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, ” Fishing was good this week. Some found it really good. Fishermen have caught more northern pike and some trout. They were mostly eater size with a few larger. 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 the road is closed. Until we get it plowed again you can only reach us by coming on the North Rock Creek side. We would still recommend you call about the road. ”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” not many people have been out this week. The few people I spoke to had just caught just crappies. The edges all around the ice is pulling away I saw when I drove the whole reservoir. I saw some water overflows. I also saw gray spots forming on the ice. The roads in the park are cleared off and the roads in are fine. “
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 have CLOSED the Marina and will wait for when people can fish the open water. The edges are starting to break so fishing is going to be tough and unsafe. Use a lot of caution. “
Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345
Clint says,” fishing isn’t bad although conditions are changing on the ice. We have slop on the ice. We have 8 inches to 1 foot of water under the snow on the ice. We still have 4 inches of snow on it. Northern pike fishing is decent. Lake trout seem to be done but of course no one is going out on the main. At this point (Wednesday) guys are going out this morning and we still have 24 to 26 inches of ice. The ice is not rotten. The guys went out on 4 wheelers but I think that will end in a day or two and it will be only walk on. It is more an issue of the water. We may have 3 to 4 days and you won’t be able to get out there except walking on if the weather stays the same. The road is starting to have mud below the snow. I would recommend that you call us for a condition report on the ice. ”
The Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Eddie says, “ The ice is good. Today (Tuesday) there is a skiff of snow that we got last night. Finally we have a day without wind. There is not much melting. We have 8 to 10 inches of snow on the ice. The ice is 24 to 26 inches thick. You have to have a 4 wheeler and have chains right now on it. The Lake trout fishing has been really good. Guys are getting 30 to 40 lake trout in a day jigging. Fishing has been real slow here for everything else.
Some of us went to rock Creek this weekend. There were 6 guys there for 3 days and they got 12 pike. Others went to Nelson Creek and for several days and got 3 small pike.
Feel free to call to see how conditions are. ”
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 says, “You can actually hear the ice popping. No one has been on it and I would not recommend you do.There is a gray color to some of the ice. On the north side the ice is coming away from the edges. The snow is melting. It is getting really muddy. ”
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
For the past 4 days there has been no one out fishing. Today (Wednesday) it is a beautiful sunny day and it usually would have fisherman all over but not a soul is out. By the edge of the dock there is some open water. We are not recommending that anyone go out there and fish.
I was in Helena yesterday and the paper and department are saying Hauser, Canyon ferry and the other reservoirs are not recommended to fish on. The warm weather is changing things. “
Deadmans Tony Stefani
Pat says,” there is water on the edges of the ice so conditions are changing. It is not safe to get on. They are also letting water in to help those along the Musselshell. The melting going on has not changed the road yet but it won’t be long until there is mud. There is no gravel on the road “
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” I had a few people head to Martinsdale and they got blown off and then they headed to Bair. They said the fishing was good and they got a few. They said the ice is thick like 24 inches. With the change in weather I don’t know how long before you can’t get on. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “We had some fishing going on at Bair again this weekend. Our friends were out fishing and got 10 in 3 to 4 hour. We talked to some guys later in the day and they got no fish.
So you can decide how the bite is. Both fished there often. There is a little water on the edges (Wednesday) so you should walk on now. The road is better with 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. In the past we have said you could fish Achley but the ice there is punky. So there is just no place to fish right now. Pull out your fishing magazines and read those. ”
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
Jim reports, “They plowed the road but it is extremely muddy. Ice as of today (Wednesday) is 30 inches however all the rivers are open and Crooked Creek is open upstream. I suggest you fish with extreme caution. We will be down at the Marina on Saturday.”
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 is still good (Tuesday). The ice is still at 2 feet. The edges on shore are iffy. You can actually fish from shore and catch some trout. There are some places to get on but soon there may not be. You need to call for information for what is happening because it is changing often. “
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,” there is still 2 feet of snow on the ice on Nelson. It is still hard to get on Nelson to fish. I got stuck high centered this past weekend. There is way too much snow. 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. 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 is keeping people weary of getting on the ice. The warm weather is definitely making it change daily. The ice is changing radically.
Big Horn- I am hearing from lots of fishermen that fishing is going well on the Big Horn. I am seeing a lot of guys coming in for supplies. Fishing is good. They are catching some trout.
Yellowtail- I heard they plowed the road to Yellowtail but I don’t know about the conditions of the ice.
Stillwater – Some guys have tried fishing the Stillwater. They were catching some fish in a few open spots they found.
Hell Creek- Guys went to Hell Creek and found a lot of slush on the ice. You can still dish but again thing are changing.”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ I talked to guys this week who went to Nelson Creek who caught 2 walleyes in 3 days. They said there was slush on the ice. They got stuck lots of times because of the snow.
Canyon Ferry- I heard that it is starting to get hard to get on the ice. The trout are biting.
Rivers- The Rivers are open now. All three rivers, the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin are open. Guys going are catching trout.”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“ The Stillwater is coming around. Color is better. People are finding spots to fish from. We are seeing some melting
On the Yellowstone the water is off color. It is opening and flowing through Columbus. It is a little better today. (Tuesday) It is making spots to fish but it is not easy to get on to fish. Use caution as conditions are changing.
Use the break to tie flies so you are ready for spring. You can book your trips for later now
We now have changed our hours for the spring. We will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 5 pm. Hope to see you soon,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Bighorn is good fishing right now. It has cleared almost all the way. The cfs is 5,000. The water is clearer. There is a good midge hatch. Try nymphing using a sow bug or a tiny midge. The water is still . ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Stephanie reports ,” fishing is good. Today is chilly. Not many guys going out today. Fishing is good but chilly. The water is clear. Fishing is better at almost noon or early afternoon. The cfs is still 5000. The water is cold. Try nymphs in size 18 to 20. Try sow bugs. Fishing with streamers is good. We are still seeing a nice midge hatch at 3 mile in 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.