Northern Pike Ice Fishing Derby

Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 1.3.17
By angelamontana

Posted: January 4, 2018

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.  


(compiled by Carol Henckel)

Rock Creek Marina-Bill 1-406-485-2560

Linda   reports, “ Because of the cold and weather the fishermen due to arrive cancelled this week.  We got 8 inches of snow.  Right now the road is passable.  We have no wind today.  The north and south is completely covered with  ice.  At Nelson on Peck there is 12 inches which is 10 miles down the road. Four days ago Neil got a pick down and found 4 inches of ice and did not get any water.  I would guess we have 10 inches in the Bay now with the last 3 days of cold nights and days. You do have snow on the ice .    ”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond  said,” We have a foot of snow here.  The water is froze over and we have 6 inches of ice as of today. We had 3 campers and  12 to 15 day users when the weather calmed down.  It has been cold and snowy this past week but it is nice today (Tuesday).  I heard of 8 perch being caught but the guys said  they were catching mostly crappies.  One fellow caught one northern pike.  Most are fishing off by the Marina and a few are fishing at Peewee Point.  One fellow did follow tracks thinking it was safe and fell in with one leg so people need to be careful.  Do not think that walking in tracks is always safe. Carry your spud and check the ice.  “

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,”  We had quite a few fishermen over the weekend. We did have 15 below this week.  There were 6 to 7 huts out there on the weekend.  They are catching perch and crappie.  They’re   finding them at 30 to 35 feet.  Fish at a foot off the bottom during the day and in the early evening they are finding  them up at 3 to 5 feet from the top.  Guys are using live minnows   which we have here. Right now there is   ice  over the whole lake.  The Marina  is open  Friday,  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. “, Wade explains.

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

Kayla says,” We have no one out here fishing.  We have 4 to 5   inches of  ice  at Boy Scout to Lucky Point.  From Lucky Point  to Peterson Point to the face of the Bay there is 3 to 4 inches.  On the Main Lake there is 1 inch or less of ice. .   The weather has been cold. We have no wind today.”

  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, “ We just got ice on New Year’s Eve. When it came it came pretty fast. Flathead has 7 inches at the boat ramp.  Duck Creek   has 4 inches.  Nelson Dredge has 11 to 13 inches. We have been at the Dredge  and I can say the walleye bite is good using tip ups.  They are spearing northerns and some  say it is good.  It has been slow for pike but you get a little of action.

I do have minnows, hooks, floaters, full suckers, wax and   meal worms and white and pink maggots here for the guys to use.  Our hours are   7am-6 pm Monday through 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.

Marina reports,” We have  8 inches of ice at Cooney.  We have ice  out 50 to 60 feet.   There is no wind today.  If you fish right now it is walk on only.  We did not have many fishermen.  At one point this week part of the park had to be closed because of the drifts.  I did plow the road so it is open now.  “

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob   reports , ” Elmo does have ice . We   have been having some wind blowing.  There have been many fishermen out there.  New Year’s Day there were a lot of huts out there.  Remember it is walk on only at Elmo.  Today there is only one hut but kids are back in school and people are back to work. The ice is good enough to fish on and some were catching.”

Deadmans  Tony Stefani

Tony  says,”  We saw a couple of  ice fishermen early in the week.  After that the snow and wind closed things down.  They plowed us open yesterday. Last night it blew and drifted us in so we can’t even open our door.”

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

 Terry says,” Haven’t heard of   any fishing this week.  We got 15 inches of snow and below zero temps so people don’t think of fishing.  The roads were real bad as well. ”

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

 Judy  says, “ People are ice fishing at Bair. There  is 14  to 16 inches of ice all over on Bair.  They are using 4 wheelers. The  bite is pretty fair.  No matter the ice conditions be careful.  At Martinsdale I only have heard of one hut being out there.  In all three places you have to be prepared.   There were days the drifting was really bad.  One fisherman could only get in with a snowmobile because of the drifts at Sutherland.    Try worms, corn and maggots.  ”

 Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Scott says, “We do have ice.  At Achley they are catching trout.

They are catching some perch and a few  on East Fork Reservoir.  It is slow going.

 On Hanson fishing is good.    They are catching trout using powerbait and marshmallows at Hanson.

At Crooked Creek they are catching pike and walleye.  The pike bite has been good. ”

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

Slim says, “ We have more than  7  inches of  ice.  It is walk on only.  Carry on shanty is good right now.  They are catching northern pike in many sizes. Not many walleye.  They are using dead smelt or minnows Live minnows are not working 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,” Lots of fishermen this week.  It has been so cold here.  We have good ice  maybe 12  inches of ice or more.  You can walk on to drill.  They are doing medium to well on trout.  A couple of people got their limits of perch.   Some  ling were caught.  Only a few walleye caught we have heard. Luckily the last few days had no wind.   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 more than  7 inches of ice.  I will say some are driving out there but very cautiously.  Be real careful driving on it. They are catching walleye and a few northern pike.  They are using tipups and spearing.   All I can say is use caution especially in mid lake by Pelican Island.  I have heard no report on Forchette. 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.

On Cooney I hear it has been pretty slow. They are catching only a few trout.

On Tongue guys are saying they are catching a few crappie and perch.  No one has caught walleye. Someone did catch a 42 inch pike.

At Crooked Creek they are catching mostly pike.

Holter has been good for catching perch guys are saying.

On Tiber it also has been good for perch.

Someone said Highlight has had good ice fishing for trout.”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ The rivers have definitely all  iced  up.

 I also talked to someone who said   on Canyon Ferry  they caught trout and a couple of ling. They said very few walleye were caught.

I went to billings yesterday and there was open water at Livingston but from Big timber down the Yellowstone had a lot of ice.”

Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977  ,Bill

  The rivers   are icing up.  Tying flies.

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

Beau says, “  The water is less off color and it is definitely clearing up.  On calm days there is a baetes hatch usually around 1 pm. ”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

For the holiday we will be closed until December 2nd or 3rd.  No answer on Wednesday.

 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 has been extremely cold.  I have not heard of anyone  fishing. I am sure that nymphs and streamers have been working, maybe midges if it isn’t blowing.”

Yellowstone National Park    

Yellowstone National Park  is closed for the season until May.

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