Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report Compilation 1.29.20
By angelamontana

Posted: January 30, 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.

(reports 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, “we had lots of people this weekend fishing. People were fishing around our area going north and in the bay. There is 12 to 15 inches of ice in our bay. On the north side in the main lake there is 6 inches of ice. It is super hard ice. People caught 10 norther pike that we heard of. One 30-inch trout was caught on a minnow. People were using smelt. The water was murky, so spearing was not an option. They are using 4×4 ‘s and side by sides. The weather was warm, and we did see a bit of ice pulling away from the shore. You could still get on the ice on Tuesday. There are a few small pressure ridges starting. We did hear that Little Bug has 4 pressure ridges. This week will be in the 30’s the weatherman says so I would suggest that you call for conditions. The road is good. The nights have been cold, and we only have a small skiff of snow.”

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 again this weekend. It picked up a little this week I hear. The ice is 12 to 14 inches of ice. It seems to be better early morning and late evening. You really had to search. Northern pike were being calling and some were able to spear for the. We saw some perch this week, but they were small. There is some open water below the dam. They are using ATVs and putting shacks 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

People have reported It was a little better weekend of fishing . People were catching northern pike and more perch. They found them jigging with minnows. Change your located as some are suspended. The ice is clear, and the water is clear. 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

Staff reports, ”people are here so I have been kept busy. There is 6 inches in the main. . Boy Scout now has 10 to 12 inches. They are catching northern pike. The Marina bay has 9 to 10 inches. They are using 4 wheelers. It has been cold. . People have been catching. Someone caught a 20-pound lake trout. Lots of northern pike have been caught. They are picking up some walleye but not big ones. I have sold a lot of minnows so that is what they are using with some smelt. 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, Haley 1-406-526-3597

Eddie reports, “ people are catching lake trout. The fishing has been good. They also are catching walleye, northern pike and even a 16-year old caught a salmon. A few sauger has been caught. They are catching lake trout more on this end. The pike are at 10 to 25 feet depths with a lot of them being found at 17 feet depths. There is 8 to 9 inches of ice on the dry arm. On Saturday they were catching more in the bay. People are jigging at 30 to 65 feet for lake trout. The majority of guys were fishing Duck Creek, Bear Creek and at the dam. ”

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 “ I got out fishing and it was really good. Here are the ice conditions around the dam. We drilled a pile of holes over the weekend. Best ice we saw was 10 inches and the worst was 7 inches. There are definitely suspect areas as well, so please check ice as you venture into new areas.

Walleyes and Pike-The best bite seemed to be in 8 to 22 feet of water off structures and the main lake points. We would drill holes, fish for a half hour and if nothing happened continued to move to the next spot. This kept us on fish most of the day. The most consistent bite came on a northland spoon or a Johnson thin fish spoon in blue and silver and pink and white. We also did okay with tip-ups and live minnows but jigging definitely outperformed them.

Lake trout- The lake trout bite for us was a little hit or miss with our fish coming out of 25 to 60 feet. Bait choice was clam leech flutter spoons and cotton jigs with big tube baits. Same patterns as chasing pike and walleyes. Fish a spot for a period of time and if the fish aren’t there move to the next spot. Be mobile on the ice to increase your catch rates. Good luck everyone and please stay safe on the ice.

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

Kayla reports, “we have some changes in the ice, It appears darker in the middle. People have not been using pickups, but people are walking onto the ice. Cooney did have ice 5 to 16 inches of ice and the entire lake is still frozen. There is someone out there right now, but I have no idea if they have caught anything. “

Reports from other fishermen I heard from say they have been catching some fish. They are saying fishing is slow. Fishing conditions are changing people have suggested in those conversations.

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

Unable to get Bob for a report. From other reports I hear the ice is still there, but the warm weather has altered its condition. I was told the edges were pulling away. We will have to see how this warm weather will change things so be careful. “

Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat

Pat reports,” there were a couple of fishermen out there. They were fishing close to shore and fishing for only short times. The ice does look different and there is open water on the far side. You can see some shifting of the ice with the wind.”

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

Terry reports, “ Broadwater pond continues to have fishermen on it . The weather has been warming so anyone ice fishing should check for changes. People here have been dealing with hunting and not talking fishing this week. “

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

Rick reports,” I talked to one group that fished for 2 days and got their limit on Bair and threw back a number as well. I also spoke to a couple of others who people went and fished and only got one each of two days. On Saturday there were 16 groups of people fishing on Bair on Saturday. There is 10 to 12 inches of ice at Bair. Sutherland had a few groups fishing but I did not hear how they did. On Martinsdale this week I heard the ice is pretty precarious and there is some open water 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 , “ at the Achley lake trout tournament last Saturday the winning trout was 4 pounds. There were 12 trout caught. Someone caught a nice 41-inch muskie at the tournament.

Hell Creek- On Hell Creek I talked to some guys who went to Hell Creek .There were 6 guys and they had a total of 36lines and fished 6 days. They caught lots of pike.

Nelson Creek – People have been saying Nelson Creek on the dry arm is fishing well. They are catching walleye. They are using a buckshot rattle spoon and jigging.

Nelson Reservoir- Nelson Reservoir was not real stellar fishing this week for us. We had a total of 30 lines. We caught little northern pike and some smaller perch.

East Fork- On East Fork the fishing was okay. The perch caught were 6 to 8 inches. They were using maggots and wax worms. “

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.

Gary reports, “ the ice is good. There is 15 to 20 inches anywhere you fish. There is a little melt around the edges. The water has been stained for the last 3 days because of the warmer weather melt . People have caught a few walleye. It is clearer water closer to Squaw Creek. Many people have been running to Lost Creek on 4 wheelers. They were trying both tip-ups as well as jigging. We have quite a few people here. The bite has been definitely slower. The walleye bite is slow. I know of 3 guys who came in and each caught one. Another fisherman fished all day and caught one walleye. The road is rough as it is snow packed. It is really icy so be really careful. If you are pulling something, I suggest you chain up at the CMR sign. Drive slow. ”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon reports,” I would we have medium ice. Most people are fishing on the shore here. Some are going way down to Pond 4 to fish. It is getting soft. They are fishing at Duck Creek and Confederate. I will say don’t cross the lake if it is changing with the weather. Call to get information. No matter where you are be careful.”

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

The Flamingo is closed.

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

Mindy reports, “The fishing on Nelson is okay. It has been good. Minnows seem to be hot and the bait of choice. People are catching some nice pike. They are jigging for perch bite and it is slow during the day but comes on right before dark. It definitely was more active then. Nelson continues to have good ice at 10 to 12 inches. Guys have shacks on it and four wheelers are being used. People are using minnows. Some are spearing for northerns.

On Forchete there is 7 inches in the bay, but I have not heard if they are catching. ”

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

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt

Elmo-The fishing has been slow. I heard the ice was now sketchy.

Cooney- At Cooney people are saying it has been slow fishing. They were catching some rainbow trout. They are fishing for ling at night. A few perch were being caught again.

Tongue- At Tongue most guys have been saying fishing was slow . Some come back saying they are catching crappie and some little perch.

Big Horn- Lots of locals heading to the Big Horn. They are saying the fishing is okay. I I talked to a fellow who went spin casting and caught a few fish. He did say he caught a nice brown.

Scheels Pond- It has been quiet down at the pond. You can see that the ice is slowly leaving. With the warm weather be careful no matter where you go fishing. “

Rich’s Tackle Richard 406-285-4540

Rich says, “ The Jefferson, Gallatin and Madison rivers definitely are open now with no ice. I have not seen anyone fishing when I go past there.

At Canyon Ferry there is ice. Guys are catching on the south end by the dikes and they said it was 14 inches. That was this weekend. They said Confederate had 9 inches. It still has been down to the 20’s at night and the 38 degrees during the day. When they catch it is mostly rainbows. Only a few perch they said they caught.

Harrison- I was told that Harrison is still pretty good. That is in Clark Canyon by Dillion.

Hell Creek- I talked to some fishermen that went to Hell Creek and did really well on northern pike. They did say the road was a bobsled ride so chain up.”

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

On the Stillwater things have opened up because of the warmer weather. There is open water on the Yellowstone . Try nymphing with a bead head. Some have seen 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

I was out of town this week, so I did not fish here at all.

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

Rick explains,” we have had good weather this week. We have had lots of walk ins fish the Big Horn this week. The CFS is 3200 and people are definitely catching. I am getting good reports. It is better nymphing when you get out of the boat to fish. Some people are seeing midges in the afternoon. Nymphing seems to be steady. Use a juju when you see some baetes. When using midge patterns try a smoke jumper or a sipper midge as they are working. If it is cloudy try streamers. They are catching some nice rainbows and some browns. Try a big scud, like size 14, 16 in orange. You can use a thin mint, a JJ, a dirty hippy, a Diety, a big horn special or the favorite wooly bugger. For Nymphs use a 16 or 18 soft tackle. I did here that some guys are fishing on the river and catching fish.”

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