Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 1.31.18
By angelamontana

Posted: January 31, 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 Tuesdayand 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,” We had several  fishermen come  this week.  The fishing was good with  top-ups.  People were catching northern pike, walleye and ling.  They were using some minnows and smelt. One group was along the rock wall of the bay catching their fish. Some were in the bay in a cove in the weeds fishing.  The ling caught  was 36 inches and was caught in a depth of 15 to 20 feet depths.     The ice is  18 inches thick.  It was warmer yesterday so there was slush on it but overnight it froze again.   The water temperature is 32 degree.    ”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond   said,” I continue to hear fishing is hit and miss.   People say that is typical for Tongue this time a year.  The  fishermen say they caught a few more walleye . The majority have been crappies an perch. I drove around the whole shore line and there were fishermen everywhere on shore and far out.  People have been calling about how the ice is here because of the warmer weather but we have been cooler than other areas so it has not changed the ice.   Most guys were catching with minnows from the Marina.  We have 12 inches of ice. They are walking or using a 4 wheeler.  As always  use caution. “

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,”   there were again quite a few  fishermen here   over the weekend.  Another monster northern pike was caught . It was 40 inches.  We have had some big pike caught this year. Some guys are spearing using decoys.  They have been using both live minnows and smelt.  Right now I told more smelt but it changes from day to day.  I think more perch than crappie if I had to say.    People were catching crappie and perch.  No one was   slaying them.  The guys were trying south across from the Marina.  Ice is 12 to 15 inches thick.  I would say last week the ice was in the best condition I have seen in years. Some guys are saying I am just catching all perch or all crappies what am I not doing.   I tell them they need to move.  Change it up, move your holes and try a change in depth.   Guys are using 4 wheelers and snowmobiles.  The minnows I have right now are tiny 1 to 3 inches.  The crappies and perch were doing well.  “

 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.

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

Lane says,” ice fishermen have been doing good this week. The guys are using both live minnows and smelt.   We have had fishermen, right now we are full up.  They are catching northern pike and lake trout.  The walleye bite is pretty slow right now with not many in the bay.  They are catching all everything at 18 to 30 feet.  The northers and lakers are going for smelt and minnows.   We have 1 foot to 15   inches of ice.  Guys are catching walleye toward   Snow Creek.  We have several pressure ridges so check with us for details. There are two in the bay and two out on the main.    Guys are using 4 wheelers and side by side.  No pickups are going out.  As far as the road it is fair as there are a few slick spots.  If you are bringing a camper you need to chain-up before the big hill as the base of the big hill is slick.  ”

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

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

Carrie   says, “It has been a good week for fishing. Guys are catching lake trout, walleye and northern pike at depths from 9 to 30 feet depths on top-ups.  Smelt does not seem to be working right now.  The lake trout have started to bite.  It is not a hot bite but a steady bite.”   “ People are doing well on northern pike.   We were   at depths of 80 to 110 feet.”  Eddie explained,   “Most guys were using a clacken rap or a 1 ounce slim bait.”   Carrie tells us,” Walleye are about the same in bite with live minnows.  They seem to be at a depth of 2 feet depths.  They are being caught but harder to get. Ice is 14 to 18 inches of ice.   Today (Tuesday) the temperature is 43 degrees but we are having some gusty winds. “

We 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 – Marina Matheson.

Marina reports,”The fishermen I talked to were fishing mostly on the south end and were told that it has been real slow.  They said they are catching brown trout.  They have tried corn, minnows and artificial bait. There is 12 inches   of ice at Red Lodge campground area.  Fisherman Point has 14 inches at the shore line and 8 inches in the middle.  “

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Elmo still   has ice but some water on it with warmer temperatures.  They are catching perch. Mostly small ones.   It is walk on only.”

Deadmans Tony Stefani

 There have been   a few   ice fishermen at Deadman’s this week.  Heard of some people having luck getting a few kokanee.

There are four shacks and ice fishermen   on Broadview pond.  So some are catching fish.

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

 Terry says,” I heard from   fishermen that fishing at   Deadmans was pretty good this week.  They were snagging   some Kokanee at 5 to 6   feet.  They were   around the boat dock. ”

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

 Judy says, “ The bite at Bair this weekend was slow.  People were catching   but it took an awful long time to get them.  We used corn, worms, and maggots.  There   is 14 to 16 inches of ice all over on Bair. It is getting easier to get in and out.  On Sutherland it is still tough getting in.  Due to the drifting snowmobiles are    the ways to get to the ice. We heard   Martinsdale was slow. ”

 Don’s Lewistown-Dale 1-800-879-8194

Scott  says, “ The ponds have been fishing good.

 The East Fork is fishing well.  Maggots and small jigs are working.    The perch bite is good.

At Achley the ice is good.     Guys are using   small jigs and maggots.  If you’re at Achley   you are catching fish.

Crooked Creek   has been  hit or miss.  Smelt and herring are working better   on northern pike. Some nice walleye have been caught.

I have heard nothing about how fishing is  at  Forchette. ”

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

Slim says, “ This last weekend we had a lot of  fishermen here.  Fishing seems to picking up a little.  We have 16 to 17  inches of ice.  Walleye and   northern pike are back on the bite.   People are catching  walleye , eater size, not big ones.  Also some crappies are   being caught.   Guys are  going  to Anderson point to Squaw Creek. People are  using 4 wheelers and pickups on ice.  There is a pressure ridge building so be extremely careful.  The road is okay, a little slick in places but not bad. ”

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,” the Broadwater Lions Club Ice fishing Tournament was this past weekend.  The number of fishermen   fishing it was record setting.   There was   a tie   for first place.  The total was 10.06 pounds of perch.  That was their best 10 for a team of three. On Sunday the big perch was   1.45   pounds. The ice is 12 to 15 inches. They   are catching   average   size one pound walleye.  Not the usual.  The   perch is at  40 to 60 feet at Duck Creek and Confederate.  It has been warm during the day   and cold at night so the ice is still good.  The trout bite is still good.  There are 3 to 4   pressure ridges so check at the marina for details.  Just be careful.  “

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,” Nelson   fishing has been hit and miss.  On Nelson there is good ice. It is really hard ice.  The ice is 22 inches deep. “

Forchette  is slow fishing right now. There is  8 inches of ice in the bay and more than 5 inches at first point.

Stop by the store.  We do have bait, minnows and crawlers here if you need them.”

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

 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Dan, Matt

Jayce says,”Big Horn: Lots of people fishing fly fishing.  The guys I talked to each caught only a few fish.  I know that a few guys went to the Afterbay to use minnows to try for walleye.

Bair: Some guys came in and said they caught a few rainbows. It was a slower bite.

Crooked Creek:  At Crooked Creek by Peck I heard  the pike fishing is fair but steady.  ”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ the rivers are open but have lots of floating ice and shelf ice on the edge.  You would have to really be careful to get to the water.

 At   Canyon Ferry  the tournament guys I talked to  were  saying  they  did not get much action.  It was a full tournament, lots of people trying.   They were saying it is finding that right spot that is tricky .  They were going 50 to 60 feet down.

Holter- I have heard the fishing is good there. ”

Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977  ,Bill

 “There is  quite a lot of ice.  The rivers are still not safe.  There is lots of shelf ice.  You just cannot safely get close it makes things very hazardous.  .  If you try to find an opening you really have to pick your spots carefully. They are few and far between,” Chris says.

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

Beau says, “Fishing   is   good right now but I hear there were many fishermen out there.   I hear the   water   is definitely clearing up.  Try  the usual   winter  midges if you fish. The cfs is at   still 4,000 cfs. ”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Stephanie  says,” The wind has been blowing more this week.   The water has  very good clarity .  Fishing is okay  winter fishing.  Streamer fishing is the way to go.  For  streamers  use dirty hippies. Try a thin mint or a vanilla wafer.”

Our winter hours are   8 am to noon all week. “

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

Madison River

 Alice says,” With the recent warmer weather  more midges have been on the Madison. If no adult midges are on the water, nymphing is productive. Fish a larger nymph with a zebra midge or similar below.

Streamer fishing can also move fish if midges aren’t active…”

Yellowstone National Park    

Yellowstone National Park  is closed for the season until May.


(feature photo via Destination Missoula)
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