Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 3.4.2020
By angelamontana

Posted: March 5, 2020
Winter  is here. The unusual weather and sudden changes in weather temperatures, ice conditions, wind  and  water mean everyone needs to be vigilant when being outside.   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, “  The ice as of late Wednesday has really deteriorated today. We had 3 people who have been there for several days leave early because the ice was no longer safe enough to be on.   There is water on ice in areas. We got word one person went through the ice today at Little Bug, so it has just deteriorated since yesterday afternoon.  It has not been freezing at night.  It is now pulling from the edges  You do have to use caution and pay attention.  It is opening because of the wind.  Today we have less snow and it rained all morning.  If the weather continues it will change quickly.  Be careful.”

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

Spencer reports, ” It has been warmer here lately.  We are almost out of snow.  The edges are getting soft. I talked to a 79-year-old fisherman who said he found 4 inches of milky slush frozen on top and below that he found 12 inches of frozen ice.  We have a lot of tributaries this week were fed by seasonal wash, so you saw muddy water coming down.  That run was for a short time  and now it is done.  He reported was about the same, but he had better  luck in the evening and caught crappie.  We did  have 12 to 16 inches of ice but that could change with warmer temperatures. “

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 explained, “ Fishing was pretty good this past weekend .  I had two guys who came in and had caught 60 crappies in the two days.  It is good ice as of now.  The fishermen were still finding 12 inches plus of ice.  Late in the day people were reporting it was slushy on top of the ice but then it has been freezing at night still.  Keep an eye on the edges as they may change as we have warmer weather. We will be  open this weekend.  Keep an eye on the Facebook page for further news on ice conditions during the week. ”

The Marina  is open on Saturday and Sunday  from 6:00 am to noon.


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

Clint reports, ”the northern pike is still decent.   They are using smelt or minnows.  The lake trout ae out a bit more out yonder. I think we are down to the last few days for ice fishing because of the warmer weather and wind.  I think the shore Iine will change and start pulling away. I would suggest that that when you make plans call to get the ice conditions. “

Hell Creek Marina is open 7 days a week. ­­­­­­­

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

Haley reports, “ we still have 13 to 16 on the main.  I went fishing and found some lake trout in the 13 to 16-inch range.   People  are catching  some walleye,  but the bite has slowed.  The walleye and pike are  at depths of 10 to 18 feet depths.  Someone who was jigging for walleye caught an 18 ½ pound salmon.   With the warming front things will definitely change.  The tournament is definitely on.  Use caution when you go across.  Do not trust the tracks of others. Do your own check.  Dad called me to ask what route I had taken to go out and he found it had changed in a couple of hours and was not a good option.  You really need to check yourself. The pressure ridges are always changing.  Stay away from the shorelines as they do change.  Use good judgement while you are having fun. “

The 48-hour Fort Peck ice fishing  Tournament is on March 6th, 7th and 8th.  It is full at this time.

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 “  ice conditions.-The ice stayed in fairly good shape overall as we are seeing 13-14 inches over much of the lake.  The main areas of concern are still the pressure ridges.  With the warmer temps they have been opening up but luckily, we’ve been seeing below freezing temps at night to firm them back up  Guys crossing  them on side by sides and atv’s have been carrying planks to get back across them in the evenings.  Also we are seeing open water in the bays around islands and shallow structure that is holding a lot of heat right now. Please travel safely and pay attention to your maps and surroundings to avoid these areas.  The main concern is the weather coming  at  us over the weekend.  We have high winds and warm temps which could deteriorate ice conditions very rapidly so please don’t assume your routes are safe from day to day.  We have a projected high of 61 on Friday which could wreak havoc on our ice.  I will try and post daily outdates on the Fort Peck Marina Facebook page for everyone.

Walleyes fishing-fishing has been great with minnows under tip-ups and also jigging spoons and minnow heads in 8 to 15 feet of water. The fish seem to be staging on points back in the bays anticipating spring. .  .

Pike fishing-  Fishing has steadily been picking up with some absolute giants being caught using big suckers and smelt under tip-ups.  Main lake points are still holding some good fish, but it seems the pike are also heading into the bays looking for those prime spring areas.

Lake Trout-Lake trout fishing was a little tough for a couple days last week but starting Saturday they went on the chomp again.  While tube jigs seemed to be the most consistent bait in the early mornings but when the sun went high Rapala Rip n raps and slab raps were a very consistent bait.  Purple was our number  one color with skiers and blues taking good fish as well.  Fish seemed to be active and moving were some days 40 feet of water was key and the next big girls were cruising in 70-80.

Stop in the bait store or give us a call 406-526-3442  for the most up to date reports and to let us help point you in the right direction for a great trip.  We have all the tackle and live bait to make your trip a successful one.

Again, I can’t stress enough please be careful on this ice and don’t take chances you don’t need to take.“

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia, Jake

I have not been able to reach anyone at Cooney.  I spoke to someone who was at Boyd and he said he was surprised at the amount of snow still on the ground. I have no knowledge of the ice conditions at this time.

Please make sure your vehicle is being driven on the road and you have your dog on a leash. .

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 reports, “the two huge blocks that were out on Elmo are pushed to shore and are almost gone.  The wind did a number on that, so Elmo is open.  With the wind no one has been using it.   We did have some people  who fished from the pier into the open water there.

Remember you need a new fishing license now as of March 1st.  ”

 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Pat reports,” we have not seen any  fisherman here this week. We do have more open water out there and it is starting to break up. With the warm and wind things are changing quickly. ”

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

Staff reports, “ a couple of  guys  went to Bair last week but there has been no word on anyone fishing in the last few days.“­­­­­

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

Rick  reports,” the wife and I fished Bair on the weekend.  The ice was very good.  There was 20 inches of ice.  We caught 7 trout.  The wind was blowing , and the temperature was 50 degrees.  You do have to use caution as the edges were softening up.    I heard they were catching ling on Sutherland  this week. I heard  Martinsdale has some open water.   ”


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 , “   the local ponds are still okay locally for ice fishing.

East Fork- On East Fork they were catching perch and still have good ice.

Nelson Creek –  I would  say head to  Nelson Creek on the dry arm as it is  fishing well for the fly fisherman.

Hanson – The ice is still good for ice.  People are catching trout. They have  caught trout  using power bait and night crawlers.

Spring Creek- You can fish Spring Creek. No problem with the shoreline right now.

Achley- Use caution when fishing Auchley.  The ice looks okay on Saturday or Sunday.  Watch for changes with the ice because of the wind.  “

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

The marina is open.  We are closed for the month of March until the ice is gone and it is safe to shore fish.

Slim reports, “I was at Crooked Creek on Monday to do some work and the wind and weather was brutal.  It was blowing 40 mph or more.  The weather has been warm and that has changed the ice.  The ice is looking different.  I would say the ice is walk on only now.  It is starting to be questionable of how safe it is. Ice fish at your own risk. Please be careful.

I will be closing for the month of March. The marina will be closed so there will be no services like bait or fuel.  I plan on working on the cabins. You can come to fish from shore if you wish if the ice leaves.  You will not be able to rent cabins for March.  Call me at the number if you want to rent cabins in April you can call me now.    ”

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon reports,” The ice is changing rapidly. It is sloshy on the edges.  I think it will be gone in 2 to 3 days if the warm temperatures continue.  It is spotty in places. It was 52 degrees today.  I suggest you call or stop to find out any new 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  

Dan reports,  “ My shop is closed.  The inventory will be sold off later.”

*I want to thank Jim for his willingness to give me a fishing report every week and wish him success in whatever he decides to do next. *

Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce reports he has heard, “ the pond behind Scheels is wide open and has no ice.

Big Horn-  I talked to some  guys who fished the Big Horn. They fished  for a short while and it was definitely  windy.   People were saying the fishing is a little better.

Stillwater-I fished  the Stillwater on Thursday  and found  it was pretty slow.  I think the water is still too cold.

Columbus-A fisherman went to Columbus and he caught a few trout on the Yellowstone.
At Billings I heard there was ice on the bank that made it tough to fish.

Rock Creek- Someone went fishing at Rock Creek in the Joliet area.  It was tough fishing because the shore had a lot of ice on the bank.

Fort Peck Dam-  I heard the lake trout fishing has been consistent.  They have said they caught a few walleye and pike.

Big Horn-Someone tried taking a jet boat on the Big Horn and it was way too windy.

Cooney- I talked who got a ling and lost one as well.  Boyd does still have a lot of snow.“

Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “  the ice is leaving Canyon Ferry. The wind was terrible they said, and the temperature was 56 degrees.  That should take the ice off pretty quickly.  One fellow I talked to that went on the ice on the east side of Duck Creek and the ice was changing and he said it wasn’t too good.  It has been very cold some days .

The  rivers are definitely open.  Just be careful. ”

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

On the Stillwater  and the  Yellowstone the rivers are open . The wind has been a factor. Try nymphing with a bead head.   Some have seen midges 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 heard from someone that fishing on the Big Horn was fairly decent. If you know how to find the fish, you will have a good day. He said the nymphing was working.  Try  pink scuds and sow bugs as they were working.  If it is not windy the traffic has picked up on the water. He said the darker fly the better. ”

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

Stephanie explains,” fishing has been okay this week only because the wind stopped people being on to the water. We have seen more people going down the river.  The CFS is 3200 and people are definitely catching if they can get past the wind.  Nymphing seems to be the way to go right now.   Some  midges are being seen in the afternoon.  A smoke jumper or a sipper midge are working as well.   Try a big orange scud, in size 14, 16.  You can use a thin mint, a JJ, a dirty hippy, a Diety, a big horn special or the favorite wooly bugger. “

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


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