Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 12.23.19
By angelamontana

Posted: December 25, 2019
Winter  is here. This year we are still having very unusual weather and that means sudden changes in weather and water.  Outdoor enthusiasts including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes.   Storms like snow and dangerous fire 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.  

***Merry Christmas from the Montana Outdoor Radio Crew.  May you be surrounded by family and friends

This report has been written on Sunday and Monday because of the Christmas on Wednesday and will also be written on the same days next week because of New Years.  .***       

(report compiled by Carol Henckel)

Rock Creek Marina- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt 1-406-230-1283  for Linda 

Marina number is less reliable in winter.  1-406-485-2560

Linda  reports, “ The whole  bay is froze.  Neil and I went out to check the depths.  Neil punched the hole and got 4 inches but when he did another  hole and got 1 inch a foot away.  The ice is not  good, and it is still soft.   It is not safe.  Nowhere is the ice ready.  We have 4 to 5 inches of snow.  The road is snow packed but there is drifting on the “S” curve.  I can see all the way to the north side ramp.  It is beginning to form.  Hopefully the falling temperature will firm it up.  It is not good ice for ice fishing.  We will see how it is next week because the temperature is supposed to drop. ”

If you wish to make reservations for the 2020 summer, please call Monty at 406-465-0241.  If you wish information for winter ice fishing call me, Linda, at the Marina at 1-406-485-2560.  I check my messages fairly often and will return your call.  You can also call me on my cell phone as well 406-230-1283 to get information.   The marina is closed for the season. “


Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports, ” the lake now has 6 inches of  ice at Campers Point, Rattlesnake.  Word has it the north end  a little thinner. Fishermen are catching  mostly  perch.  We definitely have seen more people on the ice this week.  We are seeing some ATV’s and huts out there.  The ice has not changed, and we have about 1 to 2 inches of snow.  It has been cloudy, so the snow has not left.  “

The power and water are turned off. That means the dump station and fish cleaning station are off .  Camping spots 1 to 11 have power but no water through the winter months.    Reservations  are no longer needed for the campground and it is first come first serve.

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, Fletcher /Warden Jordan Staley

Wade  said ,“  I am hearing that there is 6 plus inches on Tongue in some places.  I got a picture from a kid who caught a nice walleye the other day.  Some people have said they have caught crappie  and perch as well.  The way it is looking we plan on opening  the marina on December 28th with lots of minnows.  ”


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

Clint reports, ” we have no ice.  We had 50 degrees yesterday.   We have had two 2 inches at  Boy Scout Point but nowhere safe to use.  The bay at the Marina has barely an inch.  We have to have  days of really cold and not have a lot of wind as we have had.   We need  a cold snap. We usually are later getting ice than other places on Fort Peck. “

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­


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

Haley reports, “ right now there is only ice at the north Dredge Cut.  The ice there is  6 to 10  inches of ice. They say if  you go out a way there  is less ice. They have caught perch and little  walleyes.  They are using sucker minnows .There is no ice on the main lake or by Lake Ridge. We have had nice weather in the 40’s this week.  We have not seen any boats out.   We now have  lots of shiner and sucker minnows available. We also got in the new Jason Mitchel Mack Elite rod  and the Ice fishing Fox River Rods.   “

We can cover all your needs.   Our hours are   7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday.


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

Open  Monday to Friday  11am to 9am/ Saturday and Sunday 8 am breakfast and open to 10pm  Tackle Store is open 7 am to 9pm daily

Scott  reports “  Not much info on fishing as it does not sound like anyone has been out.  It also sounds like the ice on the dredge cuts is getting a little sketchy with this warm weather.“

You can also  call  us at the tackle shop for an up-to-date report if your planning a trip up to  Fort Peck. Our number is 1E406-526-3442. “

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


Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia, Jake

Marina says ,” we do have ice .  The lake is frozen. “ Last week Willow creek had ice with 2 inches of snow on top.  The ice has variable thicknesses.  There is water on the ice.  People have been fishing at Red Lodge Creek, Willow Creek and Marshal Cove by the dam.  I don’t know how much they are catching.  The west side was the last to freeze.  The entire east side has ice, but it was pretty thin last week,  so it is newer ice.   The neighbors are telling me that  the ice is making a lot of noise more than they have ever heard before.  It gets very loud as night falls and through the night so that may mean things are shifting a lot.  Use extreme caution.”

The water has been turned off now.   The electricity is also off except at Marshall Cove and Red Lodge campgrounds.  The docks are pulled. Soon we will be working on dock repairs after the pre-winter maintenance is done.    You no longer need reservations, so the camp sites are first come first serve. The kiosk has the reduced rate for camping  listed.  Remember, your dogs are welcome but don’t forget your leash.


Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Mike Ruggles  tells me, “ one of the employees went out on ice skates and his foot went through by Rogers Pier.  The ice is not as good as it was.  The warmer weather has changed the look of  the ice,  so you have to  use caution.  The ice does not look as good.  We were  seeing  guys out ice fishing last week but lately there have not been  as many.   We need colder weather.  People need to use caution.

I did hear that the Big Horn has improved fishing wise.  It is still slower but when they catch fish, I hear they are bigger fish.

I  did intend to go to Barry’s to try for sauger  and browns, but I did not get there this weekend.  I was told it was decent fishing and this is the time I usually do well there.

Wherever you go just really pay attention to conditions because of the warm weather we are having.“


 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Tony reports,” we saw  a  fishermen out there on the ice.  It is definitely new ice and  very thin.  Not really safe to be on and  he left after a short time.  So I would say you need to be really careful as I don’t think it is safe yet. ”


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

Terry reports, “ Some people have said  Bair has ice.  Guys are starting to catch some fish. I talked to some people who live near Martinsdale and people  are saying there is still some open water. There is  ice but it is not thick yet.  It always takes longer at Martinsdale to freeze over.    “


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

Rick reports,” fishing out at Bair has been really good.  There is 6 inches of ice.  The fishermen went out and they limited out in no time. There have been people on  Sutherlan  but guys are saying the fishing is fair.  It has 8 inches of ice.   Martinsdale has only okay  fishing .  The wind was bad and blew them off.  There is still open water in the middle and the ice  is barely enough.

The trout in these waters seem to be deep.  The fellow fishing Sutherlan  went for ling and got none using a tip up.  ”


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

Jon  reports , “  fishing  has been extremely quiet. Not much happening.  The snow has melted.  Now there is 1 inch of water in places on the ice.  We have heard Hanson and at Carters pond have 5 to 6 inches thick.  Of course the warmer temperatures have made changes.

Spring Creek can still be fished.  It is open water.  They are using a panther martin or a  mepps. ”


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

The marina is open.  We are open 7 am to 7 pm every day.

Slim  reports, “ We have had a lot of people  up here.   There is 9 to 10 inches of ice in the bay.  It goes toward Soda Creek and up to UL Bend.  Anderson Point has 4 ½ to 5 inches of ice.   The fishermen are using minnows and smelt.  For the few  walleye  they caught they are going 12 to 17 feet deep. The northern pike fishing  has been slow.  They are not catching as many.  Most are catching crappie and perch.  Someone caught one catfish.

We will be closed December 24th and 25th so no one will be at Crooked Creek. I will come back on December 26th in the morning,   “

The road is okay and has 3 inches of snow on it.  Last week  people hauling  campers I suggested  they chain up at the Lookout.”


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports, “we are now completely open with no ice.  I would suggest no one put a boat in right now.  It has been 50 degrees some days.  We are not making ice at all.   ”

The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.

The Flamingo is closed.


West Side Sports Jim Mayer 1-406-654-1611  

Jim reports,  “Nelson continues to  have good  ice.  I was told that the ice varies from 7 to  13 inches  of ice at Nelson.  It depends on where you are on the ice.  Some people have  had  shacks on it.  Use four wheelers with caution because of the slush under the snow in places.  Guys have caught perch, walleye and northern pike.  Many are using tip ups or jigging.  They are using minnows.  Some are spearing for northerns.

On Forchete there is 7 inches in the bay.  I  heard one fellow  was out for 4 to 5 days and he kept 18 walleyes total and 6 northern pike  in the 5 to 8-pound range.  ”

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


Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce  reports, “ Fishing has been slow in some places through the ice at Cooney .  Cooney I was told had 8   inches in some places.  Proceed with caution.  The guys have caught perch and rainbow trout.   It is not consistent so be really careful if you go out.

Scheels Pond-The  ice is cloudy, so it no longer looks like it is good for ice fishing. We have had some warm weather and I would not go on it right now.

The East Fork people say  is fishing good.  They are catching perch.

At Crooked Creek some fellows were catching some nice size northern pike.  I saw a picture of a nice 21 pounder,  they caught 2 or 3 crappie using minnows.

Nelson on the south end of the dry arm.  – Some one went out and they had very poor fishing this week.

On the Stillwater one fellow said fishing was slow.  He thought the water was so cold they were sluggish.

I talked  to someone who fished by Forsyte  on the Yellowstone River and caught some walleye there.  They were jigging.

I have talked to several people from Wyoming.  On the Sunshine fishing was very slow for them.  Another  guy said the fishing was moderate the day that he went.  ”


Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “  The Jefferson,  Gallatin and Madison  rivers  definitely are open. I see no ice chunks.   The temperature here has been 41 to 39 degrees.  Today is 49 degrees.

I also heard from someone that the wind came up and blew all of the ice off the water.  No fishing there right now.

I have heard there is some nice ice at Crooked Creek for fishing.    ”


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

Chris reports,”  on the Stillwater you will  be seeing less slush if you fish because of the . There is  open water on the Yellowstone, but  the edges are slippery . You can  try nymphing with a beadhead.   You might see some hatches late in the afternoon.   My shop is closed except by appointment now.”


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

Beau says, “  I fished on the Big Horn  this week. Fishing was pretty good.  The water is clear.   Try streamer fishing as it is working okay.  In a few spots  orange scuds and midge larva nymphs were working.  The  pseudo patterns should work around   noon.    You  are catching rainbows. Most of the time.  Please stay off the reds as they are out there. “


Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375   Rick/Stephanie

A fisherman  told me , “fishing was   good this week.  The water is now clear.  Fishermen are seeing  baetes.  Look for them around 3- mile  between noon and three o’clock .  When it is  overcast and cloudy use streamers.  Please pay attention to where you are standing when you fish as you may be standing on reds. .   Stay off the reds, the browns have started.”

We are in winter  hours and are open  8 am to 12 every day.


Madison River Outfitters- West Yellowstone – Tom Forsberg.  Open 730am-9pm  406-646-9644.

 West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 10/7/19 


No further fishing report until Spring