Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 5.9.18
By angelamontana

Posted: May 9, 2018

Spring 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   can   come on in fierce strength very fast.  The strength and depth of ice is changing very quickly so use caution. 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, “For the last four days guys have been catching.  Fishing has been   good. It is just starting.  One group was here for four days and when they left today their report was that they caught 5 walleye a day.  Not big ones.  They were using worms.  We have also been   selling quite a few minnows. They have been catching trout at 45 feet using cranks.  Trout can be good size.   They were going around McGuire Creek.  Water temperature has been   55 to 56 degrees.  Pike   have been caught pretty much anywhere right now.   Only a couple of  bass have been caught that we have heard so far. “

“Our hours are Sunday to Thursday 7 am to 9 pm.  Friday to Sunday 7 am to 11pm.  We are willing to open early or later than these hours depending on the need.  We are excited to get people fishing and hear their fishing stories , Monty says.”

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond   reports,” We had a busy  weekend.  We had 30 to 40 campers.   People  say they are catching small  crappies.   The crappies seem to be  shallow  at around 20 feet. The guys say they are finding northern pike here and there.  I have heard   of a few walleye and bass also being caught.  Fishing,  guys say  is hit and miss.  We are putting the slip   dock in today.  The water temperature is 60 degrees   on the surface. The water is fairly clear.  The fish cleaning station and the dump site are up and running.  We will try to do that soon.    The boat inspection stations are   up and running.”

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

Stephanie   says, “ It still was  slow fishing this week.  One person   did catch a 6 pound  walleye.  The bass and   northern pike   are in the shallows right now.  People are using  jigs, tails and minnows.  Some people have tried spoons and crank baits.  It seems   to be just trying a lot of different  things.  The water temperature is 52 to 54 degrees.  The water level is slowly coming up.  The inspection station   is up and checking. We have everything, worms and minnow. ”

   The   Marina is now open every day.  Our  are 8 to 5 Monday to Thursday  and  Friday and Saturday 7 to 9.  On Sunday we will be open   from 7 to 5 pm.

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

Clint   says, “  People are starting to catch male northern pike.  Only a few hens have been caught.  They are finding them close to the bank at 14 to 15 feet.   The bass are in the shallows going west towards Billy Creek mostly in the narrows.  They have been hitting pretty good in the last few days.  Guys are finding walleye   going west of Timber Creek.  They are starting to pick up.   The lake trout are being found going east from Hell   Creek to the dam.  Some people  are heading south from there in water depths of 15 to 25 feet.  “

 The Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.  ­­­­­­­

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

Eddie says, “ We have had lots of people up here.   The season   is starting.  They are finding the lake trout at depths of 20 to 40 feet.  People are heading to Hakesbee and York Island and also east of the dam.  The walleye bite is picking up on this end.   The have been using a minnow and a jig at

5 to  25 feet.  They are mostly pitching jigs to shore.  One guy on Saturday  did catch a 10 pound salmon.  The people were pulling for lake trout at the time. The water is clear with a surface  temperature of 48 to 50 degrees. On this end we are not seeing much debrie .   We have suckers, fatheads, smelt, herring and night crawlers.   ”

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.

The  boat  docks and buoys  are  in . Some people are catching  big walleye.  There are also trout being caught.    The water is turning  on more the fishermen are saying and facebook seems to be showing lots of results.  We have had lots   of fishing from shore and the dam.  There are boats also out fishing but not catching much. “

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 People  say,” People  are catching .  There are lots of   guys out there.  They are fishing like crazy. The FWP crew just dumped brood stock in of cutthroat and I know they will do more soon.  The weather is  great  for fishing.”

Deadmans Tony Stefani

 Pat  says,”   We had quite a few  fishermen up  here this week.  We only talked to one guy who was only catching suckers.  I am sure they must be catching something else we just did not hear  “

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

 Terry   says,” Guys who  bought  worms headed to Martinsdale.  They said the shore line was real muddy.  The rivers are sure high. I think each day is different as far as where to fish because of the run off.”

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

 Judy says, “  It was a good weekend for fishing in some places.  People were catching at Bair and Sutherland.   At Martinsdale the guys went out and got two suckers and one trout.  Then they  had to get off the water because the wind was blowing so bad .  The lake is clear.  They were using streamers.  Check the water as it is definitely high and muddy and in some places really roaring.   ”

 Don’s Lewistown-Dale/Charlie

Charlie says, “We are in the process of closing  our shop so we are transferring our report to the Sports Center.  We want to thank all of our customers for their support.”

Sports Center   320 West Main Street, Lewistown, MT   535-9308  Colby / John Tognetti

I want to welcome the Sports Center   to the fishing report.  The Sports Center is a father   and son business which has been in Lewistown for 25 years.   They carry trout flies, lures, walleye jigs, cranks, worm harnesses, and a full line of sporting goods.   They have minnows as well.

“Ackley had no wind this week so people could get out to fish. The fish are just starting to bite so they are catching some trout.  People are seeing a hatch at times of the day.   Guys are mostly using streamers and nymphs  as bait.

On the Missouri Paddlefish season started today.  The high water should make it good.  They are catching cats because it is muddy.

On Crooked   Creek  the  fishing  was  okay.  Definitely not a runaway that is for sure.

It is still dirty.  Use a minnow with a slow presentation.   The water is still cold.  Use live minnows as they are working.  It is not good from a boat.  You have to go slow.  When the wind comes up there has been a lot of debris showing up.

On   Spring Creek   the water  is clearing up. The San Juan worm is working okay.  Some are using nymphs.  People have seen some hatches on sunny days.  Try some mayfly   patterns.

On the river the clarity is about 1 foot down.  At Winnefred  the cats are starting.

On the East Fork people have seen a lot of perch and  are catching quite a few .  We have lots of worms and minnows   for your needs “, Colby says.

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

Robbie Seymore   fished the tournament.  He and his dad took 5th place.  He said, “  The water level was good.  There is still some debris in the water but mostly small so it didn’t slow anyone down.  Most everyone was jigging and rigging.  The biggest walleye came pitching shallow like 6 feet.  I seemed to be the only one pulling  cranks.  The water was pretty dirty other than the Devil/Forchette area.  I was fishing in 58 degree watr.  The big pike of the tournament was over 41 inches each day, I believe.  I didn’t catch any pike.  The big bass were over 20 inches each day.  There were a lot of shore anglers and all of them were catching pike. The winners with 49 pounds  rumor had it were using jigs and dead stinky minnows.”

Robbie also said,”I would still come the Ballantine route.”  I was told by Jim last week  that  everyone shoud  use the Ballantine   Road  because it is a great road.  The Dove Tail is not good.  It is pretty rough and would damage vehicles.  I would advise strongly to take the Ballantine Road. I do not know if that has   changed.  I would suggest you   call for road conditions.

 The store is open.”

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

  Sharon   reports ,” The  water is finally up in the last 3 to 4 days.  It is up about   2 feet.  You can get a  boat on now.  We are warning people to be careful at the mouth of the bay.  Stay to the north side of the lake.  Watch for floating   items in the water.  Some can be quite large.   Shore fishing is good and they are catching walleye and perch.  The clarity is pretty good.  People are catching trout of course and some small walleye.“

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,”  The weather has been nice here.   Nelson has been a slow bite.  I know of a few being caught.They are jigging using minnows and also slip bobbers.  People are leaving with one or two.  The water is kind of muddy.  The ramps on the right are the best to use as they are deeper in the water.  The level is almost full.

 At Forchette Bay  people are heading towards  Lost Creek.  The winner  at the Crooked Creek Tournament  had a total of 49 pounds.  The walleye were spotty but the guys did catch some big females.  “

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, Matt

Jayce said,” On the lower Yellowstone going from Billings the guys are getting some   cats. They are seeing smaller males.  Not as many as it  has   slowed down. The water is muddy.

Tongue- Fishing   people   say has been slow .  That is what  people are saying.

Yellowtail- People are getting a few small ones.  Some of the boats who went out caught a few small mouth but not many.

Stillwater- The Upper Stillwater they are catching trout on tubes.  Some decent  trout were caught I heard.

Madison-   Guys are telling me they are catching trout on flies that mimic caddis.  There is some report of hatches starting.

Crooked Creek-

 I have been told they are catching some nice fish on big smelt and suckers.  The fishing  at Crooked Creek seems to be changing.  ”

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ Canyon Ferry  has finally come up.  Your boat can be put in the water.  I hear they are catching trout and walleye.  Be kind of careful as there is some debrie.

Gates of the Mountain I am hearing is good for walleye.  It is still good on trout as well.

Lake Helena-   People are catching walleye.  So far they are mostly male that the fishermen  caught.  They only caught one female and it was   7 pounds.

The rivers are really muddy and high.

Missouri-The paddlefish are being caught on the  Missouri.  The water is high.  Lots of cats were caught by one group.  They caught 4 to 5 that were over 20 pounds.  The rest were 2 to 3 pounds.  It is very dirty.  The walleye are not as many as last year was.  “

Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977  ,Bill

Chris says, “ The  Yellowstone is a mess right now.  It is high and off color.  There is  some cottonwood tree  debrie in the water.  The Scheels  River is kicking in and it is starting to turn to look like chocolate milk.

The  Stillwater has been coming up in the last 3 to4 days.   When people call I have been sending them to the upper Stillwater. The caddis hatch is happening on some days . Use caddis types and nymphs  when you fish.  You can fish there  or in the tribituaries.  The lower Stillwater is pretty muddy.  The water level has jumped.   “

You can book your trips  now.

We are  open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 5 pm,” Chris says.

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

 Beau says, “The   fishing  on the Big Horn was good  this week.  The  water temperature is coming up.  They   are starting to pull the water off of the top of  the reservoir. There is a nice midge  hatch at times.   Sow bugs are working.  You can also use a minnow imitation.  I saw a lot of baetis  out there .  The access areas are good.  The water is a little green.  I tried pink sow bugs , black midges and olive baetis patterns.  It is muddy for the last 6 miles down but it is still fishable.  ”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375

Rich  reports,” The cfs is  still at 7, 500 now.  The   water is  about 42 degrees  and   clear. The water is  pretty clear.  For drys  try midges  and   smoke  jumpers. There is a baetis hatch  some days  so try a parachute Adams.  You can also try a Just buster , a cripple Thor or a student baetis.  Any nymph is good to try.  Use a two tone scud, carpet sow bugs , the San Juan, gray rays, zebra midges or JuJu   baetis.      Streamers have been really good.  Use a white streamer in a size 10 or 12.  I recommend you use that in the high water.  Right now the boat fishing is better than wading.  There is good access for wading  at the After Bay. ”

Our summer hours  are   8 am to 5 every day.

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

Madison River

Alice reports, “Snow melt is sending mud down the smaller streams all through the Madison drainage. On some sections of the river, one side is more off color than the other. Mother’s Day caddis have been seen in all stretches of the Madison, with more surface action in the lower stretches. Fish are eating nymphs consistently throughout the river. Stoneflies with a smaller bright, flashy nymph as the dropper would work.  March browns have also been hatching so a mayfly nymph as a dropper can be effective.  “

Yellowstone National Park    

Yellowstone National Park is closed for the season until May 26th.