Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 8.20.20
By angelamontana

Posted: August 20, 2020

Summer is winding down  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.

**The Fire danger has increased throughout the central part of the state.  Please use care as you drive on tall grass.  Be careful with cigarettes & check often to see if there are fire restrictions mandated by FWP as you camp in beautiful Montana.

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

 The water has been 76 degrees  and  the water  is going down some.  There was  still water in the Frog Pond last week.  Lots of bass have been caught and also some catfish.  Many recreationalists are using the water.  The fishermen  were fewer.  The bite for them has been  good.

Just a reminder if you recreate on a paddle board  you must wear a life jacket.  Our office is now open. The phase II  which is in effect means people still have to social distance .  We ask when you  leave the camp  as you found it.

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

Wade  reports , “ bass fishing was  phenomenal right now.  Fishing the structures are working well. Leaches were working last week.  They have been slaying the bass right now.  People are catching some nice fish right now.  Someone caught a nice  walleye , an 8 ½ pounder and  on a night crawler with a spinner.  They were at 9 feet depths on the south end.  The crappie bite is hit and miss right now.  They are trolling for pike going 3 to 5 miles per hour and using worms and cranking.    They are bouncing worms on the bottom for crappies.  The water is dropping quite a bit and is muddy or mossy in some places and clear in other spots.  “

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

Heywood III reports,”  a lot of trout are catching fish in the areas where people have been catching northern pike this week.  They are heading north to catch them.  Fishing for walleye  has been good.  They have been catching quite a bit.  They are finding them heading southwest going 30 to 40 feet deep.  The pike bite is really good.  It has really turned on.  They are fishing for them going north of the marina heading south.  I saw one guy who had caught nine in one trip out. The pike are moving deeper to find cooler water. .  Someone caught another salmon.  That is the second one caught this summer.   “

 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, please call Monty at 406-465-0241.

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

  Clint  reports” the  northern pike have gone shallow  like 4 to 5 feet deep.   We are seeing nice size was like 26 to 28 size this week.  They have been going west to find them.  They are continuing to bite well  right now. The  guys  are cranking .  The walleye are a tough bite right now.  Not much caught in eater size.  The walleye are either real small or real big.  Nothing in between. They are at 30 feet depths.   It is not a hot bite.    The bass have been scattered. They are either  finding them near sunken islands under water.  They seem to be shallow or deep.  They have found them in rock piles near Timber Creek.

We have changed our hours at the marina.  We are open from 7 to 5 on weekdays and 7 to 6 on weekends.    Please be aware of the  fire hazard right now  and people need to be careful and stay aware of that.

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

Wendi  reports, “   the salmon bite is slow and steady .  It is just starting to pick up a little.  They are catching them on flies and squids. The new state record was caught up her and it was 32. 5 pounds by Greg Houg of Bismarck, North Dakota.    Walleye  are  being caught going west.  They are finding them deep at 25 to 35 feet depths.  The northern pike you can catch just about anywhere these days. “

We have super  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  been very hit or miss with reports of some fish getting  caught along weed edges but most of the fish have been coming on main lake points out around 25 to 30 feet.

Northern Pike –Fishing has  slowed up a bit this week a little with some fish still  being caught around the weed beds. Throwing cranks or spoons or trolling cranks has been the best tactic. We are also starting to hear reports of northerns getting caught by guys jigging and trolling for lakers, so they are definitely heading for deeper areas of the lake.

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

Lake trout- Lake trout fishing  has been a little tougher with these hot temps but vertical jigging big swimbaits and trolling spoons in 115 to 135 feet seem to be the best.   Vertical gigging big swimbaits and trolling spoons in 100 to 110 feet seems to be best. Anglers that are willing to take their time and find lake trout before fishing them are being very  successful.

Salmon- A new Montana State record was caught by North Dakota state angler Greg Hauge but unfortunately fishing remains very slow.  The good news is that  the fish are coming in are definitely worth catching.  Anglers are targeting them from 60 to 115 feet with flashers and squid, flies, brads, cut plugs or apex spoons.  Right now it’s a patience game but we have seen a bunch of four-year-old fish so far between 22 and 30 pounds.  We have weighed a bunch of salmon this week around 25 to 27 pounds.  Hopefully we will start seeing better numbers of fish in the next few weeks.

Water temps  have been  between 68 to 76 degrees. “

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.

Stop in the tackle store for up to date info on fishing along with all the gear you will need to catch any species of fish in Fort Peck Lake.  We are here to help put  you  guys  on  fish.  We are  open 7 days a week as well.  Monday through Thursday 7 to 9, Friday through Sunday 6 to 10.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Good luck on the water.

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

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

Carri says, “ we had an incredible  Crooked Creek fishing tournament this weekend.  We had 58 teams  fishing it.  The quantity of fish caught was unbelievable.  The winners were a father daughter team, Cierra Colby  Louden with 97.3 pounds of walleye total.  They had 44.86 walleye the first day and 52.44 the second day.  Many of the people were using cranks and going to 30 to 40 feet down.  No one would say what exactly they were using.  Many were heading between Lost Creek and 7 Blackfeet.   The winning big pike was 42 inches.  Pike fishing is still really slow.  Lots of crappies  have been caught.  People are also catching drums, perch and some small mouth.  The big fish are still biting.

I want to thank everyone who came to fish the tournament for their support.  I also want to thank those who helped as sponsors or by helping run the tournament.   So many gave up their free time to set up and work long hours through the days.  You are wonderful and we really appreciate all of you.  “

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

Kolin reports, “  the water at Nelson has gone down.  You can still   put in at the Headgates. Fish Nelson  early in the morning and late in the day as that is when people are doing the best.  You need to go deep.    The water temperature has gone up.  People are bottom bouncing  with a night crawler.  Fish at depths of 10 to 15 feet very  early in the morning.  As the day goes on,  they are going  deeper 20 to 30 feet depths.  You might want to  use something  heavier. Try a jig  for walleye  when they are deeper.  People are finding the pike  bite slow. There is some algae now. “

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “The reservoir is going down quickly, water temperatures have stayed in the low 70s. The best reports this week were on the perch bite. There seemed to be good numbers and good size. Bottom bouncers with floating jigs tipped with a leach or worm was producing good fish. The walleye have been hard to find, with the warm water.   Try deeper rocky outcroppings. Orange and red rip n glides or a crawfish pattern Rapala have caught fish. Remember if you are catching and releasing practice quick handling of your fish.

The pump is down in the Red Lodge Campground  so that means the Fish Cleaning Station is not working. “ We do not know when it will be working again.

A few reminders for all of us to remember. Please pack in and  pack out your garbage. With the larger number of visitors we have less garbage receptacles to put your debris in . We want everyone to see a clean campground.  Be aware that there is no mooring of your boat  to any no wake buoy as it is illegal. Remember your dogs are welcome but, do not forget your leash. “

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says , “  there are lots of people enjoying Lake  Elmo.  Because of the warm temperature fishing is bust early and late in the day.   You often see  kayaks, and canoes out there.  Lots of  swimmers out there. The work on the beach is  completed .  The wall is wonderful, and people are definitely using that area again.

FWP is asking for comments on the stabilization  to happen in the cottonwood campground. It is open for comment for 30 days.  You  can find it on  the website.

We are asking everyone  to please pay attention to how dry the land is.  FWP has put out fire restrictions  on fishing access sites.  Please be careful.”

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

 Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat reports,”  The lake has gone down.  We have many  recreational boaters out there. Fishing  slowed down.  Please camp in designated camping areas.  There is no camping allowed on the beach.   Pay attention to where you can drive, park or enjoy the area.  Please make sure you  put out fires in the fire rings.  The fire risk is very  high. “

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

 Terry reports, “  the heat is slowing down the bite .  I did hear from one guy who caught some eater size bass at Broadview Pond .  A few people bought worms, but I don’t know if they had success”

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

 Judy   reports, “ It has been so hot  fishing has been slow.   You have to fish really deep.  Some went shore  fishing and got a bite every once in a while. They watched people in boats, and they were definitely catching  fish, more than they were.  It is just too hot.  Both  Bair and Sutherland are fishing about the same.  Sutherlan is really dropping.  I did  hear that a nice salmon was caught at Newland. ”

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 , “ Not much fishing happening.  The heat is one of the reasons.

Spring Creek-  Fishing is good at Spring Creek.  The water is crystal  clear.  People are fly fishing and having good results.  The hopper bite is on.  I hear they are catching.    The spin fishermen are using panthers and catching fish as well.

Achley-  Lots of recreationalists are out on Achley.  It makes it impossible for  guys to fish. You can try  fishing  early and a late for fish.

Hanson-  Some trout have been caught I heard.

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Fishing Canyon Ferry  has been very  good.   I know some are not into catching trout but for those who like to trout fish it has been very  good.  I saw just this morning a   beautiful 4 to 5-pound trout. It was a fat one.

People caught lots of  walleye.  It definitely has been good fishing. It is good all over, but I have been sending people toward Confederate and Duck Creek.  They are going to depths of 20 to 25 feet going east.    Perch are beginning to come back.  I don’t know where they were hiding or where they went on vacation, but they are back.  People are catching.

We  are seeing  the blue green algae and it has increased with the warm temperatures.   We have been told it is dangerous for man and dogs to swim in.  The only place you can get in the water is where there is no algae for a long way. I don’t want to have get sick. They have put posters up with this warning.  “

Sharon says stop in at the shop or call 266-3100 and she  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

 People  who fished  Canyon Ferry say that fishing is  good.   They say the walleye are being caught everywhere.   People say they are catching  larger walleye.  Some were 15 to 18-inch  walleye.  Many  heading  to White Earth.

The rivers have lots of  moss and  are weedy.   Lots and lots of floaters out there recreating.  ”

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

Jasmine says, “ the Stillwater is still low but can be good at times. The upper Stillwater  is the best right now.  The trout are eating hoppers.  We have seen a tricot  hatch early in a morning.  We are still seeing some caddis.  It is only wade fishing.

On the Yellowstone the water is going down.  That means the speed has gone down so fishing has gotten better.  We are finding this is a good time for hoppers.  It is a hopper bite.    Use a mixed pot of hopper type flies.  The fish are interested now. I suggest you fish early in the morning and late in the day.  Try a Jake Cade or any hopper pattern in the 12-14 size.  Floating and wading  are both good.  You can drop a nymph and use a prince or spankers.  We  also  suggest the chubbies and  the pink pookie.  You could use a water walker.  You can dead drift as well.  If you try streamers try the Grinch or the electric goldfish.  The water is down some and clear and it has been good fishing.

 Please remember not to play the fish very long and get them back  into the water fast.

The Boulder is low, but you can still fish it in places. Head high if you fish the Boulder.  “

Need a guide? We are taking appointments for  guiding.

Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports,” I have been on the  the Big Horn and the Yellowstone this week. The Big Horn is fishing very well.  I was nymphing and using sow bugs. Try  Pheasant tails is fishing well.  We were seeing  black caddis  in the afternoon.  They are taking a few grasshopper  flies.

On the Yellowstone the bite is all grasshoppers.  The bite is not consistent.

Just remember the water gets pretty warm.  Remember to handle the  fish very little and get them back in the water quickly.  “

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

Rick   explains,”  It is really good fishing  The PMDs are tapering off.  The black caddis  has picked up.  That means dry fly fishing is better.  Nymph fishing is really good right now. Nymphing is good.  Try a hairs ear.  Wade fishing is good.  Streamers are working here and there.  Try the gray Ray, or orange scuds.  Quills are also working.   Dry flies work a couple  hours of the day. Try the  Dirty Hippie or Thin Mint when it is a cloudy day.

Water clarity is 5 to 6 feet.  The water is 57 degrees.  Wade fishing is really good.  Work the drop offs  to catch fish.  The fish are not keying in on hoppers at all.  This is the best fishing we have seen in two years.

 The river is open throughout and all fishing access’ sites on the big Horn are open.  We would love to have you come to fish.   “

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 8/18/20


Upper Madison: We are starting to see a few more natural hoppers finding their way into the river. This has led to noticeably more confident takes during this past week, though we will still have a fair amount of lookers and nippy fish. A hopper with an ant has been a great combo throughout the day, especially from about 11am on. Smaller hoppers in the size #10-12 range have been out-fishing larger patterns pretty consistently. A Holo Point or Perdigon dropper has also been a really consistent producer. As an added bonus, the nymph bite has been great for this time of year, although you can expect to pick up a good number of whitefish doing this.

Flies: #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #8-12 Tan and Pink Thunder Thighs, #16-18 Arrick’s Ant, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #16-18 Krystal Dip, #14-16 Green Machine, #14-18 Red Neck, #16 Olive Hot Spot Perdigon, #14 HoloPoint, #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Olive S.H. Hare’s Ear, #16 Shop Vac

Hebgen: The lake has been fishing well more days than not. Look for fish working to Callibaetis and Tricos until the wind picks up in the morning.

Flies: #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #16 Parachute Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Cripple, #16 Callibaetis Spinner, #20 Calf Wing Trico Spinner

Gallatin: Terrestrials and attractors have now pretty much become the name of the game on the Gallatin also. Like the Madison, a tungsten headed dropper will pick up some fish under a hopper or large attractor. It would still be worth taking a peek in the canyon stretch for spruce moths if you’re headed up that way.

Flies:  #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #12-14 And  Orange Spruce Moth, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #12-14 Lime Trude

Yellowstone National Park

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: After not being able to venture to the NE corner for the last few days due to the road between Norris and Mammoth being closed for a water main break, we are excited that the road has reopened and we can resume our fishing there. Not much has changed in the way of fishing. Bring your hoppers, ants, beetles and a few tungsten head droppers just in case.

Flies: #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #8-12 Tan and Pink Thunder Thighs, #14-16 Arrick’s Ant, #14 Royal Trude, #14 Holo Point, #12 Spanish Bullet