Winter is here and that means sudden changes in weather and water or ice 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 and let others know where they are for safety sake when out and about. 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 in with fierce strength. 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- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt For winter call 1-406-230-1283 for Linda
Marina number is less reliable in winter. 1-406-485-2560
There have been some people fishing the bay of Rock Creek up to Nelson Creek. The ice is good ice. People are catching northern pike.
Monty is still available to make reservations for spring by calling 1-406-465-0241 and he can set you up. He has the book with him. “We have closed the Marina as of October 1st, 2018 for the season. The Marina number will not bring results at this time. “Monty says.
Neil is recovering well from his heart surgery. Due to his health they will not be up at Rock Creek. At this point Linda has no idea when they will be back at Rock Creek. So there are no services there. Neil, we at the Montana Outdoor Radio Show wish you well.
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Raymond says, “Fishing this week has been pretty good people have told me. Someone caught a real nice northern. One fisherman caught a 6 pound catfish. People are catching crappies and perch. The ice is 20 inches thick right now. I want to remind people you need a new fishing license on March 1st. “
Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows you may use on Tongue.
There are no reservations needed for camp sites it is now first come first take. Everything is shut down like the electricity and water. The cleaning station has been closed. There are sites still open at Campers Point #1 to 11 and have electric hookups on year round. “ .
Tongue River Marina 1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg /Warden Jordan Staley
Wade reports, “The crappie bite is doing extremely well. They are going 30 to 32 inches down with one foot off the bottom. The fish are suspended. The ice is 20 feet deep throughout. A lot of walleye were caught this week. Most are 13 plus. Some groups were getting their limits. Fishermen were catching fish with minnows and maggots.
Remember the rules on bringing minnows to Tongue River. I do have legal live minnows at the Marina so you can be legal on the ice. “
Fishing licenses expire on Thursday and you can purchase a license from the Marina but remember the Marina has limited hours of Friday to Sunday from 6 am to noon. I have park passes and can do fishing licenses. We have smelt, fatheads, sucker smelts but I have no worms. . ”
Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne 1-406- 557-2345
Clint reported to me at 4 pm,” I just got done plowing the road so it is clear. There is some snow on the ice. Due to the snow on the ice 4×4’s are struggling. The best vehicle to use is a snow mobile. You can get around with a 4×4 or a side by side but it is difficult. There is now pockets of water on the ice which is making slush. It is tough travel and you definitely have to use chains. There are trails you can use on the ice so you can use them. The water is oozing out from under the ice in some places.”
Marina is open 7 days a week, 7 am to 6 pm.
Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt 1-406-526-3597
Jamie reports, “Fishing was slow this week. The wind has blown making it hard to be on the ice. Guys are able to get all the way to York Island. They were doing okay on lake trout. . The lake trout that they are getting are at 30 to 69 feet depths. The roads coming in are plowed. “
The 44 hour Fort Peck Tournament is this weekend. You can call us or Fort Peck Marina at 406-526-3442 for details and to sign up.
Eddie said last week, “The ice is insulated by the snow. Do not assume ice depths are all the same. Just be aware. You need chains on the vehicles and with the snow being so deep a truck is not recommended yet. A 4 wheeler is what people are using. . Check with us for a travel plan as the snow makes it hard to see what is going on. There is a pressure line out there you can barely see.”
“We have meal worms, wax worms and maggots. We also have smelt herring and large sucker minnows. Our hours are 7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday. ”
Fort Peck Marina Jessica & Scott Collinsworth 1-406-565-6283
Thursday, Friday and Monday 9am to noon/ Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 9pm
Scott reports, “The fishing has been pretty good there has been a decent bite. People are catching lake trout, walleye and perch. The ice is good. There is more snow on the ice. The lake trout fishing is better. We do have 13 inches of ice in the bay. Rock Creek, McGuire Creek and Nelson Creek have 12 to 14 inches. The road is plowed to get here. We got to minnows on Monday night so we are prepared for the tournament this weekend. The 44 hour Fort Peck Tournament this weekend. You can call Lake Ridge to register for the tournament or 406-526-3442 to sign up. I want to remind people that fishing licenses need to be renewed on March 1st. “
We do have ice fishing tackle here if you need any.
Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia
Marina says, “last week Cooney was crowded as there were many fishermen out there. They have said fishing has been good. Due to the snow and storm there is no one here today (Tuesday). We do have 2 feet of ice. We had gotten 5 inches of snow last week. We have plowed the areas around Cooney. With the wind blowing we are aware there will be some drifting and we will plow when we can but will also place cones where the drifts are on the road when needed. “
The fish cleaning station is still open. The campground is now first come first serve now as the reservation system is done taking them for the season. The boat ramps are out. The Marshall Cove campground is open. The drinking water has been shut down for the winter. Our electric is on year around. The North shore campground is now closed.
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
People have ice fished this week. The snow has of course slowed down people using Elmo right now some have said. Ice fishing reports continue to say fishing is good. They are catching perch frequently and a few small trout. The ice is more than 8 inches thick. They are using just about everything bait wise to catch fish.
Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat
Pat says,” We have not seen any fishermen this week. Deadmans has over 6 inches of ice some have said. We the weather and snow storm it would be hard to get there. The road is drifting today (Tuesday).”
Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261
Terry explains, “I did have some guys who went ice fishing at Deadmans. No one came back and said how they did. Of course with the snow, roads and wind I doubt anyone would go now.”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Rick says, “No one we know has gone to Bair to fish. Right now if you got in to Bair you would have a hard time get out even with chains because of the weather. There is 20 inches of ice and there is snow on it.
I did talk to one fellow who went to Sutherland this week. He camped there for 3 days and caught nothing. So I would call that really slow. You definitely have to chain up and bring shovels because you very well could need them.”
Sports Center 120 2nd Ave South Lewistown, MT 535-9308 Colby / John Tognetti
Our hours are 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 4pm on Sunday
Colby said, “I talked to fishermen who went to Crooked Creek and they caught 14 pike. It was tough with the snow on the ice but it was good fishing.
Achley- You can get to Achley even with the weather. Fish have been caught. The ice is 1 foot deep. You need to watch for drifts on the road.
East Fork- People is still getting perch on the East fork if they braved the cold. The fish are being caught in anywhere from 20 to 7 feet depths. The ice is 9 inches. ”
We do have smelt, worms, meal worms, maggots and wax worms. We have live minnows but they are sold out quickly at times. “
Crooked Creek Marina Winnett, Montana James (Slim) and Abbie Craig, Carri Craig 406-429-2999
Slim reports, ”It took me 3 hours of tough driving to get to Crooked Creek on Crooked Creek Road. Due to the county refusing to plow the road and my being told I cannot do it I am closing Crooked Creek Campground until further notice. The drifting is going to get worse because of the wind and the road is difficult to navigate. At this time 3:00 pm Wednesday, 2-27-19 I am escorting the people down here who were fishing out for safety reasons. I advise no one to even attempt to come as even with chains you may not be able to get down to it at this time. Keep an eye on our Crooked Creek facebook page for any news or to see if and when we plan to open . “
Slim has closed the marina until further notice. He is open 7am to 7 pm Wednesday to Monday. He will be closed on Tuesday. If you have questions call Slim at 406-366-6313 and leave a message.
Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon
Sharon says,” I want people to stop at the marina before fishing. No one has been out fishing. At this point you have to have chains on your vehicles. Chains may not even be good enough so I would say try snowmobiles. In truth why would you want to be out there with this cold. Things are drifting because of the wind. There is snow 6 inches or more on the ice. We also have had some new pressure ridges and the snow makes them difficult to see. Stop by the Silos for information. We have 12 to 15 inches of ice. Due to the non-consistent ice conditions further out it is not yet safe.”
The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.
The Flamingo has closed for the season.
West Side Sports Jim Mayer 1-406-654-1611
Jim reports,” On Nelson fishing is slow right now. It is not a run away. You will need tracks or a snowmobile to fish. People are catching some perch. We got another 3 to 4 inches. Don’t forget your fishing license expires on Thursday this week. You need a new one March 1st.”
I do have larger minnows for sale right now. We also have ice fishing supplies.
Shop hours are 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt
Jayce reports, “Hell Creek –On Hell Creek I heard pike fishing wasn’t too bad. People were catching some nice ones. The people I talked to found fishing good in the Bay. They did not get out too far because of the snow.
Cooney-I have heard Cooney has been slow. Some have caught some ling. One lady caught a ling during the day.
Elmo- I am hearing Elmo has been really good for perch. They are catching lots of perch. “
Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540
Rich says,” All three rivers are frozen. There are a lot of places with bulging ice on the rivers here.
As far as Canyon ferry I have not had anyone I know go fishing. It has 20 inches of ice I am told but the wind has made many drifts. “
Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill, Ken, Jasmine
The shop is closed right now except by appointment.
People who headed out are trying from shore but with the snow and an icy shoreline it is hard to even get close. It is tough fishing. Small streamers may work.”
Montana Adventures and Angling in Fort Smith Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau hears,” the weather has been very snowy in billings but you can go to the Big Horn and fish. The water clarity is good. Scuds have worked. Try dark streamers with a bit of red. ”
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375
“Rick reports, “We only have 1 to 2 inches of snow. We did actually have a couple guys go out right now while many places are having the snow storm. Our weather is good today (Tuesday). We are seeing some midge hatches in the afternoon. If you can stand the cold you can catch fish. Today it is bright and clear even sunny. With the water being low you can actually wade in a lot of places on the river. The ramps are clear. Nymphing has been good. If you use streamers use dark colors like a black leech pattern. If you want to fish come here. Right now we have rooms for half price,” Rick says.
Our hours are 8 am to 12 every day.
Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone : Alice Owsley, fishing guide and outfitter 406-640-1698.
Fishes Madison River and Yellowstone National Park waters
“Look for bug activities. Midges are being seen at times in the day. At times it has been warm like 28 degrees. There is 3 feet of snow at this time. Most fish are eating nymphs, small olive mayfly nymphs and black and white midge patterns work well. If you want to throw streamers, go big and in olive colors,” Alice says.
All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.