunch of fishermen ice fishing along the ridge on the north side and doing okay I hear. We would still recommend you call about the road. “
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” There is still plenty of ice. We have 15 to 20 inches. I am hearing the crappie bite is hit and miss. No one I talked to caught any pike. They are still using minnows to catch fish. There is still 6 inches of snow on the ice. The roads in the park are cleared off and the roads in are fins. “
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 will be open this weekend. We still have 20 inches of ice. Only a few northern have been caught this week . They are catching some perch but more crappies. The smaller minnow is still working better. “
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
Clint says,” fishing slowed down this week. We have had fishermen this week. The walleye bite is not as good. A few northern pike were caught. We are seeing a few lake trout so they have moved here. They are at 2 feet to 30 inches deep. We still have good ice. There is 30 inches of ice at Southerland. I think we still have good ice fishing still coming. Snow mobiles would be the best thing to use. We have several pressure ridges so check with us for details. There are two in the bay and two out on the main. ”
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, “fishing has been slow here but we hear Rock Creek is picking up. We are seeing, more lake trout being caught. They are jigging for them. The bite is not great right now but it should pick up. You have to have a 4 wheeler and have chains right now on it. Feel free to call to see how conditions are. Wind is still a factor. The ice depths are 24 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,” there is snow on the ice but you can tell that it is melting. You can see spots where you now can see that the ice is showing in places. Snow is still mostly over the full lake right now. It is not melting in a lot of places but with the warm weather it may become more. It is not pulling away from shore yet. I did see someone out fishing yesterday (Tuesday) but there is no one out there today. Conditions will be rapidly changing if it stays warm. It is icy on the road in the morning and muddy the rest of the day. The road to Fisherman’s point is open. Guys are driving in through Overlook as they have packed down the road drifts. Cottonwood is still closed. “
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Guys are out there fishing. The ice conditions are still okay. They are still catching perch. There is less snow on the ice. Guys have been using everything from corn to cut worms and crawlers. There is 8 to 12 inches of ice . It is walk on only.
Deadmans Tony Stefani
Pat says,” people are getting in to fish. We have not heard if they caught anything. Due to the melting going on the road is very muddy. There is no grave on the road. We are personally still dealing with some drifting at our house. Wind is always a factor to pay attention to. “
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” I had a few people head to Martinsdale. They did not do well. It was too windy. I also had a couple of guys go to Bair. They said the fishing was fair and got a few. They said the ice is thick like 24 inches. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “We fished on Bair again this weekend. There were some people out fishing. The bite was slow again. There was not much of a bite. We got 3 fish. I did not get a bite. We are using worms and maggots. The warm weather had some people pulling their ice houses off. Partly because they were from Billings and could not check conditions and know what was happening because of the warmer weather. The road is better you can even see some bare spots. ”
Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194
Dale says, “We still have lots of snow. So much snow you can’t get to places to fish. You can’t get away from the wind. The only place you can get to fish is Achley. They are catching nice 2 pound rainbows there. ”
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
**As of right now I am still trying to get a report. I will update when my calls have been returned. I have heard that the county plans on clearing the snow but can not say when or if it has happened. Stay tuned for further information as I will update the report.*** (Wednesday 1:00 pm)
Slim says, “We are still closed. With the snow and drifting it is impossible to get to Crooked Creek because of the snow. The Marina cannot be accessed so it IS closed right now. The road is not plowed. 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,” the ice and fishing is good unlike Billings and other places. The ice is still at 2 feet. It is still good on the edges. I would say fishing is medium to good right now. People are getting perch and some walleye. The perch do seem to be starting to move south. 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,” it is still hard to get on Nelson to fish. There is 2 feet of snow. Way too much of it. You absolutely need a track vehicle or snowmobile. You will need chains. The guys are catching walleye early in the morning and in the evening. At Forchette there is also a lot of snow but if you can get in you can catch some nice big northern pike. Mostly on the bay I hear. Snowmobiles are definitely needed. “
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
Matt said,” the weather kept people in. So not much to report.
Big Horn- I am hearing fishing is going well on the Big Horn. They are catching some trout.
No other news to report.”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ The Rivers are open now. All three rivers, the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin are open. The Missouri is open below Totson. I talked to some guys who did the Dry Arm at Nelson Creek and caught 2 walleye in 3 days. That was it. So we need to see what happens with this warmer weather and the ice. I have not even heard how Canyon Ferry is right now. ”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“ We are seeing some melting . It will definitely be interesting to see what happens with the ice. We do have some ice jams that could melt with the warm weather. I went to check Holgrem. It still had ice. When the snow melts it does not go away as the ground is still frozen. It has been 18 degrees at night. Use the break to tie flies so you are ready for spring. You can book your trips for later now ,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau says, “ I went fishing on the Bighorn and it was good fishing. It was clear almost all the way. Soap Creek is muddy. The cfs is up. The water is clearer. There was a great midge hatch. The fish are on the surface. Try nymphing using a sow bug or a tiny midge. The water is super cold so dress appropriately. Wading even with layers is still really cold. Look at the Missouri it should be getting to be good fishing right now. Try it when it is sunny and warm. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Don reports ,” the fishing is real good. Actually real good. We have had guided trips this week. So the season is picking up. Word has it that fishing is fair but chilly. The water is clearer. Fishing is better at almost noon or early afternoon. The cfs is 5000. The water is 39 degrees. Try nymphs in size 18 to 20. Use sow bugs right now. Fishing with streamers is good. We have been seeing a midges hatch at 3 mile late morning or early afternoon when the wind is not blowing. ”
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 reports, “ conditions are right and these nice calm days are allowing midges to hatch and the fish are eager to eat them. Try a flashy midge pattern below a larger stonefly nymph will bring some trout to hand. Use streamers in the deeper water. Try olive patterns for the best results.
Remember to stay off the redds, if rainbows are staging to spawn, leave them alone. “
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May.