Spring 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 can come on in fierce strength very fast. The strength and depth of ice is changing very quickly so use caution. 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)
Linda reports, ” There is no fishing here. I am telling anyone wanting to ice fish here to not come. The ice is just not safe. I can see open water half way in the bay and it is starting around the bend. You can fish from shore down by the boat ramp. The ice is changing constantly. The road into Rock Creek is open but it is mushy and snotty so you are looking at mud. Call us to find out if conditions have changed. ”
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond said,” we have seen no people fishing this week. The water level has gone up. In walking the shore line there is still ice covering part of the reservoir but the edges are pulling away from the ice and there is water in some places of 10 to 15 feet open. It should be enough soon to fish from shore yet. It is not ready for boats yet. At this point you cannot ice fish here at all. The river is open below the damn for shore fishing. The roads in the park are good. I want to remind people that the boat inspection crew will be out depending on the fishing conditions on the water and if there is ice. They are just waiting for when boats can come on.”
Some of the campgrounds are still 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.
Tongue River Marina 1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg /Warden Jordan Staley
Wade reports,” the Marina is still closed but all we are waiting for is the ice to come off. We are hoping it will open soon. You can bait fish from shore as there is open water in places for 30 to 40 feet. I think depending what the weather it will not be long and the ice will be gone. We are still stocking the Marina with inventory so we will ready. “
Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345
Clint says,” there is no fishing here right now. There is a lot changing on the ice. There is definitely still ice out there but it is not safe. You cannot walk on at this point. We are in that time when we are in a waiting mode. Shore fishing is really not possible right now either. We just have to see what the weather will do. I would recommend that you call us for a condition report on what is happening. ”
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, “We still have ice fishing. The ice is still good here. The lake trout fishing is still good. Jigging is working at 15 to 75 feet. Guys are also spearing and getting more walleye this week and a few northern pike. They are also getting a few pike by tip up as well but no walleye. The ice is still 27 inches thick. There is not much melting. There is access at Duck Creek and at the Marina is still good. The ice is still crystal clear. Feel free to call to see what 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 reports,” the ice is slowly melting. There is still ice out there although you can see a large grayish color. It is melting in a lot of places. It has pulled away from shore in some places. The north shore has some shore opening where you might be able to fish from shore in midafternoon. I have not seen fishermen. It is not safe to get on the ice. Conditions are rapidly changing as it warms. We will see what weather changes will do. “
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Bob says,” the ice is bad. Ken and I watched a goose land on the ice and fall right through. So if a goose falls through the ice is not good. Today there is wind. There is a whole lot of fisherman on shore they are by the boat ramp and along the bank throwing a line in right along the edge of the ice before the open water. They must be catching because right now there is more than 10 guys out there and they were there yesterday as well. The shore is opening on the beach shoreline. You can see whole sheets off ice shifting in the wind at times. “
Deadmans Tony Stefani
Tony says,” No one has been here this week. There is water on the edges for 20 to 30 feet. You might be able to fish from shore in some places. They are also letting water in to help those along the Musselshell. There is no gravel on the road. There is no ice fishing here. “
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22
Terry says,” guys who headed out found the ice breaking up and did not go fishing. The ice is not safe to go on. With the weather coming the end of the week who knows what will happen.”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “We again did not see fishermen out there this week. I think the weather is definitely changing things. I am sure the ice is deteriorating at this point. The road is definitely better. ”
Charlie says, “We are in the process of changing our shop so we are transferring our report to the Sports Center. We want to thank all of our customers for their support.”
I want to welcome the Sports Center to the fishing report. The Sports Center is a father and son business which has been in Lewistown for 25 years. They carry trout flies, lures, walleye jigs, cranks, worm harnesses, and a full line of sporting goods. Later they will have minnows as well.
“The Big Spring Creek and Warm Spring Creek by Denton and Judith Creek have some decent fly fishing right now. Try using San Juan patterns and egg patterns. The water is a little off color but you still can fish it. The ice on Achley and the other reservoirs and ponds have become unsafe. So there is no ice fishing right now. Guys are fishing on the Missouri river from shore and catching sauger, walleye and catfish. The water is cold at 37 degrees. With the possible weather change talked about pay attention to conditions “, John says.
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig 406-429-2999
Jim says, “ You cannot fish Crooked Creek right now. The ice is melting and way too dangerous. The Musselshell River opened up so it will be at Crooked Creek. The Marina is still closed. The road is open.”
Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon
Sharon says,” the ice is bad . The lake is two – thirds open. I do not suggest to get on the ice or water right now. There is a lot of loose ice. Nobody should be on the ice right now. You can actually fish from shore and catch some trout. 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.
Jim says,” there is fishable ice at Nelson and Forchette . You can still get on Nelson to fish. Guys are catching northern pike on the bay.”
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, Matt
Matt said,” the lower Yellowstone by Billings east is seeing guys catching some catfish. I think it is just starting.
Yellowtail-They plowed the road to Yellowtail. You can get to Oaka Bay.
You can launch at Barry’s Landing. There is low water at Horse Shoe Bend.
Stillwater – Guys have been fishing the Stillwater in places
Cooney- I checked and there is still ice on Cooney so it is not safe to go on right now. ”
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says, “ I have heard the ice is off the south end of Canyon Ferry. The bay is real low and guys are saying tough to get on. There is still some ice on but no ice fishing.
Holter and Hauser are both open. They are catching trout and a few perch. Guys are taking boats out and they are catching some fish. The rivers are also open now. The ice is gone from the edges.
3 Forks Ponds- the River is open and has been for over a week. ”
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill
Chris says, “ I am heading to the Stillwater to wade fish right now. The Stillwater is off color but clearer than the Yellowstone. With the weather supposedly going to change again we will have to see what happens. I imagine it will become more off color if the rain comes. The Yellowstone is open and flowing through Columbus. Guys are catching some trout on the waters from shore.
Try some midges. Use black buggers and go for coffee and brown colors. Use streamers in the open water. Use caution as conditions are changing. “
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,” Chris says.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau says, “The Bighorn is good fishing right now. It is clear. The flow is 7,000. There are midges and baetes on the surface. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
Stephanie reports,” The cfs is still at 7, 000. You can find a midge hatch some days. The guys are seeing a few baetes as well. The water is clear and still 39 degrees. Use midges, like zebra midges or a single cluster. You can also use little sow bugs and quill nymphs. The water is good for access at the wading edge. ”
Our summer hours start April 1 and are 8 am to 5 every day.
Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone : Alice Owsley, fishing guide and outfitter 406-640-1698
Alice reports, “For dry fly fishing, midges have been hatching on the warmer, sunny days. Every other day, nymphs with a small, olive mayfly and your favorite midge pattern can be used and are working. Water temperatures warmed a little in the last week, so fish are more actively eating the standard nymphs in the system. Streamer fishing can be productive on the wintery, cold days. Flows on the Madison have gone up recently and that will likely continue with the increased sunshine.
If you see rainbows doing their thing, stay off the redds! “
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May.
(feature photo of Eddie White with 2016 channel catfish via Brad Durick Outdoors LLC)