Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 9.16.19
By angelamontana

Posted: September 19, 2019

Summer  is almost over. 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 like snow and dangerous fire 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 bass bite is over the chart.  People have caught some 3 and 4 pounders.  They are jigging on rocky points for them.  A few guys are cranking.   Fishermen are trying  cranks for walleye,  but the bite is slow right now. Guys are catching pike on plastics in the mouth of the bay. They are finding them at 15 to 20 feet and have been a nice size. Salmon and lake trout have slowed down.  “


Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond  reports, ”  people  say they are seeing lots of  fish on their locator but the crappie are deep and just not biting.   People are catching some nice bass.  I have seen some northern pike.  Guys have said they were going north for them. They say orange and blue colors are working. The water temperature is 66 degrees and is now at   winter level.   Tongue seems to be fishing a little better.  As of Sunday reservations for the campground will be first come first serve.  “

**The reservation system is now  in effect until Sunday .  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

Closed Monday, Tuesday  Open Wednesday to Sunday

Wade  says ,  “  This week we have seen phenomenal bass  fishing. Someone caught a 5 ½ pound largemouth bass. A few people have caught their limit.  They are catching pike and bass.   We saw only a few walleyes caught but they have been nice size. They are not getting their limit.   People are starting  to catch some crappie so that has been decent.  Not a limit but mainly with worms.  There were some cats caught a 15 pounder and a 16 pounder.  Come by and support your marina.  We would love to visit with you.”


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

Cint reports, ” we had 3 ½ inches of rain last week.  The road is not bad.  They got it half bladed before the rain.    The northern pike and bass  bite is  good.  Some are getting their limits of pike and bass.

The walleye bite is the normal August September bite.  It is intermittent.  Guys will go out and have a really great day and then the next two days will be so so.

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­


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

Staff  explains, “ The bite has been slow because of the weather.  Some people have limited out on walleye.  They are finding the walleye at 20 to 25 feet depths.  They are using cranks and minnows.  The salmon bite is slow and they are finding them at 70 feet depths.  The lake trout are being caught on spoons at depths of 90 to 110 feet.  They still are a good bite.  Some days the  wind has  been  blowing.  Today there has been a wind advisory for 45 mph winds.  That makes getting out on the water impossible.

The river has been good.  They are using cranks for walleye and sauger.  They only caught a few salmon there.

We just got in a new shipment of minnows. 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

Open Thursday, Friday and Monday 9am to noon/ Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 9pm

Staff reports, “  walleye fishing is still good. They are catching them when the weather is good.  The salmon fishermen have said the fishing is slow right now. That weather has made that change.  “

The bait and tackle store are 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

Jake  reports,” the trout bite has improved this past week.  They are catching them from shore with worms, marshmallows and power bait. The walleye bite has been consistently slow.  Rapella are working better than jigging.  I pull really slow in the mud  on the bottom with a Rapella and have decent luck.  Some nice perch have been caught with a split bobber and worms. “

Please help keep the big fish in the water for breeding by releasing them.  Remember, your dogs are welcome but don’t forget your leash.

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob reports,  “ There are people out there fishing all of the time.  Cooney is still pretty full  now. With the cooler weather the fishing should pick up. With all the activity they must be catching. ”


 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

“ The water has gone some .  We  actually have a little more beach.   People are  fishing .  Fishermen  have said they are catching quite a few trout. “  Pat said.

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

Terry explains, “ No fishing talk this week.  Everyone I have talked to was headed out with their bow and arrow or staying home because of the rain.

Broadview pond has been having people  fishing. They must be catching with the number of people out there. “


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

Judy reports,”  the fishermen reported fishing was only fair.  They started out at Martinsdale and after a while they changed location because fishing was slow.  The weather was not good some days.  So the guys headed to Bair.  They only caught a few fish there.  They did okay on worms they said. ”


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 , “  fishing has  slowed down.    We had  a  weekend that was good.   We did have a lot of wind.

Spring Creek-  On Spring Creek  fishing  has been good.  Some days the weather was a factor. I suggest you use terrestrials as they should work .

Achley- At  Achley they are catching some walleye and an occasional Muskie.  Use a number 18 Rapala in a rainbow trout color.

Crooked Creek- People are saying they are getting  lots of fish at Crooked Creek.  A lot of people I talked to were doing cast and blast.

Lots of people are not fishing as they are going bull hunting for archery season. “

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 

The marina is open and in full swing now.  We are open 7 am to 7 pm every day.

Slim says, “ we have had  a rainy week.  The road is okay to get down.  Fishing was slow.  I believe that is because the water is turning over.  The walleye are hard to find right now.  Some are finding a few northern pike.  There is a lot of moss half  way down because of the water turning.  I think it should be better in about a week.  I think we are half  way through it.  There have been quite a few people who are bow hunting and fishing.  I have taken them down further so they can hunt.   ”


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports, “ I would say fishing is medium to good.  The trout bite is very good.  Some people have caught some perch as well.  Use bright colors to catch them.  You really can catch fish all over.  No specific spot is better than another.  It is just good all over.   We had decent weather.”

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

The Flamingo is closed.


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

Dan  reports, ”We had two days of 95 degrees.  Which was crazy.  Then it cooled off  to 65 degrees and it rained.     People say Nelson is still good fishing.  Nelson is  full . They are catching even with the weather change.  Fishermen are now using bottom bouncers, but some   are trying a minnow  and some jigging.  The water level is still at a good level.   It is a little mossy right now.”

Bring your mosquito repellent.

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


 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce  reports, “  Everybody is thinking about archery season.  I am again heading out in a few days myself.

Cooney-Some guys have caught a few walleye.  They  are finding them here or there.  Not in any  particular specific place. Fish they are catching do not have much size.  There are a number that are decent size.

Yellowstone from Columbus to Big Timber.  People are catching trout using hoppers.  I hear it is slowing down. –  The fishing was slow.

Yellowstone River-Yellowstone below the Clarks Fork is muddy.  If you are going to fish the Yellowstone go higher up.

Clarks fork- The Clarks Fork is real muddy like chocolate.

Tongue- I heard of a few catfish being caught on the Tongue. “


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich reports,”  I am at Peck fishing so I guess you will have to wait to hear how it was fishing.

As far as fly fishing the rivers look weedy which would make using a panther martin hard. It might be better with spin casting right now on them.”


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

Ken says,” The weather has really dumped lots of mud.

The Yellowstone here is clearer.  The hopper action has really slowed.    Hoppers action was better when we had those two hot days. Use an attractor pattern like a purple haze, parachute Adams and PMX. The water has gone down from a month ago.  It is very floatable.

The Stillwater is down from the 500cfs it was to 250 cfs.  It is bony to impassable.  The lower part is floatable.  It is very clear.  Throw a Grinch or a wooly bugger.  Try a nymph hairs ear or Pheasant tail in the morning.  Use smaller dries later in the day. “


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

Beau says, “ I have been fishing the Yellowstone from Gardner to Livingston and down from Gardner.  The fishing has been  pretty good if the wind is not blowing.  Use a bead head or a pheasant tail.  The water clarity has been better.  It gets muddier closer to Billings.“


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

Rick says, “  people  are catching some nice big fish.  You just don’t catch as many.  Years ago you would catch 20 now you are catching 5 to 6 but they are bigger.  The water is   off color and the grass is  breaking up.  There are tricots in the early morning still in some parts just not as many.    The water level is still at 3000 CFS. There are black caddis late in the day. Use some streamers like a thin mint or dirty hippies when it is cloudy.

The lake has turned over.  It is like at 90 percent full.  ”

Our hours   are   8 am to 12 every day.

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

 West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 9/17/19


Upper Madison: While we are still getting some glimpses of good hopper and terrestrial fishing, the most consistent way to catch fish has now definitely transitioned into nymphing. Smaller baetes, midge and attractor nymphs in the size #16-18 range have been best, but there has also been a pretty good return of the rubber leg bite many days recently. That being said, you can still definitely try throwing some hoppers and ants around in the afternoons and the weather for tomorrow looks like it could be a good day to give it a shot. When the weather turns a bit snotty again after tomorrow, look for baetes to come off and fish to be rising to them.

Flies: #18-20 D.O.A. Baetis Cripple, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun, #10-12 Pink/Tan/Yellow Thunder Thighs, #10-12 Morrish Hopper, #14-16 Arrick’s Ant, #16 Nyman’s Flying Ant, #14-16 Bogus Beetle, #12-16 Royal Trude, #16-18 Rusty Spinner, #16-18 Purple Parachute, #10-12 Black Sili Legs, #16 Lake Prince, #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Red Neck, #16-18 Green/Black Lightning Bug, #16-18 Guide Dip/$3 Dip, #16-18 Krystal Dip, #16-18 Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear, #18 Black/Olive Zebra Midge

Hebgen: Callibaetis fishing has slowed considerably given the recent weather. The good news however is that there are fish staging up in the Madison and Grayling arms that are ready and willing to eat both nymphs and especially leeches. Suspending a nymph under an indicator or stripping some buggers and leeches are great options right now.

Flies: #8 Simi Seal Leech, #6-8 Flash-A- Bugger, #16 Turkey Callibaetis, #16-18 Olive Flashback Hare’s ear

Gallatin: The Gallatin has still been fishing quite well both inside and outside of the park stretch. Nymphing with some smaller baetes and midge patterns will be your best bet in the mornings and throughout the day but starting in the afternoon you can still throw around some terrestrial and attractor patterns with a good amount of success. On the cloudy, rainy days later this week baetes will be a good bet in the late afternoons as well.

Flies: #14-16 Lake Prince, #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Red Neck, #12 Pink/Purple Hot Spot Jig, #8-12 Black Sili Legs, #12 Morrish Hopper, #10-12 Thunder Thighs Hopper, #14-16 Lime/Royal Trude, #12-16 Parawulff, #14 409, #8-12 Royal/Peacock/Golden Chubby Chernobyl

Yellowstone National Park

NE Corner: Fishing on Slough, Soda Butte, and Lamar has been great. On cloudy days be sure to have small baetes and some Drake Mackerels and on sunny days make sure to bring your terrestrial box. This time of year a tungsten head dropper can make your day if things are slow or you find yourself getting a lot of refusals. Things have been running mostly clear up there recently, though Lamar has been a little chalky a few of these last few days after any rain.

Flies: #18-20 D.O.A. Baetis Cripple, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun, #12 Drake Mackerel Cripple, #10-14 Peacock/Royal Chubby, #16 Longhorn Beetle, #14-16 Bogus Beetle, #14 Arrick’s Ant, #12 Thunder Thighs Hopper, #12-16 Royal/Lime Trude, #12-16 Parawulff Adams, #14 409, #12 Quill Jig, #12 Lucent Jig, #16 Olive Biot Czech

Madison in YNP: We have been hearing of more and more fish starting to move up into the river, though I would say we are still a little way off from prime fall run fishing. The weather later this week should continue to draw quite a few more fish up into the system and maybe get things going full swing.


Flies: #8-12 Peacock/Orange/PT & Partridge, #10-12 Partridge and Copper, #8-10 Simi Seal Leech, #6 Sparkle Minnow, #8 Squirrel Leech, #18-20 D.O.A. Baetis Cripple, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun


Firehole: The Firehole has been fishing about as consistent as you’d like. Look for baetes on cloudy days, caddis and terrestrials on the brighter days, and soft hackles anytime in between.


Flies: # 14 Tan Elk Hair Caddis, #18-20 D.O.A. Baetis Cripple, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun, 14 Tan/Olive Diving Caddis, #10-14 Orange/Green & Partridge, #10 Simi Seal Leech