Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 1.22.20
By angelamontana

Posted: January 23, 2020

Winter 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, “we had some people come to fish this week. The ice has improved. There is 1 foot of ice in our bay. On the north side in the main lake there is 6 inches of ice. It is super hard ice. The weather was pretty good, even the wind died down. It was a little cold fishing and that turned off the fishing . They caught small northern pike in the bay. Some people who stayed in a cabin drilled holes all the way across and got zero fish. That day there was lots of ice. I don’t know how they stood the wind that day. One group stayed until Monday and got no fish.”

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

Spencer reports, ” we had a fair amount of people here this weekend. I fished with family on Saturday. It was pretty slow. The fish were in deeper water. The perch were at 32 feet in the main channel. We picked up some crappie as they were suspended at 20 feet. You really had to search. The bite people said was an AM bite. People caught an occasional bass, a few cats and some northern pike. It was definitely fishing not catching sometimes. We used a wax worm for bait. One fellow caught a big crappie on a minnow jigging. They are using ATVs and putting huts on. Don’t forget people that camping fees still apply in winter. “

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

Wade said ,“ It was a slower weekend of fishing . I know of people catching 10 crappies, 4 northern pike and a bunch of perch. They found them at 20 to 30 feet and people were mainly jigging with Tongue River Marina minnows. You need to move around and move your depths at times. Sometimes they are suspended. The ice is clear, and the water is clear under it as well. The Marina is open on Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 am to noon. The guys are using ATVs, 4 wheelers and side by sides on the ice.”

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

Staff reports, ” the ice is frozen all over to the main lake. Boy Scout now has 8 inches. They are catching northern pike. The Marina bay has 9 to 14 inches. It is ready for 4 wheelers. It has been cold. . People have been catching. I know of one trout, a few walleye and lots of lake trout. We suggest you put chains on before the big hill. There are some patches of slick patchy ice that unless you know where they are you could be in trouble. You can’t see it. It is really slick. “

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Haley reports, “ they are catching fish at Nelson and McGuire Creek at 15 to 25 feet depths. They are catching northern pike, lake trout and walleye jigging . Nelson and McGuire Creek have 12 inches. Flatlake has 11 inches. They are jigging there and catching lake trout. At 43 feet depths. Duck Creek has 8 inches of ice. I caught walleye and northern pike with a tip up. I am not hearing much good fishing at the dredge cuts right now.”

We can cover all your needs. 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 “ Good news, the lake finally capped over today and we should have fishable ice on the main lake shortly as long as the winds don’t blow too hard. Nelson creek and McQuire continue to produce good northerns and some big walleyes. We will be out testing the ice around the dam area in the next couple days and will keep everyone updated on our Facebook page of how things are going. Keep your fingers crossed ice season at the dam 2020 is about to get rolling.

If you have any questions please call us at 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

Cooney has ice 5 to 16 inches of ice and the entire lake is frozen. There is 10 plus inches at Marshall Cove. They have been catching some fish. People are saying fishing is slow. Fishing conditions are changing, and the ice is making some noise as it changes.

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 explains,” the ice is still there and over by the boat ramp people are fishing. They have been pulling out perch. At the edge of the dam the ice has pulled away some. We will have to see how this warm weather will change things so be careful. “

Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat

Pat reports,” there have been a couple fishermen out there. They have been fishing close to shore. Catching some trout some say. Broadview pond continues to have cars there. So must be catching something.”

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

Terry reports, “ Broadwater pond continues to have houses on it. There are 4 ice houses on it. Deadmans also has ice houses on it and there even was ice skaters on it. “

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

Judy reports,” people went ice fishing at Bair on Saturday and Sunday. They said catching was just slow. Then on Monday they caught their limit. One group got theirs in 3 hours. And another group of four did it in several hours. There is 10 to 12 inches of ice at Bair. They went home with 17 fish. I did hear Sutherland fishing was slow fishing . No news on Martinsdale 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

Colby reports , “ don’t forget about the Achley lake trout tournament on Saturday, January 25, 2020. It is for one-man teams. It is from 8 am to 4 pm You can sign up that day. It is $20.00 to fish the event.

Hanson- There is good ice at Hanson . There is 6 inches of thick ice. There is a decent bite.

Crooked Creek- We have not heard much about fishing at Crooked Creek.

Nelson- People have been saying Nelson Creek on the dry arm is doing really well for catching walleye. is good fishing. There is a good perch bite happening .

East Fork- On East Fork the fishermen tournament had a winning weight of ½ pound. There were 30 teams. So it was tough fishing for perch. “

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.

Slim reports, “ we have good ice. There is 15 to 18 inches anywhere you fish. We have quite a few people here. It has been busy around here. Fishing with tip-ups have been slow. The jig bite is excellent. They are catching walleye, northern pike, and crappie. They have been nice size. I would call them decent catches. The road is rough as it is snow packed. If you are pulling something, I suggest you chain up at the CMR sign. Drive slow. ”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports, “ the lions club has canceled the Lions Perch Derby ice fishing tournament that was scheduled for January 25th and 26th. The hope is that we will have a fund raiser in February to gain funds for all of the projects they do in the year, so watch for that announcement. The decision was made because of the unstable ice and the effect a large quantity of people would make on it. The ice is good for small groups of people as it is 8 to 10 inches by Silos. At Broadwater Bay there is 8 inches. The trout fishing is excellent. Perch fishing is not as good. On the north end where you would find the perch deep the ice is not as good. ”

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, “The fishing on Nelson is good. The northern pike bite is on. People are catching some nice pike. The perch bite was slow. The walleye bite has been slow during the day but 30 minutes before dark it seems to come on. It definitely was more active, and people were jigging. . Nelson continues to have good ice at 10 to 12 inches. People have shacks on it and four wheelers are being used. People are using minnows. Some are spearing for northerns.

On Forchete there is 7 inches in the bay. ”

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

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt

At Crooked Creek people say fishing is good. They are 4 to 5 pounds, but it has slowed some.

Elmo-The fishing has been slow. I went and the ice was 5 inches thick. I was catching perch. It was good clear ice in front of the pier.

Cooney- At Cooney people are saying it was slow fishing. They were catching some rainbow trout. They are fishing for ling at night.

Tongue- At Tongue the guys it has been saying fishing was a mixed report . Some come back saying they are catching crappie and some little perch others not.

Sutherlan- I was told that at Sutherlan they were catching trout and ling.

Big Horn- I talked to a fellow who went spin casting and caught a few fish. He struggled with the weeds some. He did say he caught a nice brown.

Scheels Pond- I know some guys have caught some bass jigging using a wax worm. We did get minnows in today so if you need them you know you can get them here. We have been selling a lot of them. “

Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540

Rich says, “ The Jefferson, Gallatin and Madison rivers definitely are open now with no ice. It seems like they are closed on the weekends and open during the week with this weather.

At Canyon Ferry there is ice. Guys said in the bays east and west the ice is 8 to 10 inches. The main was 1 or less when they went a couple of days ago. I was told the tournament for this weekend is cancelled.”

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

On the Stillwater things have opened up because of the warmer weather. There is open water on the Yellowstone, but the edges are slippery . Try nymphing with a beadhead. You might see some hatches late in the afternoon. My shop is closed except by appointment now.

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

The Big Horn this week has been better fishing some fellows have said. The bite has improved. The water is clear.

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

Rick explains,” We have lots of people here today. I have 10 shuttles going out. The CFS is 3200 and people are definitely catching. The spawn is done. It was a nice count we think. They are catching some nice rainbows and some browns. Try a big scud, like size 14, 16 in orange. You can use a thin mint, a JJ, a dirty hippy, a Diety, a big horn special or the favorite wooly bugger. For Nymphs use a 16 or 18 soft tackle. For a midge they are hitting on the zebra midge. For dries try a sipper midge or a smoke jumper. ”

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

No further fishing report until Spring