Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 7.8.20
By angelamontana

Posted: July 9, 2020

COMPILED BY Carol Henckel

Summer is upon us and that can bring unusual weather and sudden changes in weather temperatures, wind and water mean everyone needs to be vigilant when being outside. Outdoor enthusiasts including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes. Surprise storms of 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 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.

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports,” We had a busy week at Tongue, the weekend especially . The water at Tongue is clear and 73 degrees. The water is high, but it has dropped a little. There were a lot of recreation boaters out as well as fishermen. The bass bite has been pretty good. They are catching some walleye and some northern pike. I never heard of any crappies being caught. The walleye bite has slowed down.

Our office is now open. The phase II which is in effect means people still have to social distance . We also ask people to read or review the rules of the park. We are having many new people here who are unaware of the way the park works. ”

Tongue River Marina 1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg, Payton

Payton reports, “ it was a busy weekend with a lot of people here. People did fish off the deck and they caught mostly small bass. Fishermen are using cranks and having luck with bright colors. Bright pink, green and blue were the success colors. The bass are biting on flicker shads as well. Guys were catching pike especially at campers’ point. I only heard of a crappie caught here or there. we are seeing mostly bass being caught. The bass seem to be everywhere around structures at 15 feet or shallower depths. “

Our hours are Monday to Thursday 8-5, Friday Saturday 6 to 9 and Sunday 7 to 5.

Rock Creek Marina- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt /1-406-230-1283 for Linda & Neil Marina number is 1-406-485-2560

Monty reports,” we had lots of people this week It was really great. The walleye bite is still on. They seem to be at 30-foot depths with worms or leeches bottom bouncing. Fishermen were also catching northern pike. They are heading toward the Dry Arm by Sand Aurora . At depths of 25 feet. People had a wonderful time. “

Come on up here the fishing is great. Stop in the Marina and we can tell you about how the fishing is. We do ask people to limit the number of people in the Marina for social distancing. “

To make reservations for the 2020 summer, please call Monty at 406-465-0241.

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

Layne reports, ” the bite has been decent. It has been a good walleye bite. It is starting and guys are going east to Crooked Creeks for them. People are bottom bouncing using leeches and crawlers. The fishing for northern pike is doing really well. Depths are at 10 feet using cranks. A few bass are being caught on both cranks and bottom bouncers. We had a decent 4th not as busy as the week before. People seemed to enjoy themselves and that is what counts. The main lake water is at 72 degrees. “

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

Justin reports, “ people are catching lake trout jigging or using downriggers at 80 to 100 feet depths. The walleye bite has been a little tougher. Only a few have been caught and they are using a crawler or leech. The walleye are at 8 to 30 feet depths using cranks. The northern pike bite is closer to shore and at 8 to 15 feet depths.

We have Jumbo suckers, shiners, fatheads’ minnows, smelt and herring. We still have a few dates open for guiding. ”

Our hours are 7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday.

Fort Peck Marina Jessica & Scott Collinsworth 1-406-565-6283

Scott reports “ walleye fishing- Walleye fishing has again been fairly spotty this week. The weather patterns have definitely been affecting things. With the stable weather coming at us we should see the bite picking back up. We have been pulling cranks in 15-18 feet of water for best results. Guys have also been pulling crawlers and leeches from 10 to 30 feet catching some eater sized fish. We are also starting to see a good hard bait bite. Walleye nation creation Ripp’n glydes along with silver minnows have been really picking up them. With tournament week here everyone is pretty tight lipped, so the reports haven’t been as good as normal. Good luck to everyone fishing this weekend.

Northern Pike –Fishing has been fairly steady. For smaller pike in the 3 to 8-pound range but the good news is the bigger fish are showing up and we are starting to see some good sized northern. Cranks in 15-25 feet of water has been our best presentation along with crawler harnesses and leeches. Jigs have also been working very well for big fish.

Small mouth- Fishing rock piles in the backs of the bays and on main lake points has been producing some great smallies. Throwing cranks and swimbaits brings the best results. They have also been seeing some good action on leeches.

Water temps have been between 68 to 74 degrees.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Good luck to all anglers fishing the Montana Governor’s Cup along with everyone just enjoying your weekend. “

The bar and restaurant hours are as follows: open 7 days a week. Monday to Thursday 11am to 9 pm, Friday 11am to 10 pm. Saturday and Sunday 8am to 10 pm. Please be aware we are practicing social distancing.

The tackle store is open 7 days a week as well. Monday through Thursday 7 to 9, Friday through Sunday 6 to 10.

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana

James(Slim), Carri Craig, Rick 406-429-2999

Carri says, “ we were really busy this week. We had a big storm on Saturday. The storm had 75 mph winds. We had a couple of boats that got caught in that storm. One had been beached and Slim went out and found him. Everyone needs to pay attention to the weather for changes.

Fishing has been good. They have been catching everything. We have seen bass, walleye, crappie, cats and northern pike. People are doing really well. They are jigging, bottom bouncing, pulling plugs. Everything is working right now. One fellow caught over 40 fish pulling plugs. Some people are fishing deep at 10 to 12 feet and others were going real deep at 25 feet. All colors are working as well. All flavors are working. Someone caught a 3- inch walleye by Nancy Russell Creek The water temperature is 70 to 71 degrees. It has been busy this week. We have seen lots of boats out every day and today we are supposed to get a bad storm around 5 pm. So things may change again. ”

Our hours are 7 to 7 now 7 days a week. I am so looking forward to seeing everyone. Please just remember social distancing.

Hardware Hanks- Kolin Mahan/ David 654-1712

Open 7:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturday/ 11am to 3 pm Sunday

Kayla reports, “ Kolin has been at Forchette all week fishing. I joined him for the weekend. He was having a lot fun catching walleye using bottom bouncers. The crappie fishing is real good right now. You can’t keep them off the line. We caught 18 to 22-inch walleye. Someone got a 9 ½ pound walleye and a 17- pound northern pike. They seemed to like the color blue.

I talked to a family that went to Nelson. They said fishing was good. They caught mostly little walleye in the 18 to 20-inch range. ”

Fort Peck has been fishing well people say in some places.”

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson, Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “With heavy boat traffic and rain, the reservoir is murky. Water temperature remains in the mid to upper 60s. The moss is beginning to appear in the shallow waters. The overall water level of the reservoir is going down. The walleye and perch are really going after leaches right now. A 1/8th oz orange jig head with a leach have worked well this week. People that fished by the dam had success with jig raps. Some groups that fished from shore had luck catching trout with worms and powerbait.“

Please pack in and pack out your garbage. With the larger number of visitors we have less garbage receptacles to put your debris . We want everyone to see a clean campground, so please pack your garbage out. Remember your dogs are welcome but, do not forget your leash. “

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob says , “ I was gone over the weekend but Lake Elmo, but others said it was really busy. The warm weather is driving people to enjoy recreating there. Day use is really up and by mid-morning Elmo is full of swimmers, paddle boards and small boats. Lots of families are using it. The Fishermen are catching fish in the early morning.

The FWP office is open. We ask people to please use distancing as you recreate.

I spent some time on the East Boulder this weekend. My friend and I found it tough fishing. It was really hard to wade. I tried hoppers and later used an attractor. My friend got some bites throwing a lure in the swift water. He had only seconds to see if something would bite. It definitely was strange that it worked. ”

The flooding situations are still causing problems at some fishing access points. They continue to be walk in only. Some places it is because of the mud factor. The FWP properties along the Yellowstone River west of Billings that are closed to all, but walk-in traffic includes Grey Bear west of Big Timber, Bratten and Indian Fort west of Reed Point, Buffalo Mirage at Park City and Duck Creek southwest of Billings. On the lower Stillwater River, access roads to the White Bird and Swinging Bridge fishing access sites are covered with water and people may enter the properties only on foot. Along the Yellowstone River east of Billings, the Gritty Stone, Voyagers Rest and Bundy Bridge fishing access sites are under water and closed to all but walk-in traffic. The Captain Clark Fishing Access at Pompey’s Pillar is closed.

Deadmans Tony and Pat Stefani

Pat reports,” there were a lot of people here this week. Some days the campsites were full. The sites were full. There were lots of boats out there. I just don’t know if they caught anything. Please be respectful as you use the area.

Broadview pond still has been really busy. There have been lots of boats as well as shore fishermen.”

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

Terry reports, “ not much talk of fishing this week. I have heard more people talking about recreational boating. The only two people who mentioned going fishing drove to several places and they were so full of fishermen they left and finally ended up at Broadview pond where they caught 3 fish. Every other place was just too crowded. ”

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

Rick reports, “ things were slow fishing this weekend. On Bair and Sutherlan a few got their limits and of course there were some who went home with no fish. A few got some from shore. At Martinsdale people said it was really slow.”

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

John reports , “ we closed for the weekend so our people could enjoy the holiday.

Achley- Achley has been on the slow side for tiger muskeye.

Hanson Dam- Fishing at Hanson Dam is about the same. They were catching trout using a Panther Martins or a night crawler.

Spring Creek- Spring Creek has been doing well. It has cleared Try a Mepps or a Panther Martin as those are working.

Missouri River- The Missouri River is muddy, and the fishermen are catching some nice cats right now.“

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports,” we were busy this past week, actually very busy. The fishing was good this week. There were a lot of recreational boats on the water. The water temperature is 70 degrees. They were finding fish in the middle of the lake. A fair number of walleye were caught. The walleye they are catching are in the 16 to 18-inch size. ”

Stop in at the shop or call 266-3100 and I will give you any information you need.”

The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.

The Flamingo is now open. Come and enjoy the new food menu and some of the old favorites.

Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540 Rich

Jeanine says, “ Rich is off fishing, so I am in the shop. I talked to one person who was heading back to Forchette as he had run out of bait and was doing well. One fellow had been at Crooked Creek and done well using worms. He said they were biting on a lot of things. ”

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

Donna says, “ the upper Yellowstone has improved. Fish to Columbus has color as of Tuesday but above Columbus is better. The tributaries are kicking in some color. The Yellowstone still is high.

The Stillwater is great. It is clear. I fished it and it did well. Try a Jack Cabe, a Yellow Sally in a #14 or a Purple Haze. I would say throw a big fly like a Salmon Fly #6. I was using a Jack Cabe and I caught some nice fish. Many of the guys are floating and fishing from Nye to Cliff Swallow.”

The Boulder this past week was fishable. In talking to one person the area was really full of fishermen and he said the water was very high. It was hard to get close to fish. He tried using the girdle bug pattern and had a little success.

Need a guide? We are taking appointments for guiding now. “

Remember FWP has given notice of flooding so that can be a problem getting access at some of the fishing access sites. Look to their site to see which ones are affected.

Montana Adventures and Angling Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports,” the tributaries are blown out right now. The water is definitely up. It is definitely not wadable. The Missouri is fishing well. It is cloudy water. We are seeing a good bite. There are PMD’s and caddis hatching. Try a dry fly or nymphing. Both fishing is good using top water or fishing below. People are catching lots of fish. It is good from the dam to Dearborn right now. We used streamers on days this week that it was overcast and raining. They worked well. “

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

Colleen explains,” The water is up to a CFS of 4050 today. This past week they have been fluctuating the flow. It has been up as high as 5,000 this past week and the plan is to continue dropping more than what it is today. So water conditions are changing, and the clarity is also changing as they do that. The water temperature is 45 degrees. With the fluctuating water levels we are seeing no hatches and probably won’t see some because of changing levels right now. The Upper three is where the guides are finding the best fishing right now. The lower three are definitely muddy right now. Fishing has been fair on nymphs. Not great numbers caught but big ones. Right now dry fly fishing is spotty. All camping has opened up. The baetes and midge hatch is over. Olka Bay is open. You can use a soft gray Ray, Zebra midges, flashback quilt nymph or orange and pink scuds. Nice rainbows and browns are being caught. The After Bay and all access points are open.

Our lodge is open so you can stay with us. We would love to have you go fishing here and we are making sure to follow the procedures to keep people safe. Our shuttle service is available. Call and talk to the shop to get information you need.“

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 6-9-2020

Tom reports,”Madison River Outfitters Fishing Report for July 7th, 2020


Upper Madison: The Madison has been rockin’ and you can find just about all of our

good hatches going on right now. The dry fly fishing has been fantastic. PMDs,

Caddis, Salmonflies, Goldens and Yellow Sallies are all out and about and fish are

looking up for all of them. We had a bit of a cold front this past week that put a pause

of the salmonflies for a few days, so they are just now starting to show up in the

wade section. The nymph bite has been quite good as well, but with how excellent

the dry fly fishing has been, it’s hard to put that indicator on.

Flies: #8-10 Sili-legs, #12-14 Biot Golden Stone, #14-16 Frenchie, #14-16 Red

Neck, #14-16 Lake Prince, #16 Olive Hot Spot Perdigon, #16 HoloPoint, #16 Olive

Biot pupa, #16 Shop Vac, #16 Olive S.H. Hare’s Ear, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16

Parawullf, #16 Shop Vac, #14-18 X-Caddis, #16 Parachute PMD, #16 Tilt Wing

PMD, #16 PMD Cripple, #10 Hot Cake Salmonlfly, #8-12 Razorback Salmonfly, #8

Supafly Salmonfly, #14 Full-Tilt Sally

Hebgen: Hebgen has been a little hit or miss this past week. There have been a fair

number of Callibaetis in the Madison Arm and scattered around the main lake, but

the fish eating them have been pretty sporadic which makes targeting them difficult.

Chironomid and callibaetis nymphs under an indicator or as a dropper is still going to

be the best way to boat fish for the time being.

Flies: #12 O.S. Opal/Red Buzzer, #14 Black/Red Nugget, #14-16 Flashback PT, #16

Parachute Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Cripple, #16 Callibaetis Spinner, #14-16

Parachute Adams

Gallatin: The Gallatin is still just a touch high and a little green below Big Sky, but the

water above Taylor Fork is looking great! There should be a decent amount of

surface activity and like the Madison you should be prepared to see salmonflies,

goldens, caddis, PMDs and Yellow Sallies on any given afternoon. The Salmonflies

have pretty much worked their way through the canyon at this point and were pretty

prevalent around 320 Ranch yesterday afternoon. If you aren’t seeing bugs,

nymphing will do the trick or you can always throw around your attractor pattern of

choice and expect to pick up a few fish.

Yellowstone National Park

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: We are really close to these rivers coming into shape. We

have had a report or two that Slough by the campground has become fishable and

Drakes have been coming off. The Lamar is running pretty clear, but is still probably

too high and cold to fish well. Slough is always the first of these three to clear so this

will be your best bet, but Lamar and Soda Butte shouldn’t be too far behind and may

be fishable by the end of the week.