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
Linda and Neil with another couple went up to Rock Creek to check on the conditions up there and to try fishing. You can only get to the cleaning station so you park there. The snow is 4 feet in some places and 2 feet in other places. There are lots of drifts on the lake. We had to tow the 4×4 out on the ice because it was so deep. Someone was up there recently and blew his belt on his 4×4 trying to get around on the ice. We went in on the north side as it is the only way you can get in. You really need a snow mobile to get around. We fished the bay of Rock Creek and went to depths of 10 feet and caught no fish.. The ice is of a good depth.
*** 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
Spencer reports, “ I had a conversation with Jordan and he did real well fishing the other day. He almost caught his limit that day. Some crappies are still being caught. I am hearing fishing in the evening is better. One creek is now flowing that does not usually flow between Campers Point and Rattlesnake. That water is coming in but that is because the last couple of days have been 42 degrees during the day. The nights are still around 10 degrees. The ice seems to be the same depth that has not changed. As we continue with warmer temperatures pay attention to ice conditions and be safe. Don’t forget people you need a new fishing license now for 2019. “
Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows you may use on Tongue.
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, the marina owner reports , “The crappie bite was slower this week for the few who came to fish.
There were not very many people out there fishing this week. As of today (Tuesday) we have decided to keep the marina closed as we have only a few minnows left and also the numbers of fishermen have gone down. Ice conditions are changing as well. We will open in the Spring when the ice has left. Thank you for your recent support of the marina. 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, ”Hell Creek Marina is open. The road is plowed and wide open. The northern pike bite has slowed down. Lake trout have been caught as well. They are using minnows and smelt. Due to the large amount of snow on the ice 4×4’s are struggling. You can get around with a 4×4 but it is a struggle. The best vehicle to use is a snow mobile. There are trails made by others that you can go on but drifting when the wind blows makes it a challenge. There are pockets of water on the ice which is making slush. Make sure you have chains for all your vehicles when you come up. 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
Millie reports, “ The ice is 12 to 20 inches deep. Lake trout are biting. Walleye and northern pike were slow fishing. Fishing seems to be best for lake trout at Shaft house, Bear Creek, York Island and Hacksbee. If you bring a 4 x4 or a side by side you will need chains on the vehicles and with the snow being so deep a truck is not recommended yet . Snowmobiles are the best choice. It is 33 degrees right now and at times there is wind. The roads coming in are plowed. The ice is insulated by the snow. Do not assume ice depths are all the same. Just be aware.
You can call us at 406-526-3442 for details on the ice.
“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
Scott reports, “The ice conditions are excellent right now with the bays averaging 17-20 inches and most of the main lake 12-15 inches. There are still a few slush pockets on the ice but they are far and few between.
Lake trout fishing has been picking up and the guys willing to move around and search for fish have been rewarded with some great catches. The walleye and northern bite has been a little slow but should be picking up anytime now.
We have opened the bait and tackle store on Thursday thru Monday and we have everything you need for chasing fish on Fort Peck through the ice. We also have campsites available with power for anyone that wants to bring your camper to the lake. The spots are plowed and on 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. “
We do have ice fishing tackle here if you need any.
Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia
Word has it from others who went to Cooney the fishing was slow. The ice has a lot of snow on it. The warmer temperature is altering it a little. Tor those who went found the snow hard to get through. The areas around Cooney have been plowed.
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
“There are people out on Elmo right now ice fishing (Wednesday). Word has it is that it has slowed down some. There is a foot of snow on the ice. The ice is more than 8 inches thick.
Just a reminder to people that the West Rosebud Isle Fishing Access is closed. That is the one in Fishtail. There is an ice problem and flooding there so it is not safe to go there which is why it is closed,” Bob reports.
Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat
Pat says,” We have seen fishermen this week. The roads have been plowed now. You need to get to the spot to fish. People are spending time out there so we think they must be getting some fish but we have not talked to them personally. They have been using 4×4‘s on the ice. Deadmans has over 6 inches of ice some have said.”
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261
Terry explains, “I have had no customers that went fishing. Road conditions at times early in the week made travel hard.”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy says, “You can’t get to Bair to fish. If you got in to Bair you would have a hard time getting out even with chains because of the snow. There is 20 inches of ice and there is snow on it.
Anyone who has gone to Sutherland reports it is hard to get to as well. Newlan is drifted throughout so people could not get in to 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
John reports , “I can’t say many people told me any fishing success.
Achley- Only a few fish caught at Achley. The ice is 1 foot deep. Drifts on the road if the wind blows can be a problem.
Hanson Dam- Guys are catching perch at Hanson Dam. They are getting a few northerns. ”
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, Crooked Creek Campground and Marina is still closed due to the snow and drifts. The county road at Crooked Creek was plowed yesterday afternoon on Tuesday. I am at Crooked Creek right now (11 am Wednesday). They did an excellent job on the road. In walking around and checking things I think that the drifts are high and crusted but even with walking on them you could suddenly find yourself inside a bank where you could not get out. Using a 4×4 could be a problem because of its weight. It is apparent that a snowmobile is the best thing to use. I am keeping the marina closed and will not be there until next week. It needs to get better so you are on your own if snow or drifts appear and you come to Crooked Creek. I will let Carol know and she will change the post if things change. ”
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 15 to 20 inches of snow here. You have to bring chains and shovels. You can’t be unprepared. 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 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. Chains may not even be good enough with a 4 x 4 so I would say try snowmobiles. There can be drifting because of the wind. We have 12 to 15 inches of ice. ”
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,” I had some people I know go to Forchette but they never returned to fill me in how they did. On Nelson fishing was slow again this week. It is real hard to get around. You will need tracks or a snowmobile to get on the ice to fish. The snow is hard packed and there is 8 to 10 inches. The 7 th grade class went fishing this week at Nelson and they only caught one fish. I also know of someone spearing some northern pike. One was 45 inches and 28 pounds. You need a new fishing license now. It expired March 1st.”
I do have larger minnows for sale right now. We also have ice fishing supplies.
Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt
Jayce reports, “ Tongue- Someone went to Tongue. They caught a few crappies but it was slow. One fisherman I talked to caught a catfish. There is some water on the ice making it slushy.
Cooney-I have heard Cooney has been slow but they did catch some perch. Guys tell me they only caught a few fish when they went. There is a lot of snow on the ice so it is hard to get around. Unless you use a snowmobile it is tough to get around.
Elmo- The ice is slushy in a few places on the ice. I caught some perch on Elmo but it was slow fishing. “
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says,” It is snowing right now. (Wednesday) The rivers are frozen.
Holter- I have been told Holter is treacherous because of the snow. There is a lot of snow. There are pressure ridges and slush on the ice. You cannot tell where they are and there is not a lot of ice in some places.
At Canyon ferry I have heard you better have a snowmobile to go fishing. It has 20 inches of ice. Someone said the wind has made many drifts. There are more pressure ridges “
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,” the water on the Big Horn is clear and fishing is decent. I hear there was a small midge hatch early in the afternoon. The water is low. Fish are deeper right now. Try sow bugs with a bit of pink. For streamers use something in red and black. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
“Collette reports, “ I am seeing people coming in to fish today. The weather is warmer so they want to give fishing a try. If you fish go deeper. Fish slower and try tan and gray Rays or any gray soft tackles. Zebra midges or black pheasant tails should work well . For dries try a dirty hippy. The old standby thin mint would work.,” 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
“ With the warmish, calm days that could mean great midge fishing. If you try a dry, throw dries that are a large stonefly nymph with a smaller midge pattern. That will be a good chose. Nasty weather, throw streamers, big and dark,” Alice says.
All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.