Winter is almost over and that means sudden changes in weather and water on ice. Ice conditions are quickly changing and flooding could become a problem as we enter into Spring. 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
Word has it snow drifting and ice conditions are changing. At Rock Creek the week before you could only get to the cleaning station so you had to park there. There are lots of drifts on the lake.
They went in on the north side as it is the only way you can get in.
*** 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 . 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.
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond reports, “The ice is melting and the water is rising. The water level is at 3426 CFS so it is up 5 to 6 feet. There is water on the ice. There are some 20 feet of open water in the middle. It still covered about 80 to 90 percent of ice.
The ice is breaking up on the edges. It is breaking up to 10 feet from shore already so it is not safe to be on. The nights are still cold but days are much warmer and are going to continue to get much warmer. The frog pond has water in it. No one can ice fish anymore. “
Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows you may use on Tongue.
Everything is still 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 they have electric hookups on year round. “ .
Tongue River Marina 1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg /Warden Jordan Staley
Wade, the marina owner reports, “There is no ice fishing now here. It will be a couple of weeks before the ice will be off, I suspect. The edges are broken now. It is up to Mother Nature when that happens. Get ready, fishing is coming. The marina is now closed as we are setting up for spring. We will open when the ice has left. Remember the rules on bringing minnows to Tongue River if you come to fish and that your license expired March 1st. ”
Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345
Clint says,” Conditions are changing. We are just waiting for the ice to go. It is breaking away at the shore line now. The ice is not safe. Right now it is really muddy up here. We had some 2 inches of rain today (Tuesday). With the weather forecast it sounds like we will have warm temperatures and some moisture so it may only be a couple of weeks and the ice will be gone.“
Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Carrie reports, “There is water on the edges of the ice. The ice was holding today and we had a gentleman who walked out fishing this morning but when he came in at 4 pm he said it was real dicey. So the ice is not safe anymore he said. We all are going to wait for spring now in a couple of weeks for the ice to be gone. You can call us at 406-526-3442 for details. “
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
Scott reports,” The edges are starting to break up to about 7 feet out. The ice looks honeycombed. It is unsafe. There are also slush pockets. Everyone is going to have to just wait a couple of weeks. The Milk River is flooding near Glasgow so this weather is changing things quickly. “
We have been filling up the bait and tackle store. You will find lots of products there for your need. . We also have campsites available with power for anyone that wants to bring your camper to the lake. The spots are concrete and right on the lake shore. You can access the lake right from your camper. I want to remind people that fishing licenses need to be renewed on March 1st. “
Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia
Marina says,” The shore has broken away from the ice. There is about 10 foot of water from shore. I tried to speak to a fisherman who had walked out but the conditions did not look safe so I would say it is no longer safe ice. The ice color and conditions seem to be changing rapidly. There is still some snow in the camping areas but the warm weather will change that.”
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 says, “There have been no people out on Elmo this week. The weather has changed conditions. There is still a full cover of ice but it has water around some of the edges. The geese are congregation in the middle so I suspect there may be some open water starting there. It is not safe.”
People need to know that the West Rosebud Isle Fishing Access is closed. That is the one in Fishtail. There is an ice problem and now flooding there so it is not safe to enter which is why it is closed,” Mike says.
Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat
The ice has changed and there is water on the edges this week. The ice is just not safe anymore.
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261
Terry explains, “I had some guys who went fishing at Martinsdale but it sounded like it was slow. With the warm weather I would guess ice fishing is done.”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “There were quite a few fishermen at Bair. It was only fair fishing. The ice shacks are still on as the drifts are still high. We still have had very cold nights.”
On Sutherland we heard there were a lot of drifts. We also heard Newlan is drifted throughout so people had a tough go of it.”
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
Colby reports , “ The creeks around here are blown out.
At Spring Creek the water is real dirty right now. So fishing would be tough .
Achley- People are fishing but we have heard it has been poor fishing. Only a few fish caught. No walleye caught from those we talked to.
Crooked Creek- I heard it is not fishable right now. Ice is not good. ”
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 says, “ The ice has deteriorated. Ice fishing is a no go right now. There is a lot of water on the ice. The Musselshell and Crooked Creek have water flowing into part of the bay. The ice is getting really soft. So I am keeping Crooked Creek Campground and Marina closed. The county road at Crooked Creek was plowed. We are going to have to wait a couple of weeks to be able to fish. Feel free to call the number to get information on conditions.”
When you can get to Crooked Creek I suggest you bring minnows if you have them. I do have some bait but not a lot so I suggest people bring some.
When open 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,” There is 20 to 24 inches of ice here. You can still fish here. There is water on the lake toward Hole in the wall. There is water below the ice. Not a lot of people are fishing but some are catching perch and walleye. The pressure ridges are worse so find out where they are to be safe. They are anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet. There is no predicting where more are and they are unpredictable. Please stop at the marina before fishing to get information. ”
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
Jim reports,” On Nelson the ice was still good this past weekend. I suspect this will be the last weekend to ice fish as the weather is changing. They turned the canal on Tuesday so we only have a couple of days and it will change. People are using 4 wheelers. They are catching perch.
On Forchette I know the road is clear. There is some water on the ice so it does have slush. I know people tried to go but I don’t know what they found or if they could fish. “
You do need a new fishing license now. It expired March 1st.”
Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt
Big Horn – The Big Horn has fished okay. I talked to guys who floated it and they caught 20 fish. Use scuds and sow bugs or size 18 Zebra midges.
At Olka Bay –The Yellowtail people says still has ice. They finally plowed the road.
Yellowstone The Yellowstone is really muddy one day and then has chunks of ice another day.
Stillwater On the Stillwater they say it has opened up a little. It is hard to get close making unsafe in some places on shore because of ice on the edges .
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says,” Everyone is waiting for the snow to go. The Rivers are just opening up now. I talked to one guy who fished the Madison. It was open water and slow.
At Canyon ferry you can still fish. Some people found 33 inches of ice. Some struggled with their auger finishing the hole. There are still some drifts. Watch for pressure ridges “
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill, Ken, Jasmine
People who headed out are trying from shore. The Stillwater has opened up some. It is hard to even get close. Small streamers may work.”
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau hears,” Fishing action time seems to be from 11:3 am to 3 pm. It is not super active. Did not have many on. Using a streamer was okay. Try pink anything. The water on the Big Horn is clear. There was a small midge hatch early in the afternoon but the fish were not coming up on them. We did catch a nice 25 inch trout. Look for any deep hole as that is where they are. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
“Collette reports, “People are fishing the Big Horn. It is best in the 6 mile stretch. Fishing is fair. The water is still cold. That makes the fish pretty sluggish. Sow bugs and zebra patterns. Not a lot of dry fly fishing right now. You have to work for the fish. Don’t forget cabins are half price through March.”
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
“I went fishing today! (Tuesday) Midges hatch during the middle of the day on the Madison. Trout are more willing to eat them on the windless warm days. Otherwise they will eat a stonefly nymph with a midge pattern below. Olive sculpin streamer patterns also work well throughout the day. ” Alice says.
All fishing in Yellowstone is closed.