Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 2.20.19
By angelamontana

Posted: February 21, 2019

Winter  is here and that means sudden changes in weather and water or ice 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 and let others know where they are for safety sake when out and about.  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 in with fierce strength.  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- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt  For winter call 1-406-230-1283  for Linda 

Marina number is less reliable in winter.  1-406-485-2560

I received a report that people have fished the bay of Rock Creek to Nelson Creek.  They say it is   good   ice.  People are catching some nice northern pike.

   Monty is still available to make reservations for spring by calling 1-406-465-0241 and he can set you up.  He has the book with him. “We have closed the Marina as of October 1st,   2018 for the season.   The   Marina number   will not bring results at this time.  “Monty says.

Neil   is recovering well from his heart surgery.   Due to his health they will not be up at Rock Creek.   At this point Linda has no idea when they will be back at Rock Creek.  So there are no services there.     Neil, we at the Montana Outdoor Radio Show wish you well.

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond says, “Today. (Tuesday) is cold but beautiful.   It was 14 degrees this morning.  People are catching quite a few crappies.  They have been doing well on them.  A few people said they caught some perch as well.  The northern pike bite has dropped off.    “

 People are being   ticketed by the warden as they are not looking at the very specific rules on live bait at Tongue.  Check your regulations for the information for this region.

There are no reservations needed for camp sites it is now first come first take. Everything is shut down like the electricity and water.  The cleaning station has been closed.  There are sites still open at Campers Point #1 to 11 and have electric hookups on year round.   “    .

Tongue River Marina  1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg /Warden Jordan Staley

Wade reports, “The crappie bite was fantastical this weekend.  People were getting their limits. It was colder but the fish were biting.   The   ice is 20 inches everywhere.   People did catch crappies and pike if they were brave enough to go out in the cold.  A few   walleye were caught.   The fish were suspended at 5 to 10 feet from the bottom.  They were going 32 feet down.  Some people are getting a few cats on the south end.

Remember the rules on bringing minnows to Tongue River.   I do have legal live minnows at the Marina so you can be legal on the ice. “

The Marina   right now will be open Friday to Sunday from 6 am to noon.  I have park passes and can do fishing licenses. We have smelt, fatheads, sucker smelts but I have no worms.  . ”

 Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345  

Clint says,” fishing has been not too shabby.  Walleye fishing has been slower but the ones they are catching some nice bigger size.     People are catching northern pike and a few lake trout on the mouth of the main lake.  They are using   minnows and smelt. There is lots of snow.  There is a lot of snow on the ice. People are using 4 wheelers and side by sides. The best vehicle to use is a snow mobile.   It is tough travel and you definitely have to use chains.  Of course they make trails but the wind can come along and you have to make another trail.  There are slush pockets in places.    The road in is snowy but good.  Stop by   for information at the marina.    Feel free to call and inquire about conditions as we check the ice often.”

Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.  ­­­­­­­

Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597


Eddie reports, “They are catching fish at Flat Lake and Duck Creek.  The lake trout that they are getting are at 30 to 69 feet depths.   The pike fishing is the same.  The ice is good in the bays or on the dredge cuts.  The ice can be anywhere   from 16 to 4 inches in depth.   It is insulated by the snow. Do not assume things.   We went out yesterday and drilled some holes and the ice was 10 to 12 inches.  We moved 20 feet over and the ice was 5 inches.   Just be aware.  You need   chains on the vehicles and with the snow being so deep a truck is not recommended yet.   A 4 wheeler is what people are using. . Check with us for a travel plan as the snow makes it hard to see what is going on.  There is a pressure line out there you can barely see.

“We have meal worms, wax worms and maggots.  We also have smelt herring and large sucker minnows.   Our hours are   7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday. ”

Fort Peck Marina  Jessica & Scott Collinsworth   1-406-565-6283

Thursday, Friday and Monday 9am to noon/ Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 9pm

**I would like to welcome a new addition to the fishing report.  Jessica and Scott are the new owners of the Fort Peck Marina. Give him a call for a cabin rental, a delicious meal or fishing tackle or news. **

Scott reports, “Ice is in better shape.  It is still new ice so   be careful.  There is more snow on the ice.   The lake trout fishing is getting better.  They are finding them in the humps out there.  In the bay they are catching walleye.   We do have 10 to 14 inches in the bay of ice.

Use extreme caution when over deeper water.  Understand that you cannot see the danger because of the snow on the ice.  Conditions are changing a lot. “

Rock Creek, McGuire Creek and Nelson Creek have 12 to 14 inches and they are catching fish.  We do have ice fishing tackle here if you need any.


Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia  

Reports say it has been super cold.  The wind has been blowing daily. There is snow on the ice.  A few people have tried fishing.

Another source   said that fishermen the week before   at Marshal Cove had caught walleye and trout. Word has it that they caught a few ling.

The fish cleaning station is still open. The campground is now first come first serve now as the reservation system is done taking them for the season. The boat ramps are out.  The Marshall Cove campground is open. The drinking water has been shut down for the winter.  Our electric is on year around.  The North shore campground is now closed.

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob reports,” Every day the people have lined up to ice fish.    Ice fishing continues to be hot, hot, hot.  There is more ice out there on Elmo and everyday there are some people fishing.   The snow on the ice does make walking easier.   They are   catching perch frequently and a few small trout.    The ice is more than 8 inches thick.  Fishermen are pretty much using just about everything in bait.

Just as I am talking I see a guy bringing out two perch. “

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Reports from others say, the ice on Deadmans is over 6 inches and there is more snow as well.  Some fishermen have caught a few fish but it was a slow bite.  The road is decent.

 Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261

 Terry explains, “I had some guys who went ice fishing at Deadmans.   They caught   a few salmon.   They did find good ice.”

Checkerboard Inn   Checkerboard, MT   Rick and Judy Geordge  406-572-3373

 Judy says, “Our friends have not gone to   Bair to fish.  Particularly because everyone’s ice house is still embedded in the ice so it can’t be moved…  Bair does have 15 inches of   ice and there is snow on it.  Another reason is because it is hard to get down to and very drifted.

Before this, we have talked to one person on Sutherland who went out for a whole day and did not get a bite.”

Sports Center 120 2nd Ave South Lewistown, MT   535-9308  Colby / John Tognetti

Our hours are 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 4pm on Sunday

John said, “It has been so cold no one wants to get out.  It has been -10 below with a wind chill of -30 some days.

I heard from some guys who went to Fort Peck.  It was tough with the snow and it was tough fishing as well.

Achley- at Achley fishing was slow this week.  Only an occasional fish was caught. The ice is 1 foot deep.

Hanson Dam- Fishermen did catch a few trout this week.

 East Fork- People was getting a few perch on the East fork if they braved the cold.   The fish are being caught in anywhere from 20 to 7 feet depths.  The ice is 8 to 9   inches. ”

We do have smelt, worms, meal worms, maggots and wax worms.  We have live minnows but they are sold out quickly at times.   “

Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana   James  (Slim) and Abbie Craig, Carri Craig   406-429-2999

Slim reports,” Fishing picked up a little this week.  The people here did catch some walleye.  Someone got a nice 11 pound walleye in 13 feet of ice.  Northern pike did pick up this week.  Someone caught a 40 incher.  The road coming in is passable.   We have a foot of snow on the ice.  That is making it hard to get around.  If you come bring chains for your 4 wheelers or side-by-sides as it can be tricky navigating the foot of snow on the ice.  The fish are hitting on minnows and smelt but smelt is working more often right now.  “

If you come I advise you bring chains for your entire vehicle just in case.  I   suggest you bring minnows if you have them.   I do have some bait but not a lot so I suggest people bring some.

Slim is at the marina full time now.  He is open 7am to 7 pm   Wednesday to Monday.  He will be closed on Tuesday.  If you have questions call Slim at 406-366-6313 and leave a message.

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon   says,” We have seen more fishermen this week.  It is decent fishing.  I would say it is a7 or 8 out of 10. It has been pretty good for perch. You have to be careful and aware.   I want people to stop at the marina before fishing.  There is snow on the ice.  We also have had some new pressure ridges and the snow makes them difficult to see.  Stop by us especially if you want to head toward Hole In The Wall.   We have 12 to 15 inches of ice.  Due to the non-consistent ice conditions further out it is not yet safe.”

The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.

The Flamingo has closed for the season.

West Side Sports Jim Mayer 1-406-654-1611  

Mindy   reports,” On Nelson people are catching a lot of little perch.  There has been lots of action.    They also were catching walleye and northern pike.  The bite seems to be better on larger minnows.

I do have larger minnows for sale right now.   We also have ice fishing supplies.

I hear Forchette has more ice.  There is   over 7 inches of ice in the bay.”

Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday.

 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Matt reports, “On fort Peck people say it is slower fishing right now.  The biggest problem people are saying at places there is the snow on the ice.  It makes it difficult to get around, four wheelers work but they can have a tough time. They are still catching walleye and pike.”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says,” It was minus 19 last night and today (Tuesay) it is 5 degrees.  As I have said before the rivers are frozen, real frozen.   Canyon ferry has 20 inches of ice I am told but the wind has made drifts.  Not much  walleye being caught.  I talked to one group of guys and they caught perch.  They only caught 4 walleye.   At  Canyon Ferry  check at the shop for information to be safe. “

Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill, Ken, Jasmine

 The shop is closed right now except by appointment.

People who headed out are trying from shore but with the snow and an icy shoreline   it is hard to even get close.  It is tough fishing.  Small streamers may work.”

 Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau hears,” It has been pretty cold.   You can  go float or wade the Big Horn.  The water clarity is good and there is not a lot of  traffic  out there.   Orange scuds have worked as is  Sow bugs in pink.   Try dark streamers   with a bit of red.  ”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375   

“Rick reports, “  It has  been  really cold this week. I have some  fishermen going out right now  and  are going to float the whole river .  Today ( Tuesday) it is bright and clear even sunny.    With the water being   low you can actually wade in a lot of places on the river.  The ramps are clear.  Nymphing has been good.  They are even seeing  midge action around one or two in the afternoon. Someone caught a nice 26 inch brown and actually we have heard of quite a few  being caught in that size.  If you use streamers use dark colors like a black leech pattern,” Rick says.

Our hours   are   8 am to 12 every day.

Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone : Alice Owsley, fishing guide and outfitter  406-640-1698.

Fishes Madison River and Yellowstone National Park waters

Madison River

“If the day is  bright and sunny there are midges around for the occasional fish looking up on those  days. Most fish are eating nymphs, small olive mayfly nymphs and black and white midge patterns work well. If you want to throw streamers, go big and in olive colors.  Rainbows will start spawning soon, so be on the lookout for redds.” Alice says.

 Yellowstone Park

All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.