Spring is almost here and that means sudden changes in weather and water on ice. Ice conditions are deteriorating and flooding could become a problem. 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 reports,” I was here Tuesday and the marina bay still had some ice but you could shore fish along the shore elsewhere. The ice is almost off but the wind is moving what is left in and around. There is no doubt the ice is done. It is just going to be a wait and see to see when it is all gone. “
*** Monty is available to make reservations for spring by calling 1-406-465-0241 and he can set you up. He can help you.
Neil is recovering slowly from his health emergency and continues to need to be close to doctors. He and Linda are not up at Rock Creek yet but hope to be there soon. Please keep them in your thoughts.
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Spencer reports, “The ice off. This weekend someone caught a nice walleye, an 8 pounder. Boats have been heading on the water. It is snowing right now. (Wednesday). The water is a bit cloudy and has some turbidity in it. “
Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows you may use on Tongue.
Everything is still shut down. The electricity and water are not on yet. Docks are not in yet. 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, “
Tongue has no ice now. It really left quickly. You can launch boats now. We had 8 boats on the water this weekend. One fellow caught a really nice 8.2 pound walleye from shore and one group caught four crappies on minnows The marina will be opening for the season this Friday and will be open daily after that. It is set up for spring with supplies, food, drinks and beer for your camping needs. 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,” The bay is open of ice. The main lake still has some ice today when someone flew over. You can fish heading toward the main lake. We are just waiting for the ice to go. I think if we have a couple of warm days by the weekend we could see the ice gone. We could have possibly some fishable water by the weekend if the wind continues.“
Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Milly reports, “They went fishing at Duck Creek yesterday. There is some fish being caught. You can fish on the river. People are catching some rainbow and brown trout and a few walleye. There was no ice in the Marina Bay on Monday and then the wind came up last night and today there is ice in the bay. So it is going to depend on the wind how long it will take for the rest of the ice to leave. 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 noon to 1 pm / Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 10 pm We will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scott reports,” We are in a transition right now. We have lost a lot of ice this week. At Duck Creek it is wide open and you can launch a boat in the entire bay. You can go on the main lake a third of the way. Toward the face of the dam the ice is leaving. I think by Wednesday you might be able to launch a boat by the marina bay.
The river fishing is real slow on the Milk . With the milk blown out it is just rough fishing.
We will have live bait by the weekend. “
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,” You can shore fish. There is about 20 to 40 feet of water from shore before the ice . The wind is strong and it is moving what ice there is around to the dam. (Tuesday) ice is super thin. The warden said fishing has been slow .”
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
Campgrounds are open except Cottonwood. The drinking water is still shut down. Our electric is on year around.
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Mike says, “The ice is gone on Elmo. People are catching a few fish. People say it is slow right now.
The Big Horn I am hearing is slow fishing.
At Oka Bay they are catching some walleye.
People are telling me Cooney is just opening up. The guy that went said it was slow fishing from shore.“
Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat
Pat says,” Only half the ice has thawed. On guy tried walking to the inlet to fish. The shore in many places has ice. We did have a couple of campers this week. The mud has cleared up on the road but that could change with the weather.”
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261
Terry explains, “People are getting ready for fishing. A couple of guys went to Crooked Creek but said it was slow.”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Rick says, “You can fish from shore at Bair. The ice is out about 75 to 100 feet.
At Sutherlan we heard two guys got their limit both days from shore. ”
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 , “ Things did not open up much this week.
At Spring Creek the water is still muddy right now. One fellow tried fly fishing and was stripping streamers. Another man was spin fishing using a cough spinner. He was getting a few.
Achley- People are catching muskies from shore.
On the East Fork and Hanson Dam I saw it wasn’t open on the edges yet on Sunday.
The river is open and there is ice on the shore. It is muddy.
Our Grand Opening will be April 27th in our new building. There will be free food and beverages. Boats to look at in the lot. Also some prizes to win. Come and enjoy the excitement. ”
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 is gone and the water is open. You can launch a boat and go up the river as far as Soda Creek. Right now I will be open Saturday and Sunday until 3 pm. I hear Forchette Bay is open but I am just not sure for how far. I won’t be open more until 4-26-19. 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.
If you have questions call Slim at 406-366-6313 and leave a message.
Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon
Sharon says,” We had open water but not enough to launch a boat yet. There are still ice bergs floating out there. You can fish from shore and they are catching some perch, smaller walleye and trout. As it is now when the weather warms the ice will be gone. ”
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,” People are heading to the Milk River. We went on Sunday. We fished the river and caught 3 to 4 pounders. It was hot on worms. Minnows were not working at all.
Nelson is opening up. Some think it may have the ice blown off by the weekend. They turned the canal on last Tuesday so it will change things.
On Forchette I know the road is clear. There is water is low people said. “
Don’t forget 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
Jayce reports, “
At Olka Bay –On the Yellowtail people say they are jigging. They are catching walleye and bass. It has slowed for cats they say.
Tongue-On Tongue I heard fishing was slow this past weekend.
Cooney-People said there is a little ice still and it was not fishable yet.
Big Horn- I talked to one guy who fished the Big Horn and he did pretty well. He said you have to work for them.
Stillwater- On the Stillwater it has opened up. Some guys are using a wire worm. Guys are nymphing for trout. One got 6 or 7 trout in a day of fishing. He was wadding on the Upper Stillwater. “
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says,” the Rivers are open now but really muddy. They are coming up.
Canyon Ferry- At Canyon Ferry I am hearing people can’t fish yet. The ice is leaving. The water if rising. I had some guys stop in who fished Cooney and said not enough was open on Sunday. The water was out 5 feet but it was so muddy you could not get anywhere. “
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill, Ken, Jasmine
Chris says,” The Stillwater has opened up. The water is pretty cold on the lower parts. I would say head to the higher tributaries and the Upper Stillwater. Use a nymph like a midge pattern. The March brown is not working right now. Try a rubber leg as well. The Yellowstone is off color now and with the rain it will probably be more off color.
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau hears,” Fishing is still slow on the Big Horn. The water is pretty clear. The fish are a little more active. They are sitting low in the water. You can catch fish but you have to find a very specific deep spot. Fish in select spots. When you find the spot stay there. There is not a lot of surface activity. Try nymphing. Use pink midges or sow bugs. You definitely have to work for them. It is good water for floating from After Bay to Big Horn access. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
“Stephanie reports, “People are coming and fishing the Big Horn. It is crystal clear. Fishing is fair. The water is still cold right now at 36 degrees. The cfs is 3200. It is somewhat of a struggle to find the fish. Use the pink zebra pattern and the thin mint as it is working. They are hitting on the color white ”
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
Rivers are starting to free up, and it’s snowing right now ! (Tuesday night)
Nymphs are working best, and the bigger the better with the rising, off color water. For the smaller nymph behind the larger fish , try a midge, likely a flashy one or one with a bright bead.
If it is a calm warm day, midges will be hatching and fish will eat them, you might also start to see blue winged olive mayflies when the weather warms.
Olive and black streamers are also working.
All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.
(feature photo of Brad Smudzinski)