Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 2.5.20
By angelamontana

Posted: February 6, 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, “ fishing was pretty good this weekend. The pike are turning on. 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 north side in the main lake 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. The ice pulling is pulling away from the shore. Be careful when you get on the ice as the edges 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

Spencer reports, ” it is 4 below right now. We got 6 to 8 inches of snow here and in Sheridan. This weekend it was it was busy when it was 60 degrees. It brought the people out. We did have rain which made the ice slick. People were using 4×4’s and side by sides. I talked to some people on Thursday and they were catching enough perch. People said they were catching hand size crappie at night but not during the day. The ice is 12 to 14 inches of ice. There is some open water below the dam. 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 not open this weekend because our son had a wrestling tournament. People have reported It was a little better weekend of fishing until the snow came. Some said they caught some perch. 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

There is 6 inches in the main. . Boy Scout has 10 to 12 inches. People are catching northern pike and there is 9 to 10 inches in the bay. They are using 4 wheelers. It has been cold. They are picking up some walleye but not big ones. Consider putting chains on before the big hill. There are some patches of 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 ½ inches of ice all over as far as a half mile to Duck Creek. There is 9 to 12 inches in the bay. . People are catching lake trout at depths of 30 to 60 feet depths. They are catching eater size fish mostly using minnows. For lakers they have been jigging. We did not get snow like you did. They are running ATV’s, side by side and snow mobiles. The fishing has been good. They also are catching walleye, northern pike. The 48-hour Fort Peck ice fishing Tournament is on March 6th, 7th and 8th. It is almost full at this time. 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 “ Here are the ice conditions.-We are still seeing 7-9 inches on the main lake points with some better ice back in the bays. Pressure ridges have been a big concern with the warm weather we had last week. I know of one four-wheeler that went through a pressure ridge so please use extreme caution around pressure ridges and check ice as you go into new areas.

Walleyes-anglers have been finding fish in 8-20 feet of water on main lake points. Minnows on tip-ups and jigging spoons with minnow heads still seem to be the most effective. If you are not seeing fish move until you find them. Lots of holes and moving around will keep you on fish.

Northerns- anglers have been having the best luck in 18 to 26 feet of water on top-ups with minnows or smelt and jigging big spoons as well.

Lake Trout-anglers have been finding fish from 25-85 feet of water. Big jigging spoons, buck tail jigs, and jigs with big plastics have been working the best.

Again please be safe and check the ice as you go. Have a great week everyone.

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

According to the phone message there is 4 inches to 16 inches of ice depending on where you are on the ice. There is curling of ice in places along the edges in places. There have been some changes in the ice so pay attention to conditions.

A report from a fishermen reports they have been catching some fish but not consistently. They are saying fishing is slow. Fishing conditions are changing people have suggested so be very 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 no one out ice fishing. People have many concerns about its safety. There is 30 yards of open water on the south end. We haven’t seen anyone out fishing since late last week. There are places where there is maybe one inch of ice and it looks like ice but there is nothing under it.”

Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat

Tony reports,” it appears that Deadman’s is partially frozen. In some places the color has altered . It is questionable of its condition.. It is also covered with 4 to 5 inches of snow which makes it difficult to tell what is safely under it. The ice does look different and there is open water on the far side.”

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

Terry reports, “ Broadwater pond had fishermen on it earlier. People have taken some of their equipment off. The weather has been warming so anyone ice fishing should check for changes. “­­­­­

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

Rick reports,” one group that fished Bair on the weekend said the fishing was slow. Everyone caught a few. The snow thawed and soon there was an inch of water on the ice. There is 10 to 12 inches of ice at Bair. I heard nothing on Sutherland this week. On Martinsdale this week I heard there is some open water there. ”

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 , “ at East Fork- On East Fork they were catching small perch. The perch caught were 6 to 8 inches. It is a good place to take the kids. They were using smelt. People caught a few northern pike here or there.

Nelson Creek – If I wanted to fly fish, I would say head to Nelson Creek on the dry arm as it is fishing well. It has been okay fishing.

Hanson Creek Dam- People are catching rainbows. It is another good place to take kids.

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 always go to Spring Creek. You can usually get some fish there.

On Achley I heard someone had another muskie on. You can always catch trout there and they are nice size. “

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 had a flood here because the Missouri up above opened up and it filled the bay. We were scrambling to get people’s stuff off the ice. Some people are coming back today to get their stuff today. People are on the ice but what I tell people I am not going to come or not come but I will say things are changing. If the Musselshell warms up it could be game over for ice fishing. We will just have to see what happens. The ice is 18 inches when I drilled in the bay. There is 2 to 3 inches of honeycomb on top now. The road id good , the best I have seen in a long time. It is bare and it is like driving on the highway. If you come you will see mud on top of the ice and the sun does hit it up. I would suggest you call to see if conditions have changed when you are coming. IF ANYONE HAS A CABIN RENTED PLEASE CALL ME IMMEDIATELY. ”

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 Broadwater Bay toward Pond 4 to fish. It is getting soft. I will say don’t cross the lake or across the ice. Some of the ice is getting funky. Call to get the funky ice information. They are mostly catching trout as you cannot get on the ice where the perch are deep. 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

Mindy reports, “The fishing on Nelson is still okay. It has been good and has not changed with the weather. Minnows seem to be the bait of choice. People are catching some nice pike. They are jigging for perch . It is slow during the day but comes on right before dark. It is more active then. The ice is at 10 to 12 inches. Guys have shacks on it and four wheelers are being used. Minnows have been working. Some are spearing for northern.

On Forchette there is 7 inches in the bay. No 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. The people I talked to caught a lot of rainbow trout through the ice. There is still quite a bit of ice.

Georgetown- People have been catching rainbow trout one foot off the bottom. Four fishermen caught 20 fish in an afternoon.

Dry Arm-Bug Creek- One group caught a lot of northern pike on minnows with top-ups at Bug Creek.

Big Horn- Lots of locals heading to the Big Horn. They are saying the fishing is slow. One person I talked to caught 2 to 3 fish a day. People have been buying sow bugs and zebra midges. The walleye that were caught on the river were nice size.

Rock Creek- The guys who headed to Rock Creek by Joliet went fly fishing and were catching browns.

Yellowstone- People say it was open at Duck Creek and they were catching ling at night. You have to really check because conditions may change daily.

Scheels Pond- It has been quiet down at the pond. You can see that the ice is slowly leaving.

With the warm weather be careful no matter where you go fishing. “

Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540

Rich says, “ The Jefferson and Madison rivers are 80 % full of floating ice.

The Jefferson still appears frozen.

At Canyon Ferry people say there is 12 inches of ice. People are telling me that it gets a lot thinner. They are catching trout. No one was brave enough to go out where the perch would be. When they were out there the wind was so strong one 4 wheeler went off by itself. They had to stake everything down. ”

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

On the Stillwater things have opened up because of the warmer weather. There is some open water on the Yellowstone . 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, “one of my guys went fishing on the Big Horn this week. He said the nymphing was fairly good at 3 mile. The morning fishing was not as good. Streamers were working okay. He said the darker fly the better. He was wading and floating. 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

Rick explains,” we had some good and bad weather 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. If it is cloudy try streamers. 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. Try Nymphs in a 16 or 18 soft tackle.”

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