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, ” We had a good weekend for fishing. The guys who came up to stay in the cabins had a good Saturday. They got 5 trout, 6 nice northern pike and 1 o2 lings. They were using minnows and smelt. I did not talk to them on Sunday. On Sunday it snowed late in the afternoon and it really blew. The temperature was 11 degrees. So there is 6 to 12 inches of snow on the ice of course with some drifts. Right now because of the drifting until we get it plowed again you can only reach us by coming on the North Rock Creek side As the wind blows that may change again but we finally got some plowing done. We would still recommend you call about the road. Use a 4 wheeler or snow mobile to get to the Marina.”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg\
Raymond said,” We have had a lot of wind this week. We are cleaning up the roads today (Tuesday) of the drifts. The guys are catching some nice size crappies and but only a few perch. There have been a few northern pike caught I also heard. Some guys are driving on the ice. Roads are okay. We have 15 to 20 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 are still open. We now have 20 inches of ice. We didn’t get as much snow as other places did. A few big northern have been caught. We had less people this weekend. 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
Kayla says,” we have had some fishermen this week. The walleye bite is better using minnows at 10 to 20 feet depths. . It seems to be more consistent. You can find the northern pike in the bay at 10 to 20 feet . They are getting some limits of pike. Clint was still out at midnight plowing. There were some 1 to 2 feet depths. There is 1 foot of snow on the ice. Clint is making paths on the ice for the guys to get out. 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, “ We got 13 inches of snow this wweekend. Some of it was powder and the winds blew it to the east. Few people were staying because of the weather.
Fishing has been slow. Eddie was heading toward the Pines to try catching some walleyes but I have not heard from him. You have to have a 4 wheeler and have chains right now on it. It is blowing at Bear Creek right now. I would say really look at the weather report and check conditions. Call to see how things are. Wind is a real factor. 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.
Marina reports,” I have not seen anyone out fishing. We really have had snow and a lot of drifting. At this point the road to Fisherman’s point is the only road open. Every other road is blown in. I have not heard or seen any pressure ridges. The snow is 1 foot deep. I will keep plowing if I don’t get stuck in the drifts. I have closed Cottonwood and Overlook going north is also closed. “
I spoke to fisherman Dan who fished Cooney this weekend with his little boy. They fished Saturday and Sunday. Dan said,” everyone we talked to had caught several perch with a couple of small rainbows mixed in. Most people were catching 50 or more perch in 3 to 4 hours. It was a very light bite and you had to let them take it all the way. Sometimes the same fish would nibble for over a minute before it took the bobber under. We had to change jigs a lot to find the right combo and it would change every hour or so. They would quit hitting so we would change jig color, presentation or we moved 20 feet and then they would hit again. It also helped to be ahead of the storm.
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
“ There have been consistently 2 to 3 guys out there fishing. The ice conditions are still good. They are still catching perch. There is 10 inches of 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. ”, Bob says.
Deadmans Tony Stefani
Tony said,” We are personally drifted in from snow at our house. I can pretty much say we again had no fishermen at Deadman’s this week. They have not plowed much yet so coming in to fish is questionable. So if you do come watch the weather closely. “
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” This week people are talking about snow not fishing because of the weather conditions. . You could not get out so they are staying close to home. Roads were really dangerous. Today (Tuesday) they have improved. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “We did fish this past weekend on Bair. There were not many people out fishing. We got 3 fish and I got bites but lost the fish. We used worms and maggots. We only got one inch of snow unlike other places. You can get into Bair, just make sure to be prepared with chains because of patches of ice on the road. There Bair has 22 inches of ice. Where ever you go don’t leave home without a shovel and chains. ”
Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194
Dale says, “ you can’t get away from the wind and snow. There is just not places to go right now. About the only place you can get to fish is Achley. Some trout are being caught there. The wind is really howling again today. Just watch the weather.”
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
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,” we did not get the snow that Billings and other areas got. The ice is 20 to 25 inches. There is some snow on the ice but drilling is just fine. I would say fishing is medium to good right now. People are getting 6 to 7 perch a piece and 3 to 4 walleye. The perch seems to be starting to move south. Some days there is some wind. 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,” fishing is so so on Nelson. You absolutely need a track vehicle or snowmobile. Guys should watch out the snow snakes are out. We got another 8 inches more snow. There are a lot of wind drifts. You will need chains. Some guys were catching some nice walleye before the storm. . They were at night starting right at sundown using minnows. No word on Forchette but it was blown in already before the storm. You couldn’t get in there. “
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 made it that not many people went out. Not much to report.
Big Horn- I talked to some guys who did well on the Big Horn. They were catching some trout.
There is just too much snow to get out. It should get better the end of this week. ”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ we only got 3 inches of snow but the roads were so icy no one wanted to drive to get somewhere. The rivers have a lot of ice on it. I have not even heard how Canyon Ferry right now. Before the storm they were catching and someone said they did not get the snow other places got. So it could be decent for fishing. ”
Stillwater Anglers-Chruis 406-322-4977 ,Bill
“ We got 8 more inches of snow. We definitely got more ice. Looks like we may have some ice jams starting. If we get the little warming trend we are going to have to watch what happens. That could flush it out. The cold and freezing weather makes it tough to try fishing. There is lots of ice buildup in the Yellowstone and it makes it tough to access anywhere right now. 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, “ Tie flies right now and stay warm. The cfs is supposed to go up. I don’t know of anyone who has gone fishing on the Big Horn river. The water is clearer. 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
Stephanie reports ,” we have our first guided trip happening tomorrow. So the season is picking up. Word has it that fishing is fair but chilly. “
Hale says,” Our water is clearer. Fishing is better at almost noon or early afternoon. The cfs is going up to 5000. The water is 38 degrees. Use the usual scuds and sow bugs right now. You can also try a few streamers. We have been seeing a few midges at 3 mile late morning or early afternoon when the wind is not blowing. Try the midge patterns at that time. They have plowed the Big Horn Access. Watch for ice on the ramp. ”
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, “When the conditions are right, nice calm days are allowing midges to hatch and the fish are eager to eat them. If no bugs happen on the surface, a flashy midge pattern below a larger stonefly nymph will bring some trout to hand. Streamers are also an option in the deeper water, fish 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.