Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 7.1.20
By angelamontana

Posted: July 2, 2020

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.

(report compiled by Carol Henckel)

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

 Raymond reports,” We had a normal week at  Tongue. The rain sent people home early on the weekend.   The water at Tongue is clear and 72 degrees. The water is still high,  but it has dropped a little. People say the bite has slowed down.  They are catching a lot of  bass,  and some northern pike.  I have only heard of a few crappies  being caught.  The walleye bite has slowed down.  They are saying the northern pike are at 8 to 10 feet in depth.  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, “ we are seeing mostly bass being caught.  I have heard of only a few walleye someone caught.  The bass  seem to be everywhere around structures  at 15 feet or shallower depths.  The pike seem to be close to the marina and bay.  Just about anything is working, a worm, minnows or leaches. The bass are biting on flicker shads  as well.  We are having the band Roy Buzzard and the Bones on Saturday night from 5 to 10 pm.  “

  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,” the weekend brought approximately 4 inches of rain.  It came in spirts. so the water is a little cloudy because of it.  People still caught walleye.  They seem to be at 30-foot depths and  the bite did slow a bit.   Fishermen were also catching bass and northern pike.  Both seemed to be at depths of 8 to 12 feet I was told.  Plastics were working.  Many people were using leaches and a worm harness for success.  People were not bottom bouncing or jigging right now.  We were very full, and many people were out fishing.  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  

  Clint reports, ” the bass and pike bite is on fire.  They are finding them  at 6 to 15 depths at secondary points.   They are jigging and bottom bouncing for them. We got 3 inches of rain this week and that seemed to slow down the bite.  Guys have been finding them shallow at 6 to 15 feet. The bite was a little tougher after the rain but as soon as the sun came out things improved a little.  People were going within 5 miles.  The main lake water is at 72 degrees.  People have been using bottom bouncers, mostly crawlers and some minnows. “

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

Eddie  reports, “ fishing has slowed this week. The walleye bite has been a little tougher.  People looking for lake trout are finding  the bite was really good.  They were jigging at 100 feet depths.  The walleye are  at 13 to 25 feet depths using cranks.  The number of walleye caught has  increased but they   are smaller  in size.  The northern pike bite is better and are at the same depths as the walleye.

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 the walleye fishing.   Last week, up until Friday, the bite was incredible but for the last 5 days it has been really slow.  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 water sized fish.

Northern Pike –Fishing has been fairly steady.  For smaller pike  in the 3 to 8-pound range you with also get a  few big fish in the mix. Cranks in 10-15 feet of water has been our best presentation along with crawler harnesses.

Small mouth- Fishing  rock piles in the backs of the bays has been producing some great smallies.  Throw cranks and swimbaits for best result.

Water temps  have been  between 68 to 74 degrees.

Hope everyone has a great  weekend and a safe Fourth of July. “

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 got lots of rain this week, 3 inches.  The road is dried out now.  We had a lot of people here this week.  People are doing really well jigging  on walleyes. Most people were jigging for them.  The water is clear despite the rain. People are fishing the mudline and going either 4 to 8 feet depths and also at 18 feet.  The fish are definitely changing depths.  Fishermen are catching  crappies.  The northern pike bite is  sporadic right now.  When they catch them, they are in the 5 to 16-pound range. They are out on the lake and not at the shoreline right now. The tails of the pike caught are real red.    The water temperature is 70 to 71 degrees.  It has been busy this week.  We have seen lots of boats out  every day.”

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

David reports, “  people have been doing really well at Nelson on walleye at times.  If you find the fish, you do well one day and the next day if you go back to that area you cannot find them again.  The trick is finding them.  If you do find them you catch fish.   Fishermen were using cranks and bottom bouncers.  Just use your favorites  and you will catch fish.

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

Kolin is at  Forchette right now.   The fishing is really good.  They have been catching them hand over fist.  One boy caught a nice northern pike off the dock using a mepps.  The pike have been active and in the range of 8 to 10-pound range.  You can’t not catch crappie right now.  You can’t keep them off the line.  My nephew caught a really nice big northern pike.  For walleye use a butterfly blade slow death or smiley blades.  People are saying for colors it is all over the board.  It seems to be brilliant, bright colors that are working.    With some rain the road is a little torn up going in so take your time.  Expect it to take a little longer but it is worth the trip.”

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “This week we again saw heavy boat traffic on the water. Temperatures were in the mid to upper 60s. The trout bite seemed slow this week. The perch are biting on worms or leaches. I saw a couple perch this week that were just under a pound. Walleye fishing is starting to get a little more difficult. Their seeing a lot of fishing pressure. Try mornings or even night fishing to avoid the recreational boaters. The weed beds are growing good and are good locations to target fish. Leaches with slip bobbers or Rapalas worked for the groups that did catch fish. “

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

 A source says , “Lake Elmo has been extremely busy.  Day use is up and  by mid-morning  is full of swimmers, paddle boards and small boats.  Lots of  families  are having fun.  The Fishermen seem to be coming very early in the morning and late evening. They say they  are catching fish. The lake is full.  You can see the river is  way up.  The FWP  office is open.  We ask  people to   please use distancing as  you  recreate.”

 The flooding situations are still causing problems at some fishing access points.  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,” we had lots of rain.  It rained Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  People are saying  fishermen are catching some salmon and trout.  Our campgrounds were really  full this weekend.  We had lots of campers. People are enjoying the outdoors.  The water is up. We had lots of boaters.  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, “ I have been hearing of people giving up on the Basin because no one seems to be catching anything.  I talked to guys who were headed to Deadmans, but I only heard of a few fish caught .  People were using worms and split shot.

 People have been fishing at  Broadview Pond. That place seems to have less people coming. I think the fishing is lighting up less there.  I do see the rivers are running higher.  ”

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

 Rick   reports, “ I have not talked to anyone who has been catching their limits.  On Bair they are catching some fish.     I did not hear anything on  Sutherlan and on Martinsdale one group fished ;and for fishing for several hours caught one fish. They had lots of wind they said. We did get an inch and a half of rain so that can slow things down as well. . The catch is slow,  and  you have to work for them .  The bite is better in the boat right now.  ”

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 , “  people have been  getting out fishing. We have been busy.

Hanson Dam- Fishing at Hanson  people say is about the same. They were catching  trout this week. Panther Martins are definitely working. The water is off color right now.

Spring Creek- Spring Creek is not  clear right now because of the rain.   I suspect it will be clear by the weekend if we get no more rain.  The caddis are starting.  The guys are catching rainbows and browns.   When  spin casting, try a Panther Martin.

Achley- People are still catching a few  tiger muskeye.  Use herring as that is working.

Nelson Reservoir- Nelson is good fishing.  They were catching walleye and pike trolling cranks at shallow depths.

Missouri River-  Fishermen are catching cats on the  Missouri River right now.“

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon reports,” Fishing has been good  this week.  The water temperature is 70 degrees.  They are finding fish  both going south and  to the middle of the lake.  The fishing is good everywhere.   The walleye they are catching are in the 16 to 18-inch size.  They are going to the south end, to both shores really pretty much all over.  Lots of trout caught  if you head to Pond 1.  The fishing has returned  to the normal we see at this time of year.  The water is clearer as the wind has moved what algae there was around.     The lake is up.   The  debris we were seeing is only towards  the mouth of the river right now.

The Sunrise Canyon Ferry Walleye Tournament held last week  had low numbers of catches as there was some wind and weather. Saturday showed some decent numbers, but Sunday was a  tougher bite.”

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

Rich says, “   I  heard  the Canyon Ferry  tournament had a winner with around 21 pounds.  Sunday was poor fishing I was told.  I am hearing guys are catching more  walleye and trout.  The water has warmed up.

I talked to someone who went to Nelson Reservoir and did really well for walleye.

Some guys came in and said they headed to Fresno and did well on walleye.  The walleye were 5 to 15 inchers.  They also caught quite a few norther pike  with the biggest one being 27 inches.

The rivers are  clearing  up and you are seeing  people fishing them.  ”

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

Jasmine says, “ with two days of rain both the Stillwater and the Yellowstone are muddy.  The Yellowstone was high but even with the rain it did come down to what it was last week which is weird. It still is too muddy to fish.

The Stillwater is up a little,  but I hope for it to be clearer by the weekend.  It should be decent fishing then.   Try a nymph, not a big one.  They are working but not consistently yet.  I suggest you go to the upper river where it should be  clearer.

The Boulder was fishable this week.    Use the girdle bug pattern for success.  Some said that there were stone flies and salmon flies and they were thick.  Use a yellow sally for good results.

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 at 1100  so it is definitely up.  It is definitely not wadable. The Missouri is fishing well.  It is cloudy water.   It has been 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.  We have caught some nice fish.   “

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

Hale explains,”  The water is scheduled to go up late today or tomorrow to a  CFS of 4000.  That will help improve the algae that has started.  It should flush the algae a long way down stream. We had a good rain.  Fishing has been fair on nymphs.  Not great numbers caught but big ones.    Right now  dry fly fishing is spotty.  Nymphing is good right now.   All camping has opened up.  The baetes and midge  hatch is almost 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. There is moss developing below 6 mile.    The After Bay  and all access points are open.

Our lodge is open so you can stay with us.  Come and go fishing.   Our shuttle service is available. Call and talk to the shops to get the information.“

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,”

West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 6/23/20


Upper Madison: It’s an exciting time of year for the Madison! The nymphing has been dynamite and the river is about ready to come alive with all of our big hatches in the coming days and weeks. We have been hearing rumblings of Salmonflies down near Ennis and we have started seeing caddis and PMDs in good numbers as well. The fish have started to be more surface oriented so caddis, PMDs and attractor patterns are all good options. Flows coming out of Hebgen have been cut significantly over the last few days as the dam folks do their seemingly annual tradition of scrambling to fill the lake by the end of June, but fishing will be fantastic in the coming weeks regardless.

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

Hebgen: The fishing on Hebgen has been staying consistent and should only continue to get better if the weather cooperates this week. Chironomid nymphs under an indicator is still going to be most productive, but there have been a few Callibaetis starting to show themselves in the Madison Arm.

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

Gallatin: The Gallatin spiked a bit again with the rainy weather this past week, so nymphing and streamers in slower, softer water near the banks will continue to be your best bet. We are supposed to get more rain this week that could dirty things up, especially below Taylor Fork, but as the river drops keep an eye out for Salmonflies to start popping here as well.

Yellowstone National Park

Firehole/Gibbon: The Firehole is starting to warm up and this may be our last week of fishing in there. If you are headed there, I would try to stay up in the cooler water above Midway. Look for PMDs and White Millers and as always, swinging soft hackles is a good option. We have heard some positive reports coming from the Gibbon. Look for PMDs above the falls and it could be worth prospecting below the falls with a smaller golden stone pattern or chubby.

Flies: #16 Parachute PMD, #16 Tilt Wing PMD, #16 PMD Cripple, #14 Tan Elk Hair Caddis, #14 Tan/Olive Diving Caddis, #12 Partridge & Green, #12 Partridge & Peacock, #14 Partridge & PT

Madison: Though they have mostly run their course in the park, we have still been getting a few fish to come up and look at a Salmonfly. It’s worth a shot if you’re looking for something different to try on this side of the park.

Flies: #10 Hot Cake Salmonlfly, #8-12 Razorback Salmonfly, #8 Supafly Salmonfly

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: The water is still running a little high in the NE corner, but we aren’t too far out from these rivers clearing up. While you won’t find rising fish up there yet, you could probably pick up a fish or two fishing some heavy nymphs or streamers if you’re heading that way. Slough may be your best bet as it is usually the first of these three to clear up.