Montana Rainbow Trout Fishing in the Spring

Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 4.17.19
By angelamontana

Posted: April 18, 2019

Spring is almost here and that means sudden changes in weather and water on ice. Ice conditions are deteriorating  and flooding could become a problem.  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

Linda reports,” I hear the ice is off the marina bay and out further from some fishermen.  The  wind has been blowing quite a bit.  I also heard there was a few lake trout were caught.”

*** Monty is  available to make reservations for spring by calling 1-406-465-0241 and he can set you up.  He can help you.

Neil is recovering slowly from his health emergency and Linda  says they will be coming up in a couple of days. .  Please keep them in your thoughts.


Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Spencer reports, “  The wind has been blowing a lot this week.  We have had a rainy week.  We have had sporadic  boats on the water.  I saw three boats.  The water level is up to 75 percent of full.  I think we will be at full pool soon.  It has been frosty in the mornings.   Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows  you may use on Tongue.

Everything is still shut down. The electricity and water are not on yet.  Docks are not in yet.  The cleaning station is still closed.  There are sites still open at Campers Point #1 to 11 and they have electric hookups on year round.  Remember to check your regulations for the information for this region about what minnows  you may use on Tongue. “


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

Wade, the marina owner reports, “Tongue is without ice.  It has been raining but the bass fishing was good fishing for some. They said they were in the shallows in the coves.  One guy was using jigs with minnows or worms.  There was very few walleye caught.  The water temperature on the north end is 4 degrees and the water temperature on the south end has been 46 degrees.  People are telling me the fish are stacked up and not active.  One guy did catch a nice 4 pound sauger.  The marina  Is open and I now have minnows.  It is set up for spring with supplies, food, drinks and beer for your camping needs.  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  

Clint says,” The Tough Guy tournament is on Saturday.  The meal is on Friday night and you can still sign up. Just call for information.   People who went  out on the water and are catching lakers right now at 15 to 25 feet from the mouth of the bay to toward the dam.  A few  guys went out and  did catch a few northern pike.  There has been  some wind so not many  people were out.   You can fish heading toward the main lake.“

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, “The fishing has been good.  It has been decent fishing for walleyes.  Guys are using a jig with a minnow and some plastic.  It has been fair fishing  at Bear  Creek to Hacksbee at depths of 1 to 25 feet.  They are getting lots of lake trout at the dam.  A few pike have been caught  but one guy caught a nice 12 pound salmon while fishing for walleye at 3 feet using a minnow.    The water has been coming up ¾ inches  every day this week.  The water temps have been from 34.9 to 34.8 degrees.   You do find patches of ice still on the water in places.  It has been cold at night below freezing.

You can call us at 406-526-3442 for details. “

Our hours are   7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday.


Fort Peck Marina  Jessica & Scott Collinsworth   1-406-565-6283

Thursday, Friday and Monday  noon to 1 pm / Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 10 pm We will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Duck Creek it is wide open and you can launch a boat in the entire bay.  You can go on the main lake.  Toward the face of the dam the ice is leaving.

The river fishing is real slow fishing on the Milk .  With the milk blown out it is just rough fishing.

We do have live bait.  “

We have been filling up the bait and tackle store.  We also have campsites available with power for anyone that wants to bring your camper to the lake. The spots are concrete and right on the lake shore. You can access the lake right from your camper. If you need a  fishing license renewed you can  do it at the marina.


Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia  

Marina says,” Sixty percent of the water is clear of ice.  You can shore fish.  A few fishermen have gotten rainbows from shore.  Red Lodge campground has the ice gone.  The wind has been strong some days.  Have not heard of any other fish caught.  Please remember dogs are welcome at Cooney but remember your leashes.”

The fish cleaning station is still open.  The boat ramps are still  out.  The

Campgrounds are open except Cottonwood. The drinking water is still shut down.  Our electric is on year around.


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

People are catching a few fish.  People say it is slow right  bites right now as the water is cold.

The Big Horn I am hearing is also  slow fishing but very clear.

At Oka Bay they are catching some walleye. Cooney is still working on  opening up. Fishermen have  said it was slow fishing from shore.“


 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Pat says,”  the ice was finally off the water on Sunday.  The dock is not in yet.    We only saw one guy  fishing this week from shore. We have seen fish jumping so they are there just not real active in the cold water.  We did have a couple of campers here this week.”


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

Terry explains, “  A couple of guys went to Deadmans and fished from shore but said it was slow.

They got a bite they said here and there but catching was something else.   I also talked to couple who went to Crooked Creek.  They caught a 15  pound and 20 pound northern pike.  The wife proudly said she caught the biggest one. ”


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

Judy says, “Rick did go up and fish from shore at  Bair but the wind made it miserable.  Not many bites.  There is still  ice out on the water.  The shore is muddy.  It has been cold at night with temperatures of 20 degrees.  ”


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

John reports , “  At Spring Creek  the water has cleared up. It is fishing well.

Achley- The ice is off Achley.  People are catching an occasional  Muskie from shore.

The Fort Robinson access on the Missouri is closed.

On the East Fork and Hanson Dam I saw it wasn’t open on the edges yet on Sunday.

On the Missouri it is muddy and some cats have been caught.

Crooked Creek-  A few guys went out in boats at Crooked  Creek.  Some guys caught a few northern pike.

Our Grand Opening will be April 27th  in our new building.  There will be free food and beverages. Boats to look at in the lot.  Also some prizes to win.  Come and enjoy the excitement. ”

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,  “ The water is open but stained. Guys have said so far there is not a lot of debris in the water.   You can launch a boat.  Last week I know of two boats went out and were able to go all the way to Forchette and 7 Blackfoot.   The fishing was slow they said.  The water temperatures were 47 degrees.  I do know that guys who fished from the bank  caught northern pike and catfish.  They used smelt and cut bait.  The wind and rain shut down the bite at times.

The Crooked Creek walleye Classic Fishing Tournament is on May 5th and 6th.  It is part of the Walleye Circuit.  It has a 75 team cap and as of right now I have 60 entries so it is filling up.  If you need more information go to the Walleye Circuit website.  So if you wish to participate  call or go to the website  to sign up.

Right now, I will  open the Marina April 26th.    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.

If you have questions call Slim at 406-366-6313 and leave a message.


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon    46-266-3100

Sharon   says,” The conditions on Canyon Ferry is changing right now daily.  There still is ice on Canyon Ferry.   There are still large sheets if ice bergs floating out there and the wind is blowing the ice in and out. It was more open yesterday and today the ice has blown right in to the shore.  You can fish from shore sometimes but you never know when we will have a shore.  The ice is in big sheets.  and they are catching some perch, smaller walleye and trout.  With the warm weather predicted on Friday who knows what the ice will do.  The best thing to do is  call us to see what is happening as it is changing often. ”

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,” Forchette has open water.  There is access available  to get on.  The water is stained at this time and low.

Nelson is opening up.  A few guys launched in on the north end.  The dock is in on the north end.  They had wind on the weekend but a few caught some small perch until the wind got stronger.    They turned the canal on last a week ago  so it will change things. “

Don’t forget you do need a new fishing license now.  It expired  March 1st.”

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


 Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce reports, “

Yellowtail –On  Yellowtail people say they are jigging. They are catching  but it has slowed down for smallmouths.

Tongue-On Tongue the water is wide open but the water is still cold.   I heard fishing was slow this past weekend.

Cooney-People said there is a little  ice still .  People have shore fished but the water is cold.

Stillwater- The Stillwater has opened up.  Some guys are using a wire worm.  Guys are nymphing for trout. The Upper Stillwater started earlier than the lower but you can fish both right now.

Forchette- I talked someone who went and it was clear and slow fishing.  Still cold water.

Boulder-I had some good reports on the Boulder.  The guys said it was fishing well.  They caught  trout and white fish and said the water was not too high.

Fort Peck-Someone went to Crooked  Creek  and found it fairly muddy and pretty cold.  The road is rough coming in. “


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says,” we have had rain often and lots of wind.   The Rivers are  open now but a lot more  muddy this week.  It looks like gruel in some places.  The Missouri is muddy heading to Canyon Ferry as well.

They are coming up.

I had some guys who went out on Saturday but the water was 40 degrees so there were not bites.  Just too cold of water. It has been 38 degrees at night.

Canyon Ferry- At  Canyon Ferry I am hearing  people can’t fish yet.  The ice is blowing in and out. “


Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill, Ken, Jasmine

Chris says,”  The lower Stillwater has opened up. The water is pretty cold  and clear on the lower parts.  Use a nymph when it is clear skies . When it is overcast try a blue wing . Use a nymph like a midge pattern.  The March brown is not working right now. Try a rubber leg as well.

The Yellowstone looks better.  It does have  color now and with the rain it will probably  be more off color soon.  Clarity has improved.”


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

Beau hears,” I have been out fishing this  week several days.  Fishing is still slow on the Big Horn.   The water is clear.  The fish are a little more active although the water is cold.    They are sitting low in the water.  Look for  a very specific deep spot.  Fish that spot. Stay there but realize there will be only a certain number of fish there and you will have to find another one. If you work the holes you will catch some fish but you have to work for them.  There is not a  lot of surface activity. Try nymphing.   This week  pink  sow bugs worked consistently. It is good water for floating from After Bay  to Big Horn access.  ”


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375   

“Rick reports, “ The CFS is still 3200. People are coming and fishing the Big Horn. It is crystal clear.   The water is still cold right now at 36 to 37  degrees. The bottom portion has been 37 degrees. Try a two tone scud like a gray or tan ray.   Try  an orange or pink scud.  There are baetes seen but it is too cold so they are not keying  into them.  The streamers are not working.  The fish are lethargic.  ”

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

On calm days you can see midges hatching and a few blue winged olive mayflies showing up. Nymphing is good the rest of the time with stonefly nymphs and either Midge or mayfly patterns.
If you wanted to fish streamers, Olive or black work most days.

Yellowstone Park

All fishing in Yellowstone is closed until 2019.