Central/Eastern MT Fishing Report 1.15.20
By angelamontana

Posted: January 16, 2020

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.

(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, “it is 4 below right now and it was 7.8 below last night. We have snow today of about 2 inches, so we now have 3 or 4 inches. The lake looks like a flat white blanket. There is 3 inches of ice by the house. We have had three ice houses out there this week with 7 to 10 fishermen. They did use some 4 wheelers, but you should be careful. They came into fish on the north side and must have stayed at a house over there.

Neil got a message from someone that Little Bug had a foot of ice and the group only caught a few fish.” ”

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, ” we had a fair amount of people here this weekend. People have said fishing was “decent” to me. They have caught more perch, but also crappie, pike, small mouth and pike. The ice is about 12 inches. No one I talked to had gotten their limits. The crappies seem to be biting better after 4 pm people are saying. On Sunday night someone caught a nice batch. They are using ATVs and putting huts on. Don’t forget people that camping fees still apply in winter. “

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 ,“ It was a better weekend of fishing, I think. I personally know of multiple people who did really well. People said they were finding the perch at 18 to 22 feet. Someone caught 30 perch, 15 nice ones, 10 crappies and a bass. Someone got a sauger jigging off the bottom. A disabled vet spearing a nice 12-pound pike. They are using Tongue River Marina’s frisky minnows and catching. The ice is clear, and the water is clear under it as well. The Marina is open on Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 am to noon. The guys are using ATVs, 4 wheelers and side by sides on the ice. ”

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

Clint reports, ” Boy Scout now has 8 inches. They are catching northern pike. You cannot get out to where the walleye normally are because the ice is not ready yet. The Marina to main at Peterson has about 4 inches. It is not ready for 4 wheelers yet. It is really cold we had -4 degrees last night. So by the weekend more should have frozen up. We suggest you put chains on before the big hill. There are some patches of slick patchy ice that unless you know where they are you could be in trouble. You can’t see it. It is really slick. “

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Eddie reports, “ they are catching fish at the dry arm and at Nelson and McGuire Creek. They are catching northern pike and walleye . In 3 days they caught 48 and of those 12 or13 were walleye. I did hear Nelson and McGuire Creek have 12 inches. They are finding the fish at depths of 10 to 20 feet depths. Things are freezing up today so I think that we will be locked up soon. It is supposed to continue to be really cold. “

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 “ Good news, the lake finally capped over today and we should have fishable ice on the main lake shortly as long as the winds don’t blow too hard. Nelson creek and McQuire continue to produce good northerns and some big walleyes. We will be out testing the ice around the dam area in the next couple days and will keep everyone updated on our Facebook page of how things are going. Keep your fingers crossed ice season at the dam 2020 is about to get rolling.

If you have any questions please call us at 406-526-3442 “ 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

Cooney has ice and the entire lake is frozen. There is 10 plus inches at Marshall Cove. They have been catching some fish, but it is slow people say.

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

Bob explains,” as of last night (Monday) there was a big crescent shaped opening out in the center of the lake. There is a little opening open by the pier. The ice is still there over by the boat ramp and at this time a few people are fishing. It will get too thin with the warm weather coming I suspect. Give it a couple of days and it will change. “

Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat

Pat reports,” there have been fishermen out there since Thursday. This week we saw five trucks come here. We saw 9 fishermen out this week ice fishing . We did not hear whether they caught anything. We also saw 9 vehicles at Broadview pond one day and a couple another day. So must be catching something.”

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

Terry reports, “ there were three fishermen who went out on the 11th to Basin. They got three rainbow trout, that was all. They said they were not hitting very hard. They had a tv they put down in the hole and they could see them, but they did not bite much. The ice as 10 inches. “

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

Judy reports,” some people went ice fishing this week at Bair. They said fishing was just fair. They only caught a few and they said it took quite a while to catch them. There is 10 to 12 inches of ice at Bair. I did not hear how Sutherland was fishing. No news on Martinsdale except that they should really check the ice if you go there. ”

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 , “ don’t forget about the Central Montana perch tournament at East Fork this Saturday, January 18, 2020. It is from 8 am to 2 pm You can sign up that day. It is $60.00 for a two-man team and $10 for big fish . The rules meeting is at 7:30am

Hanson- There is good ice at Hanson . There is 6 inches of thick ice. There is a decent bite. They are catching rainbow trout on nightcrawlers.

Crooked Creek- We have heard fishing is steady at Crooked Creek.

Nelson- People have been saying Nelson is good fishing. There is a good perch bite happening .

East Fork- On East Fork the fishermen are saying it has been good fishing. They are catching some nice perch.

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 quite a few people here. It has been busy around here. I would say the bite is steady not Steller. I think the snowstorm turned it off. The guys are catching nice fish it just is not fast and furious. They are catching all the fish, walleye, northern pike, crappie and perch. The bite is shallow for all of the fish, like 3 to 7 feet down. Tip ups are working fifty, fifty of the time and jigging is the other with minnows and smelt. For jigging they have been using a rattling rippon or a flutter spoon in pink.

The road is passable. I suggest you chain up at the CMR sign if you are pulling something. It has been really cold here, like 12 below.”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Whitney reports, “we have 4 to 6 inches of ice in the bay. They say there is 8 to 9 inches by the Osprey Entrance.

The ice is just not safe in some places still so a decision for the Lions Perch Derby ice fishing tournament on January 25th and 26th. Will be made tomorrow (Thursday) so it can be put in the newspaper. If you want to know what is happening stop in or call for information. ”

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, “The fishing on Nelson is decent. The northern pike bite is on, so people are catching some nice ones. The walleye bite is slow. The perch bite is also on. It continues to have good ice but that is because it has been 10 to 11 below. . Some people have had shacks on it. Four wheelers are being used. . 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 know guys are going there but they are not saying how the fishing was. ”

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

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt

At Crooked Creek people say if you know where to go you can do well with a flutter spoon with a minnow. They do say it has been steadier fishing than last week .

Cooney I was told has been slow fishing. They said they are marking them at 50 feet. They seem to be suspended at 20 feet and cruising really slow. They are just not biting as much.

At Tongue the guys it has been a mixed bag with fishing. Some come back saying they are catching crappie and some little perch others not.

Hell Creek- Someone said there is ice in the bay but not much ice. It has been slow fishing.

Rock Creek- I talked to someone who went fly fishing and did pretty well.

I also heard Petrolia fishing has been quiet. They are going but not saying how they did.

At Nelson by Malts people say the fishing has been good.

Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540

Rich says, “ The Jefferson, Gallatin and Madison rivers definitely now has chunks of ice floating in them.

At Canyon Ferry there has been a lot of ice. On the south end guys were fishing quite a way out. Someone said there was 4 inches of ice . They were catching some ling this week during the day. Others were catching trout and a few walleye. There was some open water on Saturday.

I have heard there is some 9 inches of nice ice at Crooked Creek for fishing. I also heard fishing was okay. ”

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 have not been fishing on the Big Horn this week just way too cold. I would say huddle up inside and stay warm.“

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

Only a few people were out fishing, and they were not out for very long. It is just too cold. The only person who was out there yesterday was a fisherman from Minnesota and he said his line was freezing up a lot. Today he booked a half day float so he must do well with the cold. It should be better this weekend when we are supposed to see 40-degree weather. ”

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