Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 1.1.20
By angelamontana

Posted: January 1, 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.  

***Happy New Year  from the Montana Outdoor Radio Crew.  May you be surrounded by family and friends

This report has been written on Sunday and Monday because of the Christmas on Wednesday and will also be written on the same days next week because of New Years.  .***

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

Neal  reports, “ The whole  bay is frozen.  We have been out with friends ice fishing.  In checking  the depths we have found 5 inches in the bay.   Right now it is walk on.  We caught a northern pike.  It was 29 to 30 inches.  We got lots of misses.  They are hitting light. We are using 3 inch smelt.   ”

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 have quite a few people here.  The Marina is open for the weekend,    People have caught  crappie, perch, northern pike and walleye.  They are fishing mostly  around the marina and at Rattlesnake,  Rattlesnake  now has 6 to 12 inches of  ice.   The Marina ice is 8 to 10 inches.  They are using ATVs and putting huts on.  I want to remind 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 ,“ The Marina now is open on Saturday and Sunday 6:00 am to noon.  We will be open New Years and have something special to eat.  I have lots of minnows.  The guys are using ATVs, 4 wheelers and side by sides on the ice.  I am hearing that the average ice is 7 to 12 inches.  Out further it is 8 to 10 inches they say,    People have said they have caught  lots of crappie  and perch.  The northern pike are at 30 feet depths.  The walleye right now are suspended 4 to 8 feet but the bite is slow.   ”

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

Layne reports, ” we have some ice.  There is ice at Boy Scout, and someone caught 8 northern pike.  It is about 4 to 6 inches.  There is 2 inches by the boat ramp.  There is 1 inch at the Marina.  The north end is open.  The road is okay.  We suggest you put  chains on at the big hill.  “

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Eddie reports, “ there is no ice up here yet.  I did hear Nelson and McGuire Creek have 8 inches.   They are catching some pike and walleye.  It is decent fishing.  The walleye are at 10 to 20 feet.  The bite is definitely slower.“

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 “  Sounds like the dredge cuts have fishable ice but fishing has been spotty as of late.  The dry arm has been producing good numbers of fish in the bays where you can find good ice.  Duck Creek and the bays around the dam where you can find good ice.  Duck Creek and the bays around the dam had a skid of ice on them so things are starting to ice up.

Hopefully we will have fishable ice  in the very near future.  I will be providing updates on ice conditions in our Facebook page and if you have any questions please call us at 406-526-3442  Happy New Year’s everyone.  “

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 ,” we do have ice .  The entire lake is frozen.  There is  7 inches  I have been told at Marshall Cove.   There is still 2 inches of snow on the ice.  People are fishing but I have not heard how they did. The neighbors are still telling me that  the ice is making a lot of noise more than they have ever heard before.  It gets very loud as night falls and through the night so that may mean things are shifting a lot.  Use extreme caution.”

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

Mike Ruggles  tells me, “ I see people  with chairs and augers so the ice must be good depths.   The ice does look  good.  We are  seeing  guys out ice fishing.  They are mostly catching perch.  People need to use caution.

I did hear that the Big Horn has improved fishing wise.  They are catching a few fish.  It is definitely not hot and heavy.“

Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat

Pat reports,” we saw some fishermen out  on the ice the day before Christmas.  There is ice all the way out now.  We have not heard how thick it is.  ”

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

Terry reports, “ Some people looked at Martinsdale and did not think the ice was good enough yet.  It has been warm enough you just don’t know what is under the thin ice.  It is supposed to get colder so that will help  Ice.  “

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

Rick reports,” I am still hearing fishing out at Bair has been pretty  good.  There is 8 inches of ice.  The fishermen are catching trout. There have been people on  Sutherlin  fishing for ling during the day.  Someone caught a 2 pounder.  It has 8 inches of ice.   No news on Martinsdale.  ”

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 , “  there is good ice at  Hanson and at Carters pond .  There is  6 inches  of thick ice. They are catching rainbow trout on nightcrawlers and power bait.

On East Fork the fishermen are catching perch using maggots.

Spring Creek can still be fished.  It is open water.  They are using a panther martin or a  Mepps.

Achley is slow fishing right now.

I have heard Crooked Creek was good.  They are catching walleye and northern pike.  Most are using minnows and tip ups.  ”

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, “  fishing has been slow here.  There has been a walleye and northern pike.  Just not a fast bite.  We have had a lot of people  up here.   There is You can find ice from Nancy Russell Creek formally called Squaw Creek.  There is 12 inches of ice in the bay.  There were lots of 4 wheelers and side by sides out there.  People who brought snowmobiles have found it tough because the machines are overheating.  The road is rough but passable.”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports, “we now  have 6 to 8 inches of ice.  The bay has 6 inches. Going south there is 8 inches of ice.  The few people who have gone out have caught trout and small walleye using maggots and worms.  We have no snow right now.  Mark your calendar for the Lions Perch Derby ice fishing tournament on January 25th and 26th.  ”

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,  “I fished  Nelson for the last two days.  It continues to  have good  ice.  I was told that the ice varies from 22  to  24 inches  of ice at Nelson.  Some people have  had  shacks on it.  Four wheelers  are being used.  We caught 7 northern pike the first day and 3 the next day.  We caught some  walleye.  Many are using tip ups or jigging.  They are using minnows.  Some are spearing for northerns.

On Forchete there is 7 inches in the bay.  I  heard  big northern pike were being caught this week.”

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

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt

Jayce  reports, “ Fishing has been decent in some places through the ice at Cooney .  Cooney I was told has 8 to 9   inches in some places.  The guys have caught multiple perch and little walleyes.

At Crooked Creek people are catching  northern pike on minnows. They do say there is not a lot of action.

On the Yellowstone River going south they have caught ling .  You just have to be able to avoid the ice chunks.  They were using minnows.

I heard at Tongue the guys are catching lots of crappie and some little perch at Rattlesnake.

I was told that Canyon Ferry has just barely froze up.

I also heard going north to Forshette the walleye fishing was pretty good.”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “  The Jefferson,  Gallatin and Madison  rivers  definitely now has  ice chunks floating and ice on the edges.   It has been really cold here.

Harrison has 5 inches of ice on Thursday.

I was told at Canyon Ferry there is 5 inches  at the dikes toward south end.  He said out 150 yards  there is only 2 inches of ice.

I have heard there is some 9 inches of nice ice at Crooked Creek for fishing.   Someone went Thursday and Friday and fished towards Anderson .  They caught some small walleye and a 15-pound northern pike.  ”

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

Chris reports,”  on the Stillwater you will  be seeing less slush if you fish because of the . There is  open water on the Yellowstone, but  the edges are slippery . You can  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

Beau says, “ the  fishing  on the Big Horn  is about the same. Fishing was pretty good.  The water is now clear.   Use a streamer as it is working okay.  In a few spots  orange scuds and midge larva nymphs were working.  The  pseudo patterns should work around   noon.    You  are catching rainbows. Most of the time.  Please stay off the reds as they are out there. “

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

I had two reports this week that said  fishing is good   good this week.  The water is now clear.  Fishermen are seeing  baetes.  Look for them around 3- mile  between noon and three o’clock .  When it is  overcast and cloudy use streamers.  Please pay attention to where you are standing when you fish as you may be standing on reds. .   Please don’t stand on the  reds. ”

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