Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 9.5.17
By angelamontana

Posted: September 6, 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, “  The bite for walleye and northern pike is slow.  Right now you just have to work more for them. I saw one boat have some good luck.  He got 6 to 8  20 inch walleye.  He found then  at 30 to 45  feet depths.  Bottom bouncers  worked for him with a worm.  A few small mouth  bass have been caught around the  marina.  If you find them they can be big “

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

The staff  laughingly reports ,”  It  is a holiday (Labor Day)  and the fish are all on a break.”  In truth,  Spencer reports  that, “  with the fires and the smoke the  visitors have been down   some but fishermen are catching some good  size bass.  They also have found  crappie.  Someone did catch a northern that was 40 inches.  The water is turning over again right now.  “


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

Wade  says,” fishing  has been decent.  People are catching lots of crappies.  I did see a 40 inch   pike that was caught this weekend.  It was 13. 5 pounds.  A real nice one.  We had a 6 year old  who caught a nice 3 ½ pound walleye.  The bass  have been good size.  The bass are at the structures and  pitch   a spin bait.  I think  the minnow bite is starting to come on. again .  To catch a few walleye try  trolling 3 mph at depths of 10 to 15 feet depths using a crank.  Crappies seem to  have gone deeper to 10 to 30 feet.  Trail a tube jig letting it suspend above the bottom to catch them.“

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

Lane  reports,   “ Walleye  fishing  has been pretty good.  Fishermen  are finding them right in  Hell Creek at depths of 15 to 25 feet .  A bottom bouncer with a night crawler is working.  Some guys are doing pretty well for pike.   Try a crank in the shallows.  The bass bite has been really good.  Some guys  are really hammering  them.  They are going to depths of 15 to 25 foot depths.  Look for them  in the rocky points.  I am seeing people get  their limits  and they are 4 ½ to 5 pound average in size.”

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,   “The  salmon  bite picked up a little this week.  .  The size has been  anywhere from 3 to 28 pounds.  Right now they seem to be close to the Marina in more shallow then normal.  Guys are using bait cuts and flashers.  No particular color is working better than others. The walleye bite is not so great.   Lake trout are being  found in depths of 95 to 120 feet  if you find them.”

We are still 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.

“   As of September 5th the fire restriction is Stage II.   Be aware of the dry conditions and  stay on established roads.  The reservoir is fairly full   People have been catching some  rainbow trout.  The water is  turning again. There is some algae along the edges.  It  is better fishing like an hour before dusk..  The walleye and northern pike bite is slow.  “  Sources  say .


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

People  say,” Stillwater County will go to  Stage II fire restriction on Thursday, September 7th.   Make sure you monitor  the fire  restrictions and be careful when you are out.  Fishing is still   good.  The smoke is changing the  number of people coming out  but actually today it has cleared nicely.   The fish are deep.  Corn is bringing  good results..  “


Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Pat  says,” As a reminder there are envelopes in the campgrounds to pay your camping and visiting fees.  We have been told that someone in a blue pickup was charging  $6.00 a car   to head to the campgrounds and area.  You are to only use the FWP envelopes to pay. 

Fishing  again was  slow this week.    Smoke is definitely a factor.  Remember  that we are in fire  Stage II .    We actually had someone  start a fire in a fire ring.  There are no fires allowed.    The  shore fishermen  are catching  a few trout. The water is going down at times.  “


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

Terry says, “ I  heard fishing at the Basin  is real slow from a boat.  I did hear that some guys found  some fish, rainbows,  at Martinsdale from shore.  They were using a walleye crappie rig.  The streams have gone down.”


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

Rick  says, “  The streams I am hearing are doing really well.  Flies are really bring success.   I heard a few bait fishermen getting something as wel.  People say the bite during the day is slow but it is better  in the early morning and late in the day. “


Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Charlie  said, “   The river fishing this week has been slow.   Spring Creek fishing is still definitely  good.  The water is  clear.  Standard lures and flies are working .   Try using the immersion method as it  is   working.  Nymph fishing  with a  bead head is  bringing success.

Achley  : The tiger muskeye  have gone  deeper.    They are trolling  at 20 to 25  feet and  at 2 and a half miles per hour using a rapela..

On Crooked Creek   try fishing at 20 to 25 feet depths.  Use a worm harness.   Walleye and northern pike are being caught.  Fishing seems to be okay people say.  “


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

Abby   says, “   It  has been great fishing.  The big fish seem to be heading toward the Missouri. . Go to depths of 8  to 20 feet depths.   The fish  that are being caught seem to be everywhere.  Use a bottom bouncer or cranks with a worm harness.  People are catching just about everything like , walleye, pike perch. and  crappie.  “

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,” Fishing has slowed but pretty much because there were fewer people out.  The smoke has been heavier.  They are catching   12 to 16 inch walleye.  The perch bite this week has been really , really good.

Trout fishing was  good.  I have been sending people to the east side toward Confederate and Duck Creek.  “

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

Jim says,” I have not heard a word about Forchette.  No one seems to be fishing  there this week.

Nelson’s water is still going up.  People are  catching fish on leeches so look for something that imitates them as leeches are going to be harder to find now.  The walleye fishing is good.   G to 14 to 22 feet depths using a worm.”

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


Billings-Scheels John Cooper, Dan

Matt Cowen   says ,”I have not heard any specific reports since people just got back from the labor day weekend last night.   I can say fishing is now heading into autumn .  The water temperature is finally cooling.  For walleye start using the traditional methods.  The water levels are finally stabilizing and coming down.  So water levels are good for fishing.  Of course there will not be as many heading to fish the waters as bow hunting  has started.  Stay in tune with the fire restrictions as they are changing with conditions.  Be safe and slow down as you are going out in the fields or going to your fishing spot. “


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ I have heard  of some lousy fishing from fishermen,  On the rivers people are saying there is not much catching happening.  The FWP lifted the Hoot hour on  the Jefferson and Gallatin but not on the Madison.  Keep checking on the FWP for changes. I also heard from one guy who went fishing by Jordan who marked a lot of fish deep but could not catch any.  They just would not bite.”


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

Chris  reports,“  The flows of thee Stillwater have gone down as of last evening.  The cfs is about 500.  I have not been on it yet to tell if  fishing has altered.  This past week we found  Hopper Droppers were still working well in the evening.  Rainbow and browns are being caught.    Both rivers   are fishing well.  We were  seeing tricot and mahogany   hatches in the afternoon.  Try large dries.  Try using a  Jack Cabe, PMX,   Chernobyl’s,, Yeti hopper, Water Walkers and Fat Franks as they can be successful.  For nymphs try a beadhead Prince, hairs ear, flashback or pheasant tails. On the Yellowstone try  a Batman Copper John, a Pheasant Tails, or some Princes.   In the evening try a black or olive wooly bugger.  “


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

Beau says,”  The water is about 3600 cfs.  The water temperature is 60 degrees.    The tricot hatch  is happening in the morning.    After that hoppers may  work.  Nymphs are better some days and not another.  Streamers are working as well.  Try a sow bug or a San Juan worm.  The water is about 3600 cfs.  Fishing is okay.   The   water has  some grass.  Smoke is a factor as some days are worse than others. ”

Steven Caldwell   guide,  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

Collette  said ,” The  water  is at  3000 cfs.     There are nice tricot hatching in the morning between 5:30 to 6:00 am .  Use a dun size 20 or a spinner at 22.      The fishing is good.

For  nymph fishing It seems to not be doing as well because of the grass. .  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 still good. Try a vanilla wafer or a dirty hippy.  A pseudo spinner size 18 is also working.

The aquatic   grass  is in the water.     It is better down lower on the river.  Use a lighter line  as it works better. The grass is only on the edges in some places.  Of course some days the smoke is a factor.”

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

The Madison has been good fishing.  . The fish are  looking for hoppers, ants and beetles .on warm days. We have had 10 days of cool lately.  Later in the day  after noon for  Nymphs use  blue winged olives and small caddis nymphs Keep those fish wet and cool.


Yellowstone  National Park

The lower rivers in the park are too warm to fish.  Look for cooler water in  higher elevations.  High elevations are fishing the best, mostly with terrestrials. Cooler days will bring some hatches of mayflies to rivers in the Yellowstone River drainage.  At the Lamar and Yellowstone River drainage we have seen  PMD’s in the mornings,  It also was good terrestrials  fishing.  Carry bear spray!