Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 4.22.2020
By angelamontana

Posted: April 23, 2020

Spring  is still here. The unusual weather and sudden changes in weather temperatures, ice conditions, wind  and  water mean everyone needs to be vigilant when being outside.   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)

HERE IS A PARTIAL PHASE 1 ORDER FROM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2020 FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION.

    TO: Montanans; all officers and agencies of the State of Montana

 FROM: Governor Steve Bullock DATE: April 22, 2020 RE: Directive implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 and providing guidance for the phased reopening of Montana and establishing conditions for Phase One

(HERE IS A FEW  EXCERPTS FROM THE GOVENERS PROCLAMATION TO OPEN OUTDOOR RECREATION)

             **April 26: o All vulnerable individuals should continue to follow the stay at home guidance. § Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents. § “Vulnerable Individuals” is defined as people over 65 years of age, people with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, or asthma, and people whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer or other conditions requiring such therapy. o All individuals, apart from members of a household, should:

  •  When in public (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others. § Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.

              ** Effective Monday, April 27: o Main Street and retail businesses can become operational with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained. § Businesses that reopen must adhere to the reopening guidelines for Phase One provided in Appendix A, attached. o Outdoor recreation can become operational if sites adhere to strict physical distancing between groups and exercise frequent sanitation protocols if public facilities are open. § Individuals and businesses engaged in outdoor recreation must adhere to the outdoor recreation guidelines for Phase One provided in Appendix A, attached. o Organized youth activities can consider becoming operational if physical distancing guidelines can be implemented. § Organized youth activities should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.

 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 couple of fishermen this week.  They caught walleye from a boat.  They said they got some eater size, but they did not keep them. We are still working on getting ready to open. I have cleaned all around and was lucky to have some help.  “

Monty  explains, ”I just spoke to the Army Corp and they said I can open up when I can. They feel our location with the peninsula makes social distancing very possible.  We will limit the number of people into the Marina for the 6-foot social distancing mandated and hope everyone will use common sense at that  time.  We are concerned about this problem but want people to be able to relax and fish.  We will be opening May 1st, 2020. We are excited  and looking forward to seeing our customers. ( information gathered as of 4-6-2020)

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 until we post it. “

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

 Spencer reports,” The water temperature as of this morning (Tuesday) is 43 degrees.  We were busy this weekend.  We had 30 boats out on the water.  Talking to a couple of fishermen we heard they were catching bass and a few walleye. The water level is staying level right now.”

  At this time there is no public access to  the FWP department building.  We are open for day use only right now.  The water level has definitely gone up. The playground is closed.  Our docks are not in.

We are telling people who call to make sure and check the county rules as well as the state government mandates. Please make the best decisions and do the social distancing that we need.  Highway 212 does have check points and we want to make sure you know that.  We ask you to do the right thing at this time.

  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.

 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

Stephanie explained, “ You can launch a boat from the ramps.  They put the dock in the other day.  Wade and Peyton caught a couple of bass below the dam. The water temperature has been in the mid 40;s when we checked. We are now open 8 to 5 right now.    There is only day use right now in the campground.

We are still discussing  when we will open,  we just have not decided the date yet.  We want to do it safely.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone again.

   We are still closed at this time. ”

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

  Clint reports, ” The Marina continues to be  closed right now.  Hoping that changes soon.  We saw four boats out there this week.   Each boat said they caught northern pike, lake trout and walleye.  The lake trout were decent size and a depths of 12 to 25 feet.  The northern pike fishing they said was really good at 10 feet depths.  .  A couple guys fished from the bank and they were distancing. The fishermen were mostly locals. We are hoping things will change soon so we can see our customers again.”

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

Millie reports, “ We have had a lot of wind this week.  Right now it is 25 to 30 mph.

Eddie says,”  fishing had been good  at Duck Creek, Bear and at the face of the dam.  We have seen some northern pike being caught.  They have caught some lake trout, but they have caught more walleye right now.  We went out and caught some nice walleye .  We caught a 28, 26, 25, 25 ¼ and a 24 incher and we were out for 2 hours.  The wind brings you in.  People caught the walleye from the banks and  with jigs.  They were in the shallows 6 to 10 feet deep. They are catching northern pike in the shallows with cranks using spoons.  The lake trout are deep, so they are pulling cranks either with spoons and pitching as well.  We have RV space available.”

 We are open.  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 “ we actually have some fishing going on, but it hasn’t been great yet.

Walleye fishing-Fishing has been slow with a few days producing more than others,  Fishing should pick up with some nicer weather coming next week.  Looks to be pitching jigs and plastic or jigs and a minnow at rocky shorelines are showing some action.

Pike fishing-Pike fishing will start getting really good back in the bays with warmer temps as well.  Smelt, fished on a bobber or on the bottom will put you on fish.  Also jigs with minnows/plastics are always a good bet as well.  Casting or trolling crank baits along those shallow weed lines and coasts will also be a good tactic.

The ramps in the dam are all useable right now except the marina ramp.  The Army Corp of Engineers is currently making repairs to the ramp to get rid of the big potholes in it.  The ramp will be back open very soon. If you guys make it out on the water, have some fun and good luck.  Great Spring fishing is just around the corner, not that anyone is ready to get out , and go fishing I’m sure.   Everyone is content to keep hanging around the house just chillin. LOL  Hope to see everyone at the lake soon.“

Stop in the bait store or give us a call 406-526-3442  for the most up to date reports and to let us help point you in the right direction for a great trip.  We have all the tackle and live bait to make your trip a successful one. “

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia, Jake

Jake reports, ”we now have no ice.  Cooney is open  only for day use here,  no camping.  Fisherman’s Point, Red Lodge Campground and Marshall Cove are open.    The ramp is open.  People from shore have caught some nice rainbow trout with light colored swim bait, Rapella and shad wraps. I am hearing that the walleye seem to be pre-spawn. Please remember to keep the distance of 6 feet from each other no matter where you are.”

  The water has been turned off now.   The electricity is also off except at Marshall Cove and Red Lodge campgrounds.  The docks are pulled. Remember, your dogs are welcome but don’t forget your leash. Please make sure your vehicle is being driven on the road.

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says,” Elmo has open water.   The parking lot  has lots of  cars. Many  families   have been  coming to fish probably to get a break from schooling at home.  The guys did stock some trout in Elmo the other day.

We continue to ask that you please remember to keep the distancing guidelines.   Wherever you are at Elmo you cannot be in larger groups than ten.  You can no longer fish from the pier because of the restrictions. The picnic areas should not be used as they are closed.

The Fishing Access Sites are open but there is no over night camping right now.

Bob reports, “Paddlefishing is the same as it was last week. We are awaiting the Governor’s decision on Friday to make a decision.  For those people asking about Paddlefishing, here is what we know as of Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Paddlefishing  below the Yellowstone and on the Missouri below Fort Peck dam has been postponed until April 24th, 2020 when the Governor makes another announcement in  regards to possible further closures.   The Paddlefishing above the dam from Fort Peck dam to Fort Benton where tags have been  drawn  will open on May 1st as the regulations say. At this point there are no changes in that area.

We still have our doors  locked .  We  have a few staff  working in the building. If you need a license you can get that online only. If you need a question answered call and we will try to help you.

Remember you need a new fishing license now as of March 1st and you can do it online.  ”

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Pat reports,” Deadmans has had quite a few boats this week. .   We had lots of  boats  fishing this week.   I haven’t heard what they were catching but  people are definitely coming here right now.  We had some shore fishermen as well.  We even had some people sunbathing and in lounge chairs enjoying the sunshine.   People were respectful of the rules and were spread out on the shore   ”

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

At this time the bar is still closed until May 5th, 2020 mandate.  . Unable to get a fishing report.

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

 Judy   reports, “ we  heard of a group  fishing at Martinsdale  this week and they said fishing was horrible to quote them.   Bair and Sutherlan still have ice although it is starting to go off but it still has a while to go.“

 Our bar is closed at this time. ”

 

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 Petrolia people are fishing. They are catching walleye.  We were catching mostly little ones that were males.  We were using plastics, jigging.  That worked better than minnows.

 East Fork, Casino and Hanson are still frozen.  It is starting to open on the edges.

Spring Creek- You can fish Spring Creek.  It is clear from the runoff.  People are mostly fly fishing.  I know a few kids have spin casted.

Achley- Achley is open from shore and for boat.  They caught a few rainbow trout. They are using lures and spin-a-lures.  Some are using the little Cleo.

Crooked Creek- I did hear a 44 inch and a 40 ½ inch northern pike were caught at Crooked Creek.  One fellow also caught some nice  catfish close to shore at nice.  “

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

The marina continues to be  NOT  open.  We are going to continue to be closed until  I am told it is safe and mandated, I can open.  The Corp informed me on April 4, 2020 that Crooked Creek is closed as they also saw too many people there.  They let me know they closed it and have it posted as well.  I have to hear from the Corp, despite the Governor’s order if I can open.  When I do here, I will need a week to get things up and running.  Slim reports, “

From other sources I have heard people  were fishing there this week and because of the small area there were  many people there. From one party I was told there were several campers there and distancing was not occurring.

 The marina will be closed so there will be no services like bait or fuel.    You will not be able to rent cabins.  I will let you know when things change, and I open.”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon reports,”  THE  COUNTY WILL CONTINUE TO BE REDOING THE PARKING LOT BY THE MAIN ROAD AND LAUNCH AREA .  THEY HOPE TO HAVE COMPETED THEIR WORK THIS FRIDAY. The water is low right now. You will be able to launch at the South ramp.  The south ramp has a deep drop off so if you have a double axial it would be difficult to use it.  At this point they did not close the  campground down because of the virus.  Call for information  at 406-266-3100.   Things may change so call Sharon before you come or for camping overnight. Please remember the 6-foot distance ruling when you come.

People have been on the water.  I have seen boats out there.  The trout fishing is still good.  The walleye are deep partly because they are spawning or are just done spawning.  We will have to wait and see if BOR changes there decision below as right now it is still in place.

The BOR sent a notice out  last evening 4-13-2020  It reads that

      Tiber-Tiber Marina is closed until mid-May unless it is re-evaluated earlier.

      Tiber is day use only.  No groups are allowed, and the bathrooms are closed.

       Fresno – Fresno  is day use only as well.  No groups are allowed, and the bathrooms are closed.

       Clark Canyon- Clark Canyon is also  day use only.  No groups are allowed, and the bathrooms are closed.”

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,  “ My shop is closed permanently .  The inventory will be sold off later.”

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce reports he has heard, “We are all waiting for word on the closure right now.

Cooney- I heard a few people caught some fish on Cooney from the bank.  They only got a few fish and they were walleye.

Yellowstone- People have been fishing on the Yellowstone close to Billings  and caught some small mouth. They were using a jig.

Yellowstone- I talked to some fellows who fished on the Yellowstone by Miles City and they were getting lots of walleyes.

Stillwater River- I heard fishing on the Stillwater was good. Guys were catching mostly brown  trout nymphing.

Big Horn-People can’t fish the Upper Big Horn right now.  Even the locals can’t.  It is closed because of the virus. People were trying to fish on the lower Big Horn right at the mouth of the Yellowstone but getting there is tricky.  The rest of the  Big Horn you can not get on.

Crooked Creek- I talked to some guys who fished off the bank and were catching northern pike.

Whatever you do protect our fishing by following the guidelines.  “

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “  my shop is still closed  because of the virus

 until further notice despite the Governor’s phase 1 order.

One fellow said they are still working on the parking lot and that the south ramp has such a deep drop off that he was afraid he would not be able to get his trailer back up. So he did not go fishing in a boat.  They hope to be done this Friday.

People are doing some fishing on the rivers now.

People fishing at the Gates of the Mountains by Holter. ”

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

According to the phone message the shop continues to be closed as of Tuesday April 21,2020 because of the virus awaiting any change from the Governor. You can email for booking trips or check on an already booked trips.

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

Beau says, “Fishing on the  Big Horn is not possible so  you can’t fish there now because of the roadblocks right now.  With the order from Governor Bullock we will have to see what the Indian police force decides to do as well as the agencies who made that decision. I did not go fishing this week. I have been busy with school and my kids.”

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

 As of Thursday, 4-23-2020  Rick explains,” We have heard no news from any of the agencies that closed the Big Horn so we remain closed despite the Governor’s new orders.With the orders, in regards to out of state residents, we  still  are being limited in people  coming into Montana to fish.  We are still severely restricted with doing guiding.  If things change I will let you know so it can be posted on the fishing report. “

Rick explains,” We continue to  be shut down.  Even the locals cannot fish.  We have been closed by the county health department, the State, the Feds and the Reservation with the tribal posts.  We are closed up from After Bay to three mile.  The campgrounds are closed as well.  If you try to come here,  there are roadblocks in several places,  and you will be asked to show ID and if you are not local and live there you will not be allowed through. This is tough on the businesses and guides and we wish it were different, but we are complying.

  Please stay safe.  Right now it is a wait and see what happens next. The Governor  will speak on Wednesday.  “

  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