Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 2.12.20
By angelamontana

Posted: February 13, 2020
report compiled by Carol Henckel

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.

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 a very busy weekend. Some nice pike were caught. A lake trout was caught that was about 32 inches. With the lake trout you do well if you find their hole. I heard at Little Bug they found good pike fishing. They even caught lake trout. They even caught lake trout on the other side. People were fishing around our area going north and in the bay. There is 12 to 15 inches of ice in our bay. On the main channel there is 12 to 15 inches of ice. Going south east there is 6 inches of ice. It is super hard ice. People were using smelt for bait. They are using 4×4 ‘s and side by sides. We had someone go through, but he was close to the edge, right by the shore. Be careful when you get on the ice as the edges or points are getting soft. There are a few small pressure ridges starting. The road is a little rough.”

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, ” One fisherman caught a very nice walleye at Rattlesnake. People were using 4×4’s and side by sides. Trucks are not recommended. I talked to some people on Thursday and they were catching pike and perch. They said the crappie bite was okay. The people say the fish are deep. The ice is 12 to 16 inches of ice. 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 explained, “ we were open Saturday. There were nice fish caught. Someone caught a 11-pound walleye, a 11-pound northern pike and also an 8-pound northern pike. They caught multiple crappies. People have reported It was better fishing . Some said they caught some perch and they were decent size. They were jigging with minnows”

The Marina is open on Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 am to noon.

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

At the tournament the big catch was 37 pounds. The biggest walleye was 3 pounds. There is 6 inches in the main. . Boy Scout has 10 to 12 inches. People are catching lots of northern pike. The walleye have been 14 to 20 inches. Only an occasional 30 incher. I think the barometer has made the fish finicky. There is 9 to 10 inches in the bay. They are using 4 wheelers. It has been cold.

I have spent quite a bit of time pulling people’s 4 wheelers out of the water. I even ended up pulling an ice castle out. The ice is alright but pay attention to ice with water on it. Pay attention when you are riding around especially at night. I pull more stuff out when the ice is thick because pay less attention. Alcohol also increases the risk of not being careful.

Consider putting chains on before the big hill. There is some slick patchy ice.

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Haley reports, “ there is 8 inches out the bay about 2 miles. . There is 11 to 12 inches in the bay. . People are catching some nice lake trout at depths of 35 to 60 feet depths. They are catching eater size fish mostly using minnows. For lakers they have been jigging. We had some wind at 40 mph so that blew the snow away. Dome people caught some big walleyes others got good eaters. The pike has been 12 to 15 pounds. I did not see or hear of anyone with limits. They are running ATV’s, side by side and snow mobiles. The fishing has been good.

The 48-hour Fort Peck ice fishing Tournament is on March 6th, 7th and 8th. It is full at this time. If you want to get on the waiting list. You can put your name in, and we will not collect any money until there is an opening and we let you know. Call or use the application form on our site.”

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 “ ice conditions.-We have been building ice slowly all week. Most areas have between 9 and 12 inches but still be extremely careful around pressure ridges and anywhere underwater structure comes up to the ice. These areas hold heat and make for thinner areas that can’t be seen.

Walleyes fishing- The bite is picking up for good eater size walleye with a few big mixed in. Tip-ups and jig tipped with minnows have worked well along with spoons and minnows heads. Fish are still scattered between 8=22 feet.

Pike fishing- Fishing has remained pretty consistent for northerns. The best bite has been from 16-24 feet. Tip-ups with smelt and live sucker minnows have been the best but decent numbers have been coming jigging spoons and minnow heads as well.

Lake Trout-Fishing has been getting better for lakers. Best bite has been in 35-90 feet of water close to good steep breaks and feeding tables. Jigging big spoons and tube jigs have produced consistent catches. I have a great selection of cotton jigs in 1 ounce and 1 ½ ounce and 1 ½ ounce that are working great for lakes.

Again please check ice as you go and be safe everyone. Give us a call 406-526-3442 or stop by the tackle store for some great deals on fishing gear. Also remember the bar and restaurant are open Thursday through Monday if you need a cold beer or a hot meal coming off the ice. Have a great week. “

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia, Jake

Marina says,” the big news this week is that people have been catching some giant ling fishing during the day by the dam. There is 4 inches to 16 inches of ice depending on where you are on the ice. The dam has 16 inches of ice. There is snow on the ice but the wind has really been blowing it around today so there is drifting happening. There have been some changes in the ice so pay attention to conditions. The park roads are plowed but the wind can make drifts so make sure you bring a shovel and winter supplies. Please be careful. “

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 reports, “there is pretty much no ice fishing at Elmo right now. A third of the lake is open and another third is unsafe to get on. I have seen a few people go out drill a hole and they pack up in a half hour. I talked to one fishermen and he drilled a hole used his camera and saw no fish marked. He packed up and left after a very short time. We did have one guy yesterday who fished from the pier into the open water there. It is open 40 to 50 yards out. Fishing wise I would say it is bad to worse. ”

Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat

Pat reports,” we have not seen anyone here this week. We had a couple of days where we had big winds. One day we had a true blizzard. I could not see my neighbor’s house. It lasted a long time. We got three inches of snow. Broadview pond has had a large number of people there so fishing must be pretty good.”

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

Terry reports, “ I had some guys who went to Bair. They caught 15 or so fish. They kept seven . Some were pretty small. Broadwater pond had fishermen on it. There is some water on it. So fishing must be successful there. “­­­­­

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

Rick reports,” I fished Bair on the weekend and got one fish. the fishing was slow. Some people went out and they got 3 fish in 4 hours. The snow thawed and soon there was an inch of water on the ice. There is 18 inches of ice at Bair. I heard nothing on Sutherland 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 , “ I did not here much conversation on fishing this week.

East Fork- On East Fork they were catching small perch. The perch caught were about 8 inches. It is a good place to take the kids if they can handle the cold. They were using smelt. People caught a few northern pike here or there.

Nelson Creek – I would say head to Nelson Creek on the dry arm as it is fishing well for the fly fisherman.

Hanson Creek Dam- People are catching some rainbows. Kids would enjoy fishing there right now.

Petrolia- I heard from someone who went to Petrolia and caught some perch. It was sporadic, one day it was good, and another was slow.

Spring Creek- You can usually get some fish at Spring Creek. “

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, “ people are on the ice, but most are going toward the main channel because they have been leery of the double layer of ice that developed because of the flooding. If you come you will see mud and flood debris on top of the ice. They have been catching bigger walleye out there. Fishing has picked up. People have caught their limits. The bay water has started to clear up. ”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports,” If you go fishing on the ice you need to be careful. Most people are fishing on the shore here. You can fish from Silos going south. There is 5 inches of snow. I will say don’t cross the lake or across the ice. Some of the ice is getting funky. They are mostly catching trout. There are some pressure ridges out there, so I suggest you stop to find out any new information. No matter where you are be careful.”

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 has slowed as the weather has not made it easy to do or people are just not going out there this week. Minnows seem to be the bait of choice. People were catching some nice pike. They are jigging for perch . The ice is at 10 to 12 inches. Maybe people will go out when it warms up this weekend. Minnows have been working. Some are spearing for northern.

On Forchette we have not heard any word how they are doing. ”

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

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt

Jayce reports he has heard, “ people going to Bair Reservoir have said it was consistent fishing. The people I talked to catch a lot of nice size rainbow trout through the ice.

Big Horn- I talked to some fishermen heading to the Big Horn. They are saying the fishing is a little better. Each person I talked to caught 6 fish in the day. People have been buying sow bugs and zebra midges.

Scheels Pond- People have caught a few large mouth on the ice. You can see that the ice is slowly leaving. Be really careful.

Nelson-I heard of a big northern being caught. The fishing for perch some have told me is good. Someone caught a 5-pound walleye. Another caught a big 9-pound walleye.

Cooney-I have heard it was slow fishing. There is lots of snow on the ice.

Martinsdale- I was told that Martinsdale is starting to open up.

Crooked Creek-I heard a little. The ones that went said the bite is good. I did hear they were catching lake trout at the dam.

Tongue- People fishing the tongue. It has been good for northerns and a few large walleye.“

Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540

Rich says, “ I have heard that they are catching some nice trout at Canyon Ferry. They tell me they did not catch any perch. At Canyon Ferry people say there is 12 inches of ice. People are telling me that it gets a lot thinner. Some told me they were Leary to go out at times.

The Madison river is full of floating ice.

The Jefferson still appears frozen. ”

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

On the Stillwater and the Yellowstone are changing with the temperature . Try nymphing with a bead head. Some have seen midges 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, “ fishing on the Big Horn I heard was okay. He said the nymphing was fairly good at 3 mile. The mornings were not as good. Midges were working okay. He said the darker fly the better. It was decent fishing with a nymph in a scud pattern in orange and pink.”

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

Stephanie explains,” fishing has been okay this week. The CFS is 3200 and people are definitely catching. It is better nymphing . Some people are seeing midges in the afternoon. Use a juju when you see baetes. Try a smoke jumper or a sipper midge. Some nice rainbows and some browns have been caught. Try a big orange scud, in size 14, 16. You can use a thin mint, a JJ, a dirty hippy, a Diety, a big horn special or the favorite wooly bugger. “

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