Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 3.20.19
By angelamontana

Posted: March 21, 2019

Winter   is almost over and that means sudden changes in weather and water on ice. Ice conditions are quickly changing and flooding could become a problem as we enter into  Spring.  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

 Word has it snow drifting and ice conditions are changing.   At  Rock Creek  the week before you could only get to the cleaning station so you had to park there. There are lots of drifts on the lake. The drifts even with warm weather are still there.

 They went in on the north side as it is the only way you can get in.

  *** 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 .   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.

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports, “ There is only  one person out there ice fishing right now. The ice is starting to break up on the edges.  It is breaking up to 10 feet from shore already. The nights are still cold but days are getting warmer.  The frog pond has water in it.  People on the weekend did catch their limit of  crappies.  As we continue  with warmer temperatures pay attention to ice conditions and be safe. Don’t forget  people you need a new fishing license now for 2019. “

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, the marina owner  reports , “There were not very many people out there fishing this week.  The marina  is now closed as we are setting up for Spring.  Ice conditions are changing as well and the bay is breaking up.  The people went out this weekend did catch crappies.  We will open in the Spring when the ice has left.  Remember the rules on bringing minnows to Tongue River if you come to fish and that   your license expired March 1st. ”

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

Lane  says, ” We are seeing snow coming down from above  on the the ice and under the ice.  Conditions are changing.  I don’t anticipate the ice being safe in a week or so.      Call for conditions if you wish more information.  Hell Creek Marina is open.  The road is plowed and wide open.   The northern pike bite has slowed down.   Lake trout have been caught as well.  There are pockets of water on the ice which is making slush. Make sure you have chains for all your vehicles when you come up. “

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

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

Eddie reports, “ There is water on the edges.  The ice is still holding and  12 to 20 inches deep. Lake trout are biting but one day good and the next day slow.  Walleye and northern pike are on the  slower side   fishing.  Fishing seems to be best for lake trout  at Shaft house, Bear Creek, York Island and Hacksbee. If you bring a 4 x4 or a side by side you will  need   chains on the vehicles  with the snow being so deep.  Snowmobiles are the best choice. The ice is holding right now and is +insulated by the snow. Do not   assume ice depths are all the same. Just be aware.

  You can call us  at 406-526-3442 for details on the ice.

 “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,” Guys are picking up walleye and northern pike in the bays.  They are not aggressive.  The edges are starting to soften up.  There are also slush pockets.  Which are deeper because of the higher temperatures.  The temperatures at night are cold so it freezes up during the night.  Lake trout fishing is improving. Use extreme caution as temperatures warm up.  There is not much snow left.

We have opened the bait and tackle store on Thursday thru Monday and we have everything you need for chasing fish on Fort Peck through the ice. We also have campsites available with power for anyone that wants to bring your camper to the lake. The spots are plowed and on concrete and right on the lake shore. You can access the lake right from your camper. 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  

 Word has it from others the surface of the ice on Cooney is slushy.  The ice has had a lot of snow on it but the warmer temperature is altering that. Conditions are changing daily.

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

Mike says, “Fishing has slowed down but there are people out on Elmo right now   ice fishing (Wednesday). It has slowed down some. There is some snow on the ice still.

People need to know that the West Rosebud Isle Fishing Access   is closed.  That is the one in Fishtail.  There is an ice problem and now flooding there so it is not safe to enter which is why it is closed,” Mike says.

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Pat says,”   We did see  fishermen on the ice  this week. They even built a snowman. It has been windy and cold this week. We still have a foot of snow. The roads have been plowed.”  Deadmans  has over 10 inches of ice some have said.

 Deadmans/Martinsdale Cozy Corner bar Lavina 406-636-2261

 Terry explains, “ The ice conditions are changing and I have had no one that I know who have gone fishing.”

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

 Judy says, “  We did finally get down to Bair.  We used the time to try and get 5 ice shacks off the ice.  It took us 4 days and many hours as it was embedded  down in the ice 16 inches.  Inside the shacks were 6 inches of ice as well.  We did get it out of the ice but we could not get them off the ice as the drifts were too high throughout the ice. There was one group that was ice fishing and they caught a few.  There was not a lot of wind there.”

On  Sutherland there was one shack as well but we heard there were a lot of drifts. We also heard Newlan is drifted throughout so people could not get in to it.”

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 reports , “At Spring Creek the fishing is good.  Someone caught 3 but the biggest problem is access.  In other words getting through the snow to get to it is  tough.

Achley- We have heard it has been poor fishing.  Only a few fish caught. The ice is 1 foot deep.  Drifts on the road if the wind blows can be a problem.

At the East Fork they are catching perch.  Not in numbers but some.

At Bogel  Reservoir by Winnett they are catching perch. ”

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 says,   Crooked Creek Campground and Marina will  still be closed  until Friday due to the snow and drifts.  The ice is 3 feet or better  in the bay according to some people who braved the road.  One group left because trying to drill buried their augar as it was not long enough.  The other group fished Squaw or Nancy Russell Creek.  The fishing was not good.  They just caught small northern pike and walleye.  The snow is melting some but then overnight it freezes again.  The  county road at Crooked Creek was plowed and last I heard the road is okay.  When I was there a week ago  walking around and checking things I think that the drifts are high and crusted but even with walking on them you could suddenly find yourself inside a bank where you could not get out.   Feel free to call the number to get information on conditions.”

 When you can get to Crooked Creek  I suggest you bring minnows if you have them.   I do have some bait but not a lot so I suggest people bring some.

When open Slim is at the marina full time now.  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,”  There is 15 to 20 inches of snow here.  You have to bring chains and shovels.  You can’t be unprepared.  There is  water on the lake toward Hole in the wall. There is water below the ice.  Not a lot of people are fishing but some are catching perch and walleye.  The pressure ridges are anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet.  There is no predicting where more are and they are unpredictable.  Please  stop at the marina before fishing to get information.  Chains may not even be good enough  with a 4 x 4 so I would say try snowmobiles.  There can be drifting because of the wind.  We have 12 to 15 inches of ice.  ”

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 the ice is still good. People are using 4 wheelers.   It still  is hard to get around.   They are catching perch.

On Forchette I know the road is clear.  There is some water on the ice so it does have slush.

You do need a new fishing license now.  It expired  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, “ Tongue- People have said that at  Tongue the ice has pulled away from the edges.  You could still get on walking through water. They caught a few crappies but it was slow.

Big Horn I am being told the Big Horn has fished okay.  It has not been hot or heavy fishing.  The guys were using sow bugs and small midge patterns.

Cooney-I have heard Cooney is slushy.  It has been slow but they did catch some perch

I was near Paradise Valley and the water was not crystal clear more cloudy green which surprised me.

Clarks Fork- the Clarks fork was not muddied up and people were fly fishing.“

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says,” Everyone is waiting for the snow to go.

Madison- I talked to one guy who fished the Madison.  It was open water and slow.

Holter- I have been told Holter is treacherous because of the snow.  There is a lot of snow.  There are pressure ridges   and slush on the ice.  You cannot tell where they are and there is not a lot of ice in some places.

At  Canyon ferry I have heard you better have a snowmobile to  go fishing.  Some people found 33 inches of ice. Some struggled with their auger finishing the hole. They   said  the wind has made many drifts. There are more pressure ridges   “


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 water on  the Big Horn is clear and people tell me is just okay.  I hear there was a small midge hatch early in the afternoon.   The water  is  low.  Try sow bugs with a bit of pink.  For streamers use something in red .  ”

Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375   

“Hale  reports, “ I went fishing yesterday.  Fishing is fair.  The water is pretty cold like 37 degrees.  That makes the fish pretty sluggish.  I used midge and pupa patterns. I also suggest also using sow bugs and slugs.  They are seeing a few midges in the afternoon. Not a lot of dry fly fishing right now. You have to work for the fish. Don’t forget cabins are half price through March.”

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

Madison River

“Despite all the snow, we still struggle to get to the river, the gorges are barely loosening up around here.


Madison flows have come up in the last week. Expect fish to rise to eat midges once the clouds return. In the meantime fish will eat nymphs, a larger stonefly with a smaller midge pattern below. Streamer fishing will be good when the sun is off the water. ” Alice says.

 Yellowstone Park

All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.