Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 9.20.17
By angelamontana

Posted: September 20, 2017

Fall is  on its way  and with it comes sudden changes in weather and  changes in  water and drought fire  conditions.  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.  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 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, “  Fishing has picked up.  I have seen the bite pick up for northerns, walleye and bass.  The fish seem to be moving  into more  shallow water. The water temperature is 64 degrees. Fishermen are going north and south and finding the 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 Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Spencer reports ,” It has been cold and windy here this week.  The number of fishermen have been down because of the weather. The people that have fished have told me it is slower fishing.  People have said it was hit and miss.  I have not heard any rave reviews.  We had about 12 boats on the weekend. I have heard and have seen crappie and bass being caught.  A few walleye here and there“


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

Greg  says,” Have not seen fishermen this week.  The bass  can still be caught  at the structures and  pitch   a spin bait.  I have not heard of any walleye being caught this week. “

My hours 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  reports,  “ the bass and northern pike are as shallow as 4 feet  and  as  deep as 30 feet down.   Guys are finding the pike   in the weeds and some guys are finding them eating the cisco  in 39 feet of water whike cranking.     Walleye   are scattered and harder to find.   Foe bass guys are jigging with a top bait for some luck. ”

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

Carrie says, “  It has been pretty   slow  fishing for salmon.  People have been getting one here and there.   The only place they are getting them is at the face of the dam.  The lake trout are still biting.  They are deep at 110 feet.  They are still catching lots of them.  Walleye fishing is slow. “

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 has been rainy this week. The fire restriction  Stage II will be dropped on Saturday.  We plan on removing the Marshall Cove Campground and the Red Lodge docks before the weekend  .  The water   is lowering quite a bit.   I have had people tell me they caught walleye at Overlook.     I also talked to   some people who caught   rainbow trout as well, “Glennis   explains.


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Fishermen   report,” People at Lake Elmo are still out fishing.  With the weather changing and the rain the number of fishermen were fewer this week.  “


Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Pat   says,” We had no fishermen this week.  Just did not see anyone.  The boss is pulling the dock on Thursday of this week as the water has dropped.  You can get a boat on with the ramp.  “


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

Terry says, “I talked to guys this week who said fishing on Martinsdale from shore was good this week.   The guys have done quite well.  The water cooled down and the fish seem to be more active.  The fish they caught were were 3 to 5 pounds.  The guys were  using colored marshmallows.  They seemed to like the green, yellow  and orange  color.  Some say that just a line with a marshmallow are working sometimes without the worm on.”


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

Judy   says, The weather was wet and snowy so no one went fishing this week.  Just to nasty to be out.”


Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Charlie   said, “  Spring Creek is fishing well.  The water is  clear.   Dries and nymphs  are working .  Pretty much any pattern is working.

Achley : Achley is pretty mossy.

On   the West end of Fort Peck  Crooked Creek  fishing  is working and they are catching some.  They are catching walleye.  With   the nights cooling off    the fishing  will  get  better.  They were using jigs and bottom bouncers  at varying depths. “


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

Carrie   says, “   We have had more hunters than fishermen this  week.  The only peron I know who went fishing did okay.  He pretty much caught a little of every thing.  He caught pike, walleye, crappie and perch.  The walleye bite has slowed down but the pike bite has picked up.

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

“ Sharon says,” lots of perch were caught this week even with the weather changes .   Fishing has been  good.    They are still catching  walleye as well.  They are mostly in the 12 to 16 inch size.  You can catch them from shore and from a boat.

The Flamingo is closed but we moved the sandwiches to the Marina and have a little deli there that we can serve people from.  “

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

Don  says,”    At Nelson the fish are good quality.  They seem to be coming up from the 30 foot depths and guys are finding them close to shore. Try a worm harness.  I did not get as many fish but I got 5 walleye, 6 perch and 1 northern pike.  The northern pike are not as many.  The water is lower than full pool.  You can use  the state park ramp and drive off of it.  The water is already higher than last  winter’s level. ”

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


Billings-Scheels John Cooper, Dan

Tanner  says ,” It has been pretty quiet for fishing because of hunting system.

The Yellowstone   is blown out I heard.  It had been good for cats.  It is starting to fish better  for sauger .

I hear the salmon on Fort Peck at the dam is slow right now.


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “I have seen no fishermen all week come here.  The weather did not help.  It was cold all week.  I do know FWP are doing their netting on Canyon Ferry right now.”


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

Chris reports,“  The  rain has changed the color on the  Stillwater. It was fishing well before this transition in weather.   We just must wait it out.   It is rising and is at normal flows right now.  The water is cooler today.  You can try throwing streamers.  Try a Grinch, a black wooly or a  blue wings.

On the Yellowstone, the water is not off color  today.  “


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

Beau says,”  The tricot hatch  is still going on  in the morning  Fishing is poor to fair.    Nymphing  is poor.  Streamers are working   better on cloudy days.  The water   has blown out at Soup Creek. ”


Steven Caldwell   guide,

Unable to contact

Steven says,” Put the nymphs away unless you go to the dam.  Try and throw dries.

Better yourself…throw at a rising fish .

And get to the Missouri to fish.

Try a fly that is dead drifted.  Drop it in.  Reach 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.   Heat exhaustion or heat stoke are bad and once you experience it can return easier. , Treat the fish  with care.  If they come unhooked before the net that’s a bonus!  Keep em wet.


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Steve  said ,” The  water  is supposed to go up   250 cfs today (Tuesday) and again another 250 cfs on Wednesday.  It should be at 3,700 by Wednesday night the Corp says.    There is grass and that will make the water sloppy with grass breaking up.  Fishing is   fair to poor.   There are tricots   hatching in the morning .

For   nymph fishing try it in the shallows.   You could try a  gray Ray Charles size 18,  soft tackle ,orange sow bug, zebra midge, black PT or San Juan worm.  Use a black caddis as it works.

Streamer fishing is tougher with the grass. You can try a vanilla wafer, a dirty hippy or a  pseudo spinner .  With the glows going up it will be tougher as the grass breaks up. ”

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,

Madison River

Recent cooler temperatures have fish looking for smaller caddis nymphs and blue winged olive

mayfly nymphs. Streamers have also been effective on the most wintery recent days.


Yellowstone  National Park

Make sure to get the latest road report before heading through a gate. Winter road conditions and road construction have limited access to certain areas of the park.

Higher elevation streams will fish well when the water is clear. Give it  a day or more since precipitation to go.  You should see some blue winged olives and maybe a few drake mackerel mayflies on the cloudy days. The Firehole has seen caddis and blue winged olive mayflies, water temperatures have cooled off with recent rain and snow. The Madison in the park is fishing well for both resident and migratory rainbow and brown trout with smaller streamers and classic soft hackle flies. Don’t forget your bear spray. The bears are on the move this season!