Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 7.10.19
By angelamontana

Posted: July 11, 2019

Summer  is here. This year we are still having very unusual weather and that means sudden changes in weather and water.  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 1-406-230-1283  for Linda 

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

 Monty reports,” the fishing was really good this week despite the days of rain.  We got 3 inches of rain.  Total was probably a total 6 inches.  You can pitch from the shore three to five feet deep and get some nice walleye.  Someone caught multiple walleyes and two were 32 and 31 inches long.  Lots of walleye have been caught close to the Marina.  Purple seems to be the best color to use. We are not seeing many northern pike being caught. They have been cranking for them.  A couple of nice bass were caught, and one was 22 inches.  The real surprise was that the bass have been full of eggs.  It is really late for that.   People who went out in boats are finding the walleye in the weeds. They are using cranks with minnows and worms.  The road as of right now (Tuesday afternoon) is really wet as it is still raining so I suggested that people come on Wednesday when it has had time to dry.  ”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports, ”  The weather this last week was unpredictable.  We had rain at times with lightening other times.  The fishing has been somewhat slower.  People were catching bass and walleye.   The bass are being found in the shallows. The catch is about half and half of each.  The water level is down a couple of inches.  The fishing is  just inconsistent.  The clarity of the water is clearing up a little.  ”

**The reservation system is now  in effect .  We are part of a new pilot program that allows you to make a reservation one day ahead.  We are hoping that this brings in people who have been unable to use the campground on short notice.  Other spots like  Campers Point, Sandpoint, Peewee, Rattlesnake, Peewee North, and River view below the dam are open to first come, first serve.  They have no electrical.  The docks are in.

 Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows  you may use on Tongue.

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

 Fletcher reports ,  “ it was a good weekend of people coming to Tongue for the 4th. The band was really good,  and we served a  lot of food.   The fishing was kind of rough ,though. The weather at times was pretty nasty.  People were finding the crappie  and bass they were catching still had eggs in them.  It is really late for that.  Fishermen were mostly catching bass. They were catching them on a white twister in 6 to 8 feet depths  of water.  We are seeing  an occasional  walleye.  The fish are being  caught on a jig trolling and casting close toward shore. The top water temperature has been 65 degrees. “

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

 Clint  reports, ” Mother Nature is a pain in the butt right now.  It has been raining  a lot.  We just got over 2 inches of rain over night. We have already met the average rainfall we get  here.  The fishing has been decent.  People are finding them in the flooded sweet clover  grass towards shore.  Guys are catching  walleye, northern pike and bass. They were doing really well in waters from 2 to  14 feet.  The fish were nice and fat and healthy.  The water has been  around 60 degrees, but it cools down at night because it has been cool air temperatures at night.    People are catching  fish  jigging or cranking.  If you are a guy who can skim your line across the vegetation you can catch them.  ”

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Justin reports, “   fishing has slowed  down some.   The storm fronts are changing things. Lake trout  is still good although it slows some days. They are finding them at 70 to 90 feet depths using a jig.  Use a jig or a down rigger.  The water temperature has been from 68 to 70 degrees.  They have caught some big walleye.  They are not getting pike right now.  Most people are heading down the main lake. They are finding them all over and no particular color is better than another. “

We can cover all your needs and if you want to charter a boat, we can help with that too.   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 fishing has been absolutely hot!!  There have been lots of walleye caught, big fish.      We are finding the walleye  at 10 feet depths down to 3 feet.  Just about anything is working.  The guys are  using a crawler harness, rigging, jigging and cranks. The Dry Arm is fishing well all the way up to through Sutherland.   The bass fishing has been fundamental,  and people are being found pitching in the rock piles.  The lake trout bite had slowed down a little bit, but the last two days have picked up.  The northern pike are  also really fishing well. They are  using a crankbait or a jig with a spoon and have been 10 to 14 pounds in size.  The water has good visibility and it has been 68 to 71 degrees.  The lake trout fishing is also on fire.  It is really unbelievable how good fishing is right now and I think we will see that continue this week.

The restaurant will be open for breakfast this week and then on the weekend  for the Governor’s Cup on July 11th.   “

The bait and tackle store is open  Thursday thru Monday, and we have everything you need for chasing fish on Fort Peck. We also have campsites available with power for anyone that wants to bring your camper to the lake. The spots are  on concrete and right on the lake shore. You can access the lake right from your camper.   “

 Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia, Jake

Marina  reports,” the water flooding is still about the same. The north shore boat ramp  and Red Lodge boat ramp are open. Cottonwood and Marshal Cove continue to be closed. The boat dock at Marshal Cove is not open. The fishing was really good this past week.  Many people who were fishing from shore were getting their limits of walleye.  The water is up again. “

  The lake is clearer if you stay away from Willow or Red Lodge.  The water  is still cloudy towards the creek.  The water temperature is 68 degrees at Red Lodge and 61 degrees toward the dam.  People fishing this week  were using worm harnesses or  leeches. I have been told the peach Rapala   is working well. The depths are really changing day by day from 2 feet to 30 feet.

***Remember, there are no fireworks allowed in State Parks. Please leave them home. Your dogs are welcome but don’t forget your leash.”

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob says, “ There have been a lot of people out enjoying fishing over the 4th.  Some nice bass  have been caught . They are catching a lot of the little rainbows. The invasive species residue that they found has not changed the any fishing at Elmo.  There are no restrictions on Elmo for that.”

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

 Pat says,” I know they were catching  fish at Broadview pond this past week.  We had lots of shore fishermen and boats this past week here.  The water is high.  There is not a lot of shore right now. I do know that some fishermen have caught trout.  One caught a 10 incher from shore. The campgrounds are all open.  ”

 Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261 Terry explains, “  I had some fellows come in who had been to Martinsdale and had good luck  using cowbells.    They said they used cowbells from the boat.  Apparently, silver was working really well.   They said they got no bites on gold.  They caught fish around 11 inches.  They caught 9 or 10 fish.

Someone went to Deadmans and caught fish there as well. They were fishing out of a boat and catching. They were using bottom bouncers. It sounded like they only got a few.

I also talked to some guys that  went to  Crooked Creek for 3 days and they limited out on walleye.  One was a big one. They said they caught a hog.  ”

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

 Judy says,”  people are saying fishing was very good  this week even with the rain. Everyone who went out were happy. We had lots of people here. They were catching fish at Bair and Martinsdale.   Some days  crawlers and pulling cow bells were working.  Guys tried that on Bair.  I heard nothing on Sutherlan or Newland. ”

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 went to Canyon Ferry this weekend.  The weather was definitely not great.  We caught one fish a 30  incher.  Not much action.

Achley- The Achley fishing has slowed down.  The water is clear.

Spring Creek is slightly off color . Streamers are working. Princes are working right now.  Spinners  are also working. Try a nymph or a panther marten.

Crooked  Creek-  I hear guys at  Crooked Creek are  heading  to  Forchette.  .   You can use just about anything to catch walleye and pike.  People have talked of jigging with   a minnow and a spoon. Everything is shallow at around 15 feet the walleye, bass and pike.

Hanson Dam- Try using a bobber  with a worm.  The  rainbow trout bite is doing well.  Some fly fishermen are catching some fish also.

Crooked Creek-  People are putting  in at Crooked Creek and staying closer.  Not as many are going to Forchette.  If they go that way, they are going clear to the narrows.   Walleye and bass are definitely being caught. ”

We do have smelt, worms, meal worms, maggots and wax worms.  We have live minnows.

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

Carri says, “The fishing has been awesome.  It has not slowed down a bit since last week despite the rain.  We did have sometimes where people  could not go out. The weekend was the best fishing.   The fishermen are using bottom bouncers and  worm harnesses.  Look for the walleye  and all fish at depths of 8 to 12 feet depths. Any color is working. We are seeing walleye that are 20 to 22 inches and most are around 14 inches.   You do not have to  go far to  get them.   Jigging is just okay to catch fish the cranking is working best. The fishermen are not running as often towards Forchette and the narrows  at the mudline.   Guys  don’t have to go so far as close is working  as well.  ”

 When you  come 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 minnows.

The campground and marina are 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,” fishing has been good this week.   You can find fish pretty much  everywhere people tell me. Some nice ones have been caught. The water temperature is in the  70 degrees.  The guys have been catching walleye, trout, and big perch.   You can just use any bait right now.  They are using worms, bottom bouncers, crank baits and jigs.  Everything seems to catch fish. The walleye fishing has been good.  Many have been 14 to 18. ”

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

The Flamingo is closed.

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

 Jim  reports,” things are the same as last week despite the rainy week. There is a good bite for walleye on Nelson .  They are catching walleye and  some perch. Walleye have been  at 17 to 28 feet.  The perch are at  depths of 35  feet depths. Many are  using  worm harnesses.  Leeches are working. The water levels are good there.  The mosquitos are biting bring your mosquito repellent. Use the Regina road to get in.

Word has it  Forchette still is really good fishing.  It has not changed.   ”

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

 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce  reports, “

Stillwater- I hear on the Stillwater the salmon flies are out.  People say the water is a little clearer the higher up you go.

Fort Peck – At Fort Peck  I am getting mixed reports depending on where you go.  I heard from some people getting ready for the Governor’s   Cup and they are catching few fish and small ones.  The fish are at depths of 25 to as little as 2 feet.  The fish are being caught all over that area. The weather seems to be  a factor as the fronts move around.

Tongue- On Tongue people say the fishing is still slow.  They are catching bass but not as many.

Big Horn- This week guys are saying they are finding fishing is good.  Use Zebra midges as they are having good luck with them.

Yellowtail- Guys tell me they are catching lots of small bass.  Use a top water bait.  They are catching only a few trout.

Martinsdale- They are saying that trout are being caught from the bank at Martinsdale.  “

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

 Word has it.

Totson-At Totson  Dam people are catching walleye.  It was a decent bite.

Canyon Ferry- At Canyon Ferry  guys are saying they caught walleye.   This week the ones I talked to caught nice walleye and small mouth bass.  Leaches seem to be working. .”

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

 Nicole states,” The fishermen  fishing the Stillwater have seen salmon flies this week.  Getup high to fish the Stillwater.  Clear up to old Nye.  It is more wadable up there.  If you are floating, you need to go above Johnson Bridge. The water is off color,  it is fast water for floating.  We are not seeing any hatches yet. Try big dry flies. Try

 Use a girdle bug , Pat’s Rubber Leg or a Large Stonefly pattern.  The water is fluctuating  so I have changed my indicators at least four times.  We suggest you search out water that is slower. Try fishing offshore with nymphs like the Grinch or pheasant tail.

The Yellowstone is still so  high and moving very fast.  We have   and off color.   The  fishing is dangerous.   With the warmer weather it will have more runoff. Search out small tributaries and lakes away from the Yellowstone.”

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

 Word has it fishing  on the Missouri River this week has continued to do  well. The Canyon has cleared.   From Holter Dam to Cascade the water is clear.  It is  fishable all the way down.  PMD’s  are working.  You can catch  browns and rainbow trout.  Some of them are really nice size.

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375   Rick/Stephanie/

“Stephanie says, “ People are saying they are catching some nice fish.   The water CFS today (Tuesday) is at  9000.  Word says they will up the water late this afternoon at 4 pm to 9500 CFS.  The water is a bit murky.  The water temperature is 51 degrees.  The water is still spilling over the dam.  Nymphing  is working.  Try using streamers like a thin mint, dirty hippy, and a tan or gray Ray.  The guys have caught quite a few fish.”

If  you plan on wading to fish, I suggest you call to check to see how high the water is.   If you come with a boat, you can pick places to wade so there is no problem there.“   If you are wanting to wade look for the skinier spots because of CFS.

 Our hours   are   8 am to 12 every day.

Madison River Outfitters- West Yellowstone – Tom Forsberg.  Open 730am-9pm  406-646-9644.

Madison River , Hebgen and Yellowstone National Park waters

West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report

Tom reports,”


Upper Madison: It’s salmon fly time on the Madison. If you can time out this hatch and find fish that haven’t already gorged themselves on the adults and nymphs, you can be in for a very memorable day of fishing. As of yesterday afternoon, the big bugs are coming off strongest right around Windy point and they should be working their way  into the wade section any day now. If chasing after salmon flies isn’t your thing, there’s still good news for you. The caddis fishing has been fantastic the past week or so and should only continue to get better. Look for them to start coming off sometime in the late morning to early afternoon and continue into the evening hours. There has been a fair number of PMD’s coming off, and if you find yourself on the river during some of these afternoon storms we have been getting almost daily, you can expect to have a good stretch of fishing. In addition to all of this, be on the lookout for golden stones and Yellow Sallies. For nymphs, it seems the rubber legs bite has slowed considerably in the float section but it’s still worth fishing in the wade section. Other smaller mayfly and caddis nymphs have been working well also.

Flies: #8 Salmonfly Hotcake, #10 Henry’s Fork Stone, #10 Half-down Golden, #6-12 Chubby Chernobyl, #14 Full-tilt Sally, #14-16 X-Caddis, #16 PMD Sparkle Dun, #16 D.O.A. PMD Cripple, #16 Ausable Parawulff, #8-10 Sili-legs, #12-14 Biot Golden Stone, #14-16 Lake Prince, #14-16 Red Neck, #16 Green/Black Lightning Bug, #16 Guide Dip/$3 Dip, #18-18 Krystal Dip, #16-18 Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear

Hebgen: Fishing on Hebgen has been good albeit a little inconsistent. We have seen some good callibaetis emergences, but it is definitely not an everyday occurrence yet. Nymphing with callibaetis and/or chironomids is still the best way to consistently get fish to the boat. Stripping some leeches and buggers is always a good option as well.

Flies: #12 Sno Cone, #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Parachute, #10 Simi Seal Leech, #8 Jig Bugger

Gallatin: The water in the park stretch has shaped up really nicely and is now in really fine fishing condition. Attractor dries and maybe some caddis should be about all you need in this stretch for the time being. The “Chili Dog” seemed to be the ticket in there during the past week. Below the Taylor Fork, the water is still slightly high and off color but definitely fishable. Look for salmonflies to be somewhere south of Big Sky working their way up.

Flies: #12 Chili Dog, #14-16 Trude, #14-16 Parawulff, #14 409, #8-12 Chubby Chernobyl

Yellowstone National Park

Firehole: Some of the rain and cooler temps we got this past week helped water temps in the Firehole hang in just a little longer, but it’s probably now reached the point where we will refrain from fishing again until sometime in September. If you are intent on fishing here, fish somewhere upstream of Midway Geyser Basin and try to get in early and be off the water sometime before 11 am.

NE Corner: We have been eagerly keeping an eye on the stream gauge for the Lamar as the flows steadily and consistently drop each day. I would say Slough could be fishable within the next few days with Lamar and Soda Butte hopefully not too far behind. Fair warning that heading up there at the moment is a bit of a gamble.