Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 4.15.2020
By angelamontana

Posted: April 16, 2020

Spring  is still 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, “  No one was here this week.  All the ice is melted.  It has been bitter cold this week.  The wind has blown from the northwest and today the temperature at 9 am is 35.8 degrees.  The bay is open. It really needs to warm up and the wind to calm down. “

Monty  explains, ”I just spoke to the Army Corp and they said I can open up when I can. They feel our location with the peninsula makes social distancing very possible.  We will limit the number of people into the Marina for the 6-foot social distancing mandated and hope everyone will use common sense at that  time.  We are concerned about this problem but want people to be able to relax and fish.  We are not ready to open so we will let people know when we are. We are excited  and looking forward to seeing our customers. ( information gathered as of 4-6-2020)

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 until we post it. “


Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

 Spencer reports,” at 9 am yesterday  it was 18 degrees and we had a blizzard. It did not drop snow that stayed on the ground though. Today it is cloudy and real windy and  34 degrees.  Friday, we had 15 boaters out there. The water is open. Ray talked to a few fishermen and they said they caught

  At this time there is no public access to  the FWP department building.  We are open for day use only right now.  The water level has definitely gone up. The playground is closed.  Our docks are not in.

We are telling people who call to make sure and check the county rules as well as the state government mandates. Please make the best decisions and do the social distancing that we need.  Highway 212 does have check points and we want to make sure you know that.  We ask you to do the right thing for this time.

  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.

 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, “  We have open water. You can launch a boat from the ramps.  When we were there today, we saw no one fishing. We have had some below zero weather this week, so it was not very nice to go out and fish. I have been told some crappie were  caught.   There is only day use right now in the campground.

We are still discussing  when we will open,  we just have not decided the date yet.  We want to do it safely.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone again.

   We are still closed at this time. ”


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

  Clint reports, ” The Marina is closed right now.  The water temperature is real cold, at around 30 degrees.   We have had only a few  boats out there, but I did not speak to anyone to hear what they caught or if they caught any. A couple guys fished from the bank and they are distancing. They  caught only a few  northern pike and some lakers.   The lakers were decent size and they found them  at 6 feet to 8 feet and some at 20 feet. The fishermen were mostly locals.

The Tough Guy Tournament was canceled.


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

Eddie reports, “ last  Wednesday and Thursday  before Easter fishing was good.  The water was 37 degrees.  People caught some walleye and northern pike with jigs.  They were in the shallows 6 to 10 feet deep. People could get out.  Then the ice blew in and you could not get out on the water.   Right now the ice is all gone because it has melted.  We have RV space available.”

 We are open.  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 “ we actually have some fishing going on, but it hasn’t been great yet.

Walleye fishing-Fishing has been slow with a few days producing more than others,  Fishing should pick up with some nicer weather coming next week.  Looks to be pitching jigs and plastic or jigs and a minnow at rocky shorelines are showing some action.

Pike fishing-Pike fishing will start getting really good back in the bays with warmer temps as well.  Smelt, fished on a bobber or on the bottom will put you on fish.  Also jigs with minnows/plastics are always a good bet as well.  Casting or trolling crank baits along those shallow weed lines and coasts will also be a good tactic.

The ramps in the dam are all useable right now except the marina ramp.  The Army Corp of Engineers is currently making repairs to the ramp to get rid of the big potholes in it.  The ramp will be back open very soon. If you guys make it out on the water, have some fun and good luck.  Great Spring fishing is just around the corner, not that anyone is ready to get out , and go fishing I’m sure.   Everyone is content to keep hanging around the house just chillin. LOL  Hope to see everyone at the lake soon.“

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. “


Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson. Shauni, Cynthia, Jake

Jake reports, ”we now have no ice.  Cooney is open  only for day use here,  no camping.  Fisherman’s Point, Red Lodge Campground and Marshall Cove are open.    The ramp is open.  People from shore have caught some nice rainbow trout with light colored swim bait, Rapellas and shad wraps. I am hearing that the walleye seem to be in pre-spawn. Please remember to keep the distance of 6 feet from each other no matter where you are.”

  The water has been turned off now.   The electricity is also off except at Marshall Cove and Red Lodge campgrounds.  The docks are pulled. Remember, your dogs are welcome but don’t forget your leash. Please make sure your vehicle is being driven on the road.


 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says,” Elmo has open water.   Even with the snow this past week  the parking lot  had lots of  cars. Many  families   have been  coming to fish probably to get a break from being closed in for so long.  Please remember to keep the distancing guidelines.   Wherever you are at Elmo you cannot be in larger groups than ten.  You can no longer fish from the pier because of the restrictions. The picnic areas should not be used as they are closed.

The Fishing Access Sites are open.  There is no over night camping right now.

For those people asking about Paddlefishing, here is what we know as of Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Paddlefishing  below the Yellowstone and on the Missouri below Fort Peck dam has been postponed until April 24th, 2020 when the Governor makes another announcement in  regards to possible further closure will continue.   The Paddlefishing above the dam from Fort Peck dam to Fort Benton where tags have been  drawn  will open on May 1st as the regulations say. At this point there are no changes in that area.

We have locked the doors .  We  have a few staff  working in the building. If you need a license you can get that online only. If you need a question answered call and we will try to help you.

Remember you need a new fishing license now as of March 1st and you can do it online.  ”


 Deadmans Tony Stefani/ Pat  

Pat reports,” Deadmans is now  open water.   We have had 4 to 5 boats  fishing this week.    They each were in one of the coves.  I haven’t heard what they were catching but I suspect it is salmon as people are definitely coming here right now.  We also had some shore fishermen. Some were families but they were respectful of the rules and were spread out on the shore   ”


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

At this time the bar is closed . Unable to get a fishing report.


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

 Rick  reports, “ we have not heard of any fishing this week. Bair and Sutherlan still have quite a bit of ice. We have had days of zero degrees at night and only 10 degrees during the day. So it has been very cold here and lots of wind. No one wants to be out there in this cold.“

 Our bar is closed at this time. ”


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 , “  people are still ice fishing on the  East Fork.  I can not say how they are doing.  A lot of places are still iced over.  We are still having winter.

Spring Creek- You can fish Spring Creek.  It now is off color from the runoff.

They are saying we are supposed to get 4 to 6 inches tonight and it is supposed to be 8 degrees for the next few days. So we are still having winter.

Achley- Achley is open from shore and for boat.  They caught a few rainbow trout. They are using lures and spin-a-lures.  Some are using the little Cleo.  It has been really cold so even with gloves and a good coat you will struggle to stay warm.

Missouri-   The Missouri is looking muddy today. The water temp is cold.  Fishing is not stellar. “


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

The marina continues to be  NOT  open.  We are going to continue to be closed until the pandemic is over or I am told it is safe.    The Corp informed me on April 4, 2020 that Crooked Creek is closed as they also saw too many people there.  They let me know they closed it and have it posted as well, Slim reports, “

From other sources I have heard people  were fishing there this week and because of the small area there were  many people there. From one party I was told there were several campers there and distancing was not occurring.

 The marina will be closed so there will be no services like bait or fuel.    You will not be able to rent cabins.  I will let you know when things change, and I open.”


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon reports,” FOR THE NEXT 1 ½ WEEKS THE  COUNTY WILL CONTINUE TO BE REDOING THE PARKING LOT BY THE MAIN ROAD AND LAUNCH AREA.  You will be able to launch at the South ramp.  The south ramp has a deep drop off so if you have a double-axle,  it would be difficult to use it.  At this point they did not close the  campground down because of the virus.  Call for information  at 406-266-3100.   Things may change so call Sharon before you come or for camping overnight. Please remember the 6-foot distance ruling when you come.

People have been on the water.  I have seen 20 to 30 boats out there.  The weather has been very cold, and we have had snow some days.

The BOR sent a notice out  last evening 4-13-2020  It reads that

      Tiber-Tiber Marina is closed until mid-May unless it is re-evaluated earlier.

      Tiber is day use only.  No groups are allowed, and the bathrooms are closed.

       Fresno – Fresno  is day use only as well.  No groups are allowed, and the bathrooms are closed.

       Clark Canyon- Clark Canyon is also  day use only.  No groups are allowed, and the bathrooms are closed.”

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 permanently .  The inventory will be sold off later.”


Billings-Scheels Jayce, Tanner, Matt 

Jayce reports he has heard,

“Cooney- I heard a few people caught some fish on Cooney from the bank.  They only got a few fish and they were walleye.

Yellowstone- People have been fishing on the Yellowstone close to Billings  and caught some small mouth. They were using a jig.

Yellowstone- I talked to some fellows who fished on the Yellowstone by Miles City and they were getting lots of walleyes.

Stillwater River- I heard fishing on the Stillwater was good. Guys were catching mostly brown  trout nymphing.

Big Horn-People can’t fish the Upper Big Horn right now.  Even the locals can’t.  It is closed because of the virus. People were trying to fish on the lower Big Horn right at the mouth of the Yellowstone but getting there is tricky.  The rest of the  Big Horn you can not get on.

Crooked Creek- I talked to some guys who fished off the bank and were catching northern pike.

Whatever you do protect our fishing by following the guidelines.  “

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540

Rich says, “ I have decided to close my shop for now because of the virus. So I am closed until further notice.

I did hear from one fellow who  tried  catching on Canyon Ferry. It has no ice now.  He said they were working on the parking lot and he tried to go to the south ramp but he did not feel he could get his boat off the ramp because there was a deep drop off and he was afraid he would not get his trailer back up.

I also saw people fishing at the Gates of the Mountains by Holter. ”


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

According to the phone message the shop is closed because of the virus. You can email for booking trips or check on an already booked trips.


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

Beau says, “Fishing on the  Big Horn is not possible so  you can’t fish there now because of the roadblocks.

I did not go anywhere this week.  We all know we want to get out but please take the precautions they request.  ”


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

Rick explains,” We continue to  be shut down.  Even the locals cannot fish.  We have been closed by the county health department, the State, the Feds and the Reservation with the tribal posts.  We are closed up from After Bay to three mile.  The campgrounds are closed as well.  If you try to come here,  there are roadblocks in several places,  and you will be asked to show ID and if you are not local and live there you will not be allowed through. This is tough on the businesses and guides and we wish it were different, but we are complying.

  Please stay safe.  Right now it is a wait and see what happens next.  “

  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 

No further fishing report until Spring


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