Helena, MT Winter Fishing Reports

Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 12.4.19
By angelamontana

Posted: December 5, 2019
Fall  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 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

Linda  reports, “it has been a week without fishermen.  The bay has a skiff of ice on it.  The road is good.  You could fish from shore.  As you can guess the weather was too cold for anyone to want to be fishing. ”

If you wish to make reservations for the 2020 summer, please call Monty at 406-465-0241.  If you wish information for winter ice fishing call me, Linda, at the Marina at 1-406-485-2560.  I check my messages fairly often and will return your call.  You can also call me on my cell phone as well 406-230-1283 to get information.   The marina is closed for the season. “

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports, ” we had a cooler week. On Thanksgiving things were open.  Most of the lake now has ice.  On the South end there is 1-2 inches. The boat ramp has 2 inches. I walked out 30 to 40 feet.  Sandpoint the ice is very thin and is open around the border. The north end is too thin.  You sure cannot walk on it.  .“

The power and water are turned off. That means the dump station and fish cleaning station are off .  Camping spots 1 to 11 have power but no water through the winter months.    Reservations  are no longer needed for the campground and it is first come first serve.

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

The marina is closed until ice fishing.

Wade  said ,“  the river is forming ice.  It is up to the bay by the marina.  It is even at Neck Bay.  I know of a few people who fished on the south end.  The ice by the bay is not fishable yet.   ”

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

Clint reports, ” It is 40 degrees and things are melting.  We need  a cold snap.  You can get out on the water in a boat.  We do not have ice.  It has just not been cold enough.  We need a good cold snap. “

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Eddie reports, “ Fishing has been quiet, no one has been out. Now that hunting is over, we might see some fishermen.  We have only had a few fishermen.  We did have weather this week, rain.  The road is wet and tough today to drive in.  The plows are out so it will get better.“

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  Monday to Friday  11am to 9am/ Saturday and Sunday 8 am breakfast and open to 10pm  Tackle Store is open 7 am to 9pm daily

Scott  reports “  I have only talked to a few fishermen that were chasing lakers.  They did fairly well.  They caught fish in 35 feet of water pulling crankbaits on York Island. Other than those two fishermen I haven’t got any other reports as the weather  has kept most people off the lake and I think most everyone is ready to start ice fishing although I’m not sure I am. LOL

You can also  call  us at the tackle shop for an up-to-date report if your planning a trip up to  Fort Peck. Our number is 1-406-526-3442. “

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

Marina says ,” it continues to change every day and have different conditions out here.  Willow creek has ice with snow on top.  The west side has very obvious ice but different types because you see the changes in color.  The east side is smooth and glassy.  It really appears thin.  The boat ramp is not useable at this time.  The wind is moving the ice at times.  I did see someone on the ice, but I would choose to not walk out as it really is still thin. “

The water has been turned off now.   The electricity is also off except at Marshall Cove and Red Lodge campgrounds.  The docks are pulled. Soon we will be working on dock repairs after the pre-winter maintenance is done.    You no longer need reservations, so the camp sites are first come first serve. The kiosk has the reduced rate for camping  listed.  Remember, your dogs are welcome but don’t forget your leash.

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob tells me, “ the water has still had a  skim of  ice out there.  There is a very small open area with birds in it in the middle.  It is still very thin.  You can not fish from shore at this point.  “

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Pat reports,” there is still some open water.  There is ice starting further up but not thick at all. We just have to wait for the weather to get colder.”

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

Terry reports, “ I had a couple of fishermen who headed to Deadmans.  They said they could not fish because the ice was not thick enough to get on.  That was last Saturday.  We just have to wait for colder weather.   “

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

Rick reports,” No one has gone fishing this week that I have not heard of. Bair has ice but it was too cold this week to head there. Sutherlan has ice and there is an icehouse on it.  The roads were very icy, and snow packed this week.”

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

Jon  reports , “  We have snow melting today.  No ice around here yet.

Spring Creek- Spring Creek is clear and open.  You can fish there.  I know some people who went out, but it was pretty cold to fish.

Achley- Achley has a skimmed ice over it.  With the weather it needs more time to thicken.

Missouri-The Missouri has had mixed results. Some had decent results some did not do well.  There was  slushy ice coming down the river at times.   ”

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

The marina is open.  We are open 7 am to 7 pm every day.

Gary reports, “we do have ice. Only one person went out, that was me.  I went out about 50 feet  but was Leary to walk the last 10 feet.  At 40 feet  I found 6 inches of ice, but I caught no fish and had no success.  You can see there is ice clear across the bay I just don’t know what kind it is.  There is some ice at Musselshell bay and Crooked Creek bay.  ”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports, “we are growing a little ice now. About one to two inches.  I suspect if the weather continues it might be better by next week.  You cannot ice fish yet. It is not safe.  ”

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,  “Nelson has  ice.  There is 5 inches in the  Bay, and someone had a shack on. I don’t know if he got anything. People have been fishing but no one has reported what or if they caught anything. They are using minnows, and some are spearing. ”

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

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce  reports, “ not many fished this week with the weather and holiday.  I know the wind has been blasting all week so getting on anywhere has been tough.

Highlight Reservoir- You can fish Highlight as there is ice.  They did catch some fish.

Big Horn- One fellow went to the spot on the Big Horn where the Yellowstone comes it. They are catching sauger and walleye.  It has slowed down since last week.”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ the week  had cold and lots of freezing conditions.    I have not heard any  news on ice fishing.  The rivers definitely have chunks of ice in them. ”

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

Chris reports,” We still have open water.  Try nymphing using a beadhead.  If you try floating the Yellowstone, I would try a streamer.  The weather is supposed to be getting cold.  I will be closing the shop for a while starting December 1st.”

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

Beau says, “  The fishing on the Big Horn was okay this week.  The water is definitely  clearing.  Dry fly fishing is the best presentation. The  pseudo patterns should work around   noon.   Nymph and  streamer  fishing  has  improved.  You  are catching rainbows. The reds are starting and so please stay off them. “

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

Rick explains,” We had a fair amount of wind this week.  The water is clear.  Guys are seeing  baetes  this week. The water is  clearer. Look for them around 3 mile  between one and three o’clock .  When it is  overcast and cloudy use streamers.  The cfs is 3200.  Some have said fishing is  better.   You will find if you get out of the boat you will  do well fishing. Stay off the reds, the browns have started.”

We are in winter  hours and are open  8 am to 12 every day.


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

 West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 10/7/19 


No further fishing report until Spring