Eastern Montana Fishing Report for the Week of 7.31.17
By angelamontana

Posted: August 3, 2017

Summer is   here and with it comes sudden changes in weather and  high   water.  Outdoor enthusiasts including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes.   Flooding can   happen    quickly so fishermen or fisherwomen need to   keep in touch with the weather service.  Some water depths are at high June levels so everyone should stay alert.    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 and precipitation including snow   can   come on in fierce strength very fast. 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-Bill 1-406-485-2560

Bill   reports, “   A couple of guys went out and got  a lot of walleye while they were here.  The walleye and northern pike bite has been good this week.  Cranks have worked well in 15 to 20 feet depths of  water.  Leeches are working.    Small mouth  bass are being found at rocky points and underwater cliffs.  Cranks are working at 15 to 20 feet depths. Water temperature on the surface is 74 degrees..

I fished at the dam the other day with Captain.  He caught a 28 pound lake trout.  The walleye bite was slow there that day and the  salmon  fishing is just starting to pick up. The Women’s tournament there last weekend had a winning team with 28.4 pounds.  It looked like everyone who placed  came our direction and caught fish.“

We are open 7 to 9 during the week and 7 to 11 on the weekend. We do have cabins for rent.  Services   are  available .


Tongue River Reservoir /Spencer

Staff  reports,” I have seen more bass  being caught this week.  Just a few northern pike, crappie and walleye  were caught people said.  They seem to be heading to the south end.  Fishermen need to go deeper because of the heat. Try a white spinner.   The water seems to still be fuller than normal for this time of year.  Hot  days makes   things   slower. The cleaning station is fixed and open.  “


Tongue River Marina  1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie /Warden Jordan Staley


Stephanie  says,”  the water temperature  up to 70. The water is going down some.  They are catching walleye, crappie and bass.  They are just not getting as many.   Fishing is just okay.  The cleaning station is finally open.   The bass  have been good size.

My hours for July are Monday through Thursday 8 to 6 pm.  Friday and Saturday the hours will be 8 to 8 pm in May.  Sunday will be 8 to 5 pm.”


Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Tyler 1-406- 557-2345  Marina Matheson-Park  personnel

Clint  says,   “  the walleye  have gone deeper.  They are at 18 to 25 feet deep and are staying in the points and slopes.  The pike are not as deep you find him at 14 to 16 deep in the points at the main bay.  If you can find the bass they are usually at the rocky points.  The main thing is you have to find them.  If you get into them then you really  do well but you first have to find them and that is a challenge.  Water temperature on the surface is 75 degrees.  A lot of the fishermen are heading east to get their fish.  ”

We are open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm now.  ­­­­­­­

The park manager for Hell Creek State Park is Marina Matheson.


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

Eddie says,   “guys are getting salmon now.  I have seen salmon caught that were 27, 28, 20 and 21 pounds.  It is slowly picking up.  They are using down riggers with brass and cut bait.  You can get lake trout anywhere and everywhere right now.  Using a canyon ball at depths of 60 t0 125 feet.  The water depth is 125 to 160 feet depths.  When we have taken people out they are all limiting out quickly in short order with their 3 a  piece.  The water surface temperature is still 73 degrees.   The northern pike are at depths of 40 feet.  The walleye bite is decent but scattered.  You find them at 24 to 28 feet depths with a crawler right now.  I have seen some nice bass caught.  One was 21 inches long. ”

We are doing   guided trips.  Check us out at Howes fishing.  We have 4 very qualified licensed  guides to serve you. We have a full line of bait, crawlers and minnows.

Our hours are now 7am to 7pm Sunday and Monday to Thursday.  Friday  and Saturday we are open 7 am to 7 pm.   ”


Cooney Reservoir -Glennis, Mark is the   game warden at Cooney.

“ It is definitely smoky.  The water is definitely warm.  The walleye and northern pike are hitting pretty well.  Fish in the early morning and late almost at sunset.  Try a mister twister.   If you fish during the day  you would be better off sitting on shore with a 6 pack of pop and enjoying the sights.  The Marshall Cove campground still has a few flooded spots which I can’t believe.  Usually by now they are clear, “  Glennis  says .


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob says,” There are people   catching fish.  The osprey  are active so there are fish out there.  In the last couple of weeks they did stock some more rainbows.

The Big Horn is the big news right now.  They are saying it will be going down 5,000 cfs daily.   They are taking the water down and are saying that by the end of the weekend it will be down to 3000 cfs.  They are starting to match inflow with outflow.  Taking the water from the bottom to the top of the lake.  That will change the temperature and make it come down a lot.  The water has just bbeen to hot so that will make the fish more active.  Strangely with the water being high the fishing has still been good.

I fished on Rock Creek last weekend and the water was uncomfortably high.  Wadding was difficult and not many places to do it right now.  It is running clear and cold real cold.  I did not catch anything.  ”


Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Pat  says,” Fishing is real slow. Not much action with fishing this week because of this heat.   The fish are way down real deep right now. The water is being let out.  We do have a beach  right now. You can use propane but  no fires in the rings  right now. ”


Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner Bar Lavina 406-636-22

Terry says, “ Not hearing of anyone going out.  It   has been real slow.  The heat has made the fishing lousy.  The fish are shading up like we all are.  If you try fishing do it in the early morning or  late in the day. ”


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

Judy says, “The hot heat is slowing   things down. People who went to Bair   said there was nothing spectacular  caught.  They only caught a few trout.   No word from anyone   on Martinsdale.“


Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Dale said, “Achley   Fishing is good  and successful  using spinners and cranks.  The fishermen are starting to catch tiger muskeye from the bank and from a boat. They are catching rainbows with night crawlers.

At Spring Creek fishing is good from the bank. It is crystal clear.  Bead head nymph fishing is good.

The ponds have   mossed up.

On Crooked Creek  use a wind sock or wind drift.  Use a worm harness at 20 feet.  People have been catching some nice walleye and northern pike.  Walleye have been a decent bite.  They have been scattered but try at 24 to 26 feet depths with a crawler.

On the Missouri the cats are being caught.  Find a deep hole and use a crawler.  “


Crooked Creek  Crooked Creek Marina  Craig and Abby James 406-429-2999

Carrie   says, “   Fishing has been steady this week.  Someone caught a 40 inch northern pike from shore.  People have been getting their limit.  We have seen fish at 27 ½ to 30 inches.  Cranks and bottom bouncers are working.  The worm bite is really good right now. They are catching good size eaters. Crappies are going crazy.  They are catching lots of them. The catfish bite is on.  Especially at night and at early morning using a worm or cut bait.   The smoke is a lot less  here.  The east side of the bay now is black and scorched.  There is no fire here.”


The Marina’s hours are Monday to Thursday 7 am to 7pm and Friday to Sunday 6am to 9pm

There  is  full service at the Marina with non-ethanol fuel, bait, minnows, worms, leaches and fishing lures.  We  also  have some rods and reels.  There  are cabins to rent. We hope to be open year round.


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

“ Fishing was again  really good  this week.  It is good all over.  Perch are being caught at 20 feet depths.  The have been catching some  really  nice perch.  Lots of them from the  boat.  The walleye fish they   are catching  are 14 to 18 inch size.  They are using bottom bouncers and crank“  Sharon  tells us.


There continues to be  an inspection station at the landing.  Every boat will be inspected   when they come out of the water.  It is halfway between the  landing and the highway.  The live well needs to be empty of water.  The plug needs to be removed   and the live well needs to be   wiped down.   We do have plenty of bait here. They are now setting up a water cleaning station up from the ramp.     The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.


West Side Sports Jim Mayer 1-406-654-1611

Mindy says,”   I heard from one fellow that fishing was really good  for walleye at Nelson.  He was using bottom bouncers with a worm at 20 feet. The fish are going deep. He limited out.

At Forchette people are catching some  small mouth.  The water temperature at the surface is 78 degrees. “

Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday


Billings-Scheels John Cooper, Dan

Jayce   says ,”

Yellowstone: The Yellowstone River close to Billings  is clear. Going East they are catching some bass and sauger.  Use a minnow imitation.  I hear by Columbus they are catching some nice browns.

Fort Peck At the dam people are saying they are cranking 144 feet deep and catching a ton of walleyes.  A lot were 20 inchers  at 4 feet depths.

Tongue-On Tongue:  I am hearing fishing is okay.  They are catching some smallmouth bass in the trees .

Yellowtail: One of our  guys who went to Yellowtail  got a bunch of small mouth.  They were using tubes and wacky worms  to catch them.  Sometimes the orange  colors are working well.

Cooney:   Cooney is slowing down some people are saying..  Still fishing  it early morning  and late evenings for the best chance of catching..

Tongue : Reports on Tongue is it is alright  fishing.  They are catching  large mouth and small mouth.  They are not going crazy.  I have heard nothing about crappies  being caught.  The guys were using plastic worms.

Boulder:  Guys are telling us that they are doing well fly fishing there.


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ I am hearing  Canyon Ferry   is pretty  good fishing.  They are catching rainbows, walleyes and some perch.

I hear Tiber is really good.   Use a bottom bouncer and worm for walleye   at 20 feet depth.  They are catching lots of eater size walleye .


Rivers: The rivers are low for this time of year.  All three rivers here are on Hoot own rules.  Fishing can only be done from early morning to 2 pm because of the low water and heat.  The Gallatin is the best of all three of them for fishing  I hear.  It is a little cooler they say.


Nelson:  Nelson  is fishing pretty  good.”


Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977

Bill  says,“both rivers  are fishing well.  The guides are able to float from Jeffrey’s landing  to white bird and some are going to Firemans  or Itch-Kep-Pe Park . Use large dries. For nymphing try a dropper.  Jack Cabe, PMX,   Chernobyl’s,, Grinch and hoppers. Some guys are running  black and olive together a foot a part on the line.  On the Yellowstone try  Copper John, a Pheasant Tails, Princes or a Batman. The Yellowstone is 7500 cfs and the Stillwater is at 1150 cfs in the lower section.  The Yellowstone has a slight tinge to it. The Stillwater is clearer.“


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

Beau says,”  On the Big Horn the fishing was better this week.    The water is about 6500 cfs.  You can see a shelf.  The tricot hatch  is dying off. The fish are still eating. The water is getting better.   The   water is   grassy and is very murky.  The water is 66 degrees.   I am using sow bugs size 18 in gray, pink and tan.  Use dries in tricot patterns as well. You can catch a few fish on  streamers. ”

Steven Caldwell   guide,

Steven says,” Dries: nymphs and streamers:

Put the nymphs away unless you go to the dam.  Take a chance and throw dries…fish are up and eating…eating like crazy…

Better yourself…throw at a rising fish this is the time.  PUT THE BOBBERS  away!

And get to the Missouri to fish.

The fly of the week is any fly that is dead drifted.  Drop it in.  Rreach cast, feed the line with no drag and set the hook and repeat.

And again get out early during the heat.  Make sure you stay hydrated.   If you feel strange,  get off the river.  Heat exhaustion or heat stoke are bad and once you experience it can return easier. Pay attention to your  body.  If you think it is hot so do the fish , treat them with care.  If they come unhooked before the net that’s a bonus!  Keep em wet.


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Stephanie  says ,” The good news is the water has gone down to 7000 cfs.  It is going down to 6500 cfs.  At 4 pm. The water is 65 degrees right now. The water is cooling minutely.  There is grass in the water.  There are seeing tricot hatching in the morning.  We are seeing Mahagony duns in mid morning.     The fishing is good.  Nymph fishing is working.  Try a Ray Charles, sunken tricot pattern or the sow bug or a black PT.

Streamer fishing is still good.  Use shinners as they are working.  Try a white fly or a thin mint or a dirty hippy.”

Our normal hours are we are closed Sunday and Monday. We   are open   9 am to 2 pm now Tuesday to Saturday.


Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone : Alice Owsley, fishing guide and outfitter 406-640-1698


Alice says,”   Madison below Quake Lake,

Still seeing fish eating caddis and PMD spinners in the morning.  Nocturnal stoneflies are still crawling around in the rocks. Hoppers have started down low in the Madison Valley and we should see them more active higher up stream in the next week.


Yellowstone  National Park

With all the rain in the last week, several high elevation rivers in Yellowstone have been blown out. When they are running clear, fish are eating PMDs, caddis and still a few Drakes around. Hoppers are also active on lower elevation rivers and moving up. Carry your bear spray and keep those fish in the water and happy!