Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 3.6.19
By angelamontana

Posted: March 7, 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

There have been some people fishing the bay of Rock Creek up to Nelson Creek.  The ice is   good   ice.  People are catching 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, “I know of some crappies being caught this week.  Someone speared  a real nice northern.  We only have at the most 6 inches of  snow in some places because of wind.  There is no slush on the ice.  One person fished all day and said it was a little slower but still good.  He did catch fish.  He said, ”persistence pays off. ”The ice is 20 inches thick right now.   I want to remind people you need a new fishing license now since  March 1st. “

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.  We had 20 below overnight  almost every day this last week.  We only have 2 to 3 inches of snow but the wind does change that in places. The ice is 20 feet plus  deep throughout.  It was a little slower.  I do know they caught crappie, perch and pike.  It was very cold  so not as many fishermen. The forecast is saying it is going to warm up.  Fishermen are still  catching fish with minnows and maggots.

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

Remember your license expired March 1st  You can purchase a license from the Marina but remember the Marina has limited hours of   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, ”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

Carrie reports, “We had a very successful 44 hour Fort Peck Tournament  this past  weekend.  We had 57 teams.   Fishing was slow . It was definitely cold.    . 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 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. “

  Winners are LAKE TROUT  Zach Designer #14.09/33″, Zac Jackson #12.09/31.5″, Zac Jackson  #11.15/32.5″,  WALLEYE Casey Watson #2.01/17.5″, Sean Williams #1.09/17″,
Leon Garfield #1.08/16″  NORTHERN Don Wilkins #12.07/34″, Travis Kittleson #11.13/36″,Seth Morrison  #9.01/32″

  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 44 hour  fishing tournament was a success. We had lots of teams and some great prizes.  Next year Lake Ridge and Fort Peck Marina will work together to make an even better event.  It was a  pretty slow bite.  The barometer really was changing and that was a definite reason for the slow bite.  Yesterday was slow but the barometer should level up soon as the weather report has things getting warmer.  The ice is in 20 inches in the Bay and the main lake is 6 to 7 inches.   There has been wind blowing snow at times.  For the lake trout people are using white tube bait and Clam flutter spoons.  For walleyes fishermen are using small minnows.  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  

 Cooney was  real quiet this week.  I was told they believe the cold chased people away.  I  head there was not one ice house  out there this week.  With the wind it was just way too cold.  The areas around Cooney have been plowed.  There has been  some drifting.

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

“ People have not  ice fished much this week  this week. In fact I look  out there right now and there is no one on the ice.   There is  snow on the ice so make sure you bring your shovel .  Ice fishing reports  last week  said fishing was good.   The ice is more than 8 inches thick,”  Bob reports.

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Tony says,”   We have only  seen one guy, possibly a fishermen, this week and he high centered on a drift and had to be towed out.  Right now it would be hard to get down there.   Deadmans has over 6 inches of ice some have said.”

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

 Terry explains, “I did not have any customers much less fishermen.  I was just too cold and of course the road was also closed part of this week.”

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

 Rick says, “It has been way too cold  to go to Bair to fish.  Right now if you got in to Bair you would have a hard time getting  out even with chains because of the weather. There is 20 inches of   ice and there is snow on it.

Anyone who has gone to  Sutherland reports it is not doing anything.  Most people are just hunkered down by a fire staying warm.  You definitely have to chain up and bring more than one  shovel because you very well could need them.”

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 think positive and say it is supposed to warm up.

Achley- You can get a few fish at  Achley.  Fish are deeper  about 20 feet down.    The ice is 1 foot deep.  You need to watch for drifts on the road.

East Fork- People are still  catching perch on the East fork when they brave the cold.     The ice is 9   inches.

Hanson Dam- Guys are finding fishing good at Hanson Dam.  They are catching trout. ”

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 are closed due to the snow  and drifts.  The road has not been plowed by the county.  The last  group I lead out had a challenge getting out and so did I .  The road was drifting closed behind us.  Even if you have a big pickup with chains you could not get to Crooked  Creek right now.  I do not recommend anyone attempt it.  I will keep you posted about when I will be going there and the conditions.  Watch for information on the Crooked Creek  Facebook page or here for any changes.  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,”   Please  stop at the marina before fishing to get information.  Due to the storm and cold we have not seen fishermen for a while.  If you do go at this point you have to have chains on your vehicles.  Chains may not even be good enough  with a 4 x 4 so I would say try snowmobiles.  Snow is drifting because of the wind.  There is snow 6 inches or more on the ice.  We also have had some new pressure ridges and the snow makes them difficult to see.  Stop by the Silos for information.   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  

Jim   reports,” It was a slow weekend for fishing.  On Nelson fishing is slow right now.  You will need tracks or a snowmobile to fish.  The snow is hard packed and there is 8 to 10 inches.  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, “ I heard at the 44 hour tournament things were slow and really cold.  The barometer had a lot to do with it.  I heard not many fish were brought in to weigh, like only 10 fish.

Cooney-I have heard Cooney has been slow.  Guys tell me they only caught a few fish when they went.

Elmo- I  hear they are still caching perch on  Elmo.

There just have not had many people going out. “

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says,”  The rivers are frozen, of course.  Logan has flooding going over the road at the bridge.    There are a lot of places with bulging ice on the rivers here.

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. “

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 weather was pretty cold to head  to the Big Horn and fish.  I heard before this cold snap there was a small midge hatch early in the afternoon.   The water  is clear and low.   Scuds have worked.  Try dark streamers   with a bit of red.  ”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375   

“Rick reports, “ With the cold and snow storm I have not seen anyone.  Our weather is good right now (Wednesday).   By the weekend we are supposed to see  30 degree temperatures.  If you fish go deeper.  Fish slower and try tan and gray Rays or any gray soft tackles.  Try some zebra midges or black pheasant tails . For dries try a dirty hippy.  Maybe a thin mint would work. We are seeing some midge hatches in the afternoon.     With the water being   low you can actually wade in a lot of places on the river.  The ramps are clear.  If you want to fish, come here. You will not be fighting snow like other places.  Right now we have rooms for half price,” 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

“Longer, sunnier days are seeing more fish rising to midges in the middle of the day. Certainly small nymphs are also effective before and after the hatch. On cloudy days, throw streamers.,” Alice says.

 Yellowstone Park

All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.