Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 12.28.17
By angelamontana

Posted: December 29, 2017

Winter is  here  and with it comes sudden changes in weather and  changes in  water  conditions.  Outdoor enthusiasts including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes.   Storms  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.  The strength and  depth of  ice can change very quickly please watch for any changes. 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

Linda   reports, “the north and south is completely covered with  ice. It is jut starting to form so it is not thick. Maybe with the cold predicted it will be thick enough. On last Saturday there was only shore land ice so it has changed a   lot in a few days. Non one has been out fishing. ”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond  said,”  The water is froze over.  Toward the north it does have ice over it but it does have cracks and weak spots. (Tuesday at 12pm) People are fishing close to shore  where there is 2 to 3  inches.  Went out by Rattlesnake about 100 paces and it was pretty good. The cold we are expecting will firm things up I think.   “

Some of the campgrounds have been shut down of  electricity.  Campers point north  has electricity.  That is the camp site closest to the marina.  The cleaning station is closed.  The water is turned off. There is no water at the  dump site and  in the campgrounds. The   boat inspection site  is closed.

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

Wade says, ” Right now there is  ice  over the whole lake.  The cold weather we are having   should thicken up. There were a few fishermen on the edges trying the ice the last 2 days.  I am opening the Marina   Friday.  Then we will be open Sat and Sunday.  Our hours will be 6 am to noon each day.  I am getting   minnows right now.  I will have   worms. Mill worms , tackle, beer, pop and snacks.  If you want to know more information check out Tongue River Marina on facebook.

This year   there will be no vending machine for minnows.    There will be no fuel available “, Wade explains.

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

Deb says,” We have no one out here fishing.  We have 2 inches of  ice  on the first half in the bay.   The rest  is wide open as of right now. The weather has been cold. It is going to be a few more days of this cold to firm things up.”

  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

Millie says, “We had 17 below ths morning.   There is lake fog over the lake.  There is ice on the edges  and  one small group is  trying to fish. These temperatures will make some ice. ”

 Our hours are  6am-8pm Monday through Saturday6 am to 7 pm on Sunday. ”

Cooney Reservoir –

I want to welcome the new Cooney Park  person Marina Matheson.  She will now be the full time person there.  You may recognize the name as she was the park person for Hell Creek bureau for several years. She and her husband will live in the area so please make them welcome.

Aaron reports.” On the south side of Cooney I found 5 to 6 inches of ice. On the north side II found 2 to 3  inches.  I checked out 50 to 60 feet.   There is no wind today.  I did find soft spots in both directions. If you fish right now it is walk on only.  The fw guys I talked to had caught rainbows but the bite is slow.  They said they were not dialed in to any bait right now.  You will need 4 wheel drive right now to get to the campgrounds.  They will now be plowing once the week the campgrounds. The cold weather coming will help make ice.   “

I want to publically thank Aaron from Helena’s FWP for his consistent help with the fishing report.  He has been very diligent in calling me and letting me know the conditions for the last several months.  Thank you Aaron.

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Leah   reports , ” Elmo has ice . Yesteerday we had an ice house out there and kids ice skating.  Somone  was also sledding as well.  With this current cold weather it is icing up well.  There are obvious dark spots in the center so it may be softer or thinner ice.“

Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Pat says,” there was two ice fishermen fishing off the edge yesterday.

Don’t know if they got anything.  It only started to ice over on Saturday so it may take a few days to get thick.”

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

 Terry says,” Haven’t heard of anything this week.  No ice fishing news that I have heard.”

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

 Rick says, “  There is 10 inches of ice all over on Bair.  People have been fishing on Bair and Sutherland. They are using 4 wheelers. I haven’t heard much on the bite.   Try worms, corn and maggots.  Haven’t heard if they are working. Cold weather does help the bite though. ”

 Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Dale says, “We do have a little bit of ice.  They are catching some perch and a few [ike on East Fork Reservoir.   I have heard no report on Achley.  They are catching trout using powerbait and marshmallows at Hanson. It has been so cold I cannot imagine anyone fishing on Spring Creek  as it is cold ”

Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana   James  (Slim) and Abbie Craig  406-429-2999

Slim says, “ We have 6 ½ to 7 ½ inches ice.  It is walk on only. You can take a carry on shanty on right now.  They are catching northern pike in sizes from hammerhandle size to 18 pounds.  It is froze as far as you can see.  I think give it a week and the cold with really make the ice thick. We had 31 below last night.  Yesterday it was 20 above and we had no wind. No one has seen a walleye.  They are taing dead smelt or minnows and won’t touch a live minnow right now.  They are starting to stack up. ”

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,” We have good ice to Hole in the wall going south. There is 9 inches of ice.  You can walk on to drill.  They are only catching trout no perch yet.  Five ling were caught.   We do have maggots and have  gotten in  our ice fishing  items.  Don’t forget the Broadwater Lions Club Ice fishing Tournament on January 27th and 28th, 2018.   “

The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm. We still are making and selling sandwiches at the Marina.

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

  Jim says,” On  Nelson there is now 7 inches of ice.  It   has had a few people out in the bay ice fishing in the shallows but I have not heard if they have caught anything.  It was 28 degrees yesterday.  All I can say is use caution especially in mid lake by Pelican Island.  It should freeze up more with the storm coming. We do have bait,  minnows and crawlers  here if guys need them.”

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

 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Dan, Matt

Jayce says,” We have had guys really gearing up for ice fishing.   I have not heard much on ice conditions yet.

The only thing I have heard is that on the big Horn guys spinning are catching trout and walleye.  They are getting quite a few.”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “  The rivers have  ice again.

I keep hearing Harrison has 7 inches   of ice.  They  are  catching some rainbows.

 I also talked to someone who said Canyon Ferry has 5 to 6 inches of ice.”

Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977  ,Bill

  The rivers   are icing up.   Wading is treacherous from the bank.   Try a wooly bugger.  Streamers and nymph fishing should work.

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

 It has been pretty cold to fish. The water was less off color and visibility of the water is not good. The grass is still in it. Try a streamer  maybe  in black with a flasher.  Fishing is slow. Watch the redds if you see them and stay off that area.”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Collette   said,”Use a streamer and go deep and slow.   The fishing has slowed down.  You will see clarity to 3 feet now.  The wind is a big factor.  It has been blowing.  Nymphing is real slow.”  For the holiday we will be closed until December 2st to the 3rd. After that we  will be  open   8 am to noon all week. “

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

Madison River

 Alice says,”  It is so cold here.  I can’t imagine fishing. I am sure that nymphs and streamers have been working, maybe midges if it isn’t blowing.

Merry Christmas!

Yellowstone National Park    

Yellowstone National Park  is closed for the season until May.