Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 7.23.20
By angelamontana

Posted: July 23, 2020

Summer is upon us and that can bring unusual weather and sudden changes in weather temperatures,  wind  and  water mean everyone needs to be vigilant when being outside.   Outdoor enthusiasts including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes.   Surprise storms of 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  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.

 compiled by Carol Henckel

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

  Raymond explains,”  We saw a lot of recreationalists this weekend.  The fishermen  were fewer.  The water at Tongue is clear and  75  degrees as of today.  I did not talk to many fishermen.  I know they were catching more bass than anything else. The bite for them has been  decent.   They are catching  a few  walleye  and some northern pike.

Our office is now open. The phase II  which is in effect means people still have to social distance . We also ask people to read or review the rules of the park. We appreciate visitors who leave the camp as they found it and pick up your garbage.”

  Tongue River Marina  1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg, Payton

Nate  reports , “ we did not have much fishing going on this weekend.  The bass were pretty easy to catch this week  using a small work and a crank.  The big stuff seemed to be going deeper.   I found them at 30 to 40 feet depths especially when I measured the water temp on the south end, and it was 84 degrees.   The bass  seem to be everywhere around structures.  A few walleye were caught.  It was a quieter week for fishing. “

  Our hours are Monday to Thursday 8-5, Friday Saturday 6 to 9 and Sunday 7 to 5.

Rock Creek Marina- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt /1-406-230-1283  for Linda & Neil     Marina number is 1-406-485-2560

Korbin reports,” we saw more walleye than pike this week.  They were using bottom bouncers  with green tackle.  We had a lot of nice weather  and only had a couple of windy days.   The walleye  they were getting were good  eater size.  The pike are moving deeper to find cooler water.  The bass  were being caught from a boat going toward shore in 10 to 20 feet deep. It was a busy weekend with lots of people recreating.  We just restocked the Rapala deep diving bait.  They seem to be working well.  “

 Stop in the Marina and we can tell you about how the fishing is.  We do ask people to  limit the number of people in the Marina for social distancing. “

To make reservations, please call Monty at 406-465-0241.

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

  Conner  reports, ” most people were looking for walleye heading east to Sutherland  or towards Snow Creek using a bottom bouncer.  Either they got  their limit this week or they got some nice big ones but fewer numbers.  The pike you can find anywhere.  I  went out for three hours and got 5 pike in the 30-inch range. They were at 30 feet depths to start and then later at 15 feet depths.  We were using white  soft plastic tackle or a crank.  We had good weather and lots of people.  “

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

Carrie  reports, “ the walleye bite has slowed down.    The fishermen seemed to be heading towards the pines to find the walleye.  It is a hard bite right now.  It seems to be a crawler bite.  The lake trout are biting well.  You can find them at 95 to 115 feet.  People are pulling spoons to begin with.  People are finding them stacked and then when you find them change to a jig to catch them.   There have been a few small salmon  caught that we have seen.  That bite  has not turned on yet.

We have Jumbo suckers, shiners, fatheads’ minnows, smelt and herring.  We still have a few  dates open for guiding.  ”

Our hours are   7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday.

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

 Scott  reports “ walleye fishing- Walleye fishing has  been a challenge this week. We have seen some good reports, but most anglers are struggling to find fish consistently.  We have been pulling cranks in 15 to 18 feet of water for best results.  Guys have been pulling crawlers and leeches from 10 to 30 feet catching some eater sized fish.  We are also starting to see a good hard bait bite.  Walleye nation creation Ripp’n glydes along with shiver minnows have been really  picking up.  I would say half of the boats out there right now are throwing some style of this bait.

Northern Pike –Fishing has been getting a little tougher as well with the warmer temperatures we are still seeing some fish in the weed beds back in the bays, but we are also starting to see fish deep.  Throwing cranks or trolling cranks has been the best bet as of late.

Small mouth- Fishing  rock piles in the backs of the bays and on main lake points have been producing some great smallies.   Throwing  cranks and swimbaits works best.  They have also been seeing some good action on leeches.

Lake trout- Lake trout fishing was on fire late last week, but we are seeing the bite getting tougher the last few days. Vertical gigging big swimbaits and trolling spoons in 80 to 110 feet seem to be best.

Salmon- Great news, we are starting to see some nice salmon coming in.  Not a ton of action yet but hearing reports of guys hooking up on 1 to 4 fish a day.  Hopefully we will see this bite improve moving forward.

Water temps  have been  between 68 to 74 degrees.

Hope everyone has a great  weekend.  Good luck on the water.  “

The bar and restaurant hours are  as follows: open 7 days a week. Monday to  Thursday 11am to 9 pm, Friday 11am to 10 pm.  Saturday and Sunday 8am to 10 pm.  Please be aware we are practicing social distancing.

The tackle store is open 7 days a week as well.  Monday through Thursday 7 to 9, Friday through Sunday 6 to 10.

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

James(Slim), Carri Craig, Rick   406-429-2999 

Carri says, “  it has been a busy week for us.  Fishing has been good  for walleyes.   I had another 33 incher in the freezer for someone again.  People have had wells full of fish.  Several guys found their 30 -inch fish in 5  feet  water depths. Someone caught 12 in the 25 -foot depths mostly walleye and crappie.  They seem to be shallower right now.  People are cranking, bottom bouncers and stick jigging so pretty much any technique.  The neighbor  caught a 26 incher near Nancy Russel  Creek.  A friend got a 36 -inch catfish  and a 30 ½ inch walleye.   So people are finding nice fish We had nice  weather this week. “

Our hours  are 7 to 7 now 7 days a week.  I am so looking forward to seeing everyone.  Please just remember social distancing.

Hardware Hanks- Kolin Mahan/ David  654-1712

Open 7:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturday/ 11am to 3 pm Sunday

Kolin reports, “ I did not hear much on Forchette.  I know they had some weather there with high wind one day.   Lots of crappies were caught.  walleye using  bottom bouncers.  Walleye fishing seems to be in two different sizes but mostly eaters.

The word on  Nelson  is hit and miss. Most are bottom bouncing  with a night crawler at depths of 10 to 20 feet early in the day later they are deeper.  It has been steady fishing.  The water is at full pool. “

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “The  fishing on Cooney is changing because of the increase of recreational use.  We are seeing more users during the week.  The water level on the reservoir has gone  down. It is no longer going over the spillway.   The water temperature has gone up from the 66 to 68 degrees where it was for a long time  to 70 to 73 degrees.  The fish have gone deeper.  The water is murky from the irrigation use and the increased boat traffic. People are catching trout.  They are small in the 7 to 11-inch size.  The walleye and perch bite have slowed down.  Pick weed edges and rocky points to find them.  Try jig raps as they  have been working.  Walleye and pike are now biting better  on worms than leaches.  Try fishing early and  later in the evenings.“

Be aware that there is no mooring of your boat  to any no wake buoy as it is illegal.

Please pack in and  pack out your garbage. With the larger number of visitors we have less garbage receptacles to put your debris in . We want everyone to see a clean campground.  Remember your dogs are welcome but, do not forget your leash. “

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says , “ We are seeing a lot of use right now.  We are doing some work on some of the beach so some of it is blocked off right now.  It is on the top end of the lake.  They are working on the retaining wall.  They hope to be done in one or two days then things will be back to normal.   A lot of people  recreating there.   Elmo  is full of swimmers, paddle boards and small boats.  Lots of  families.  I know the  fishermen  are catching fish in the early morning or late in the night.  I hear fishing is slow with the weather heating up.  We now only have one FAS walk in only and that is Bundee Bridge.  You can fish all you want it is just no boats right now. “

 The FWP  office is open.  We ask  people to   please use distancing as  you  recreate.”

 Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat reports,”  there have been some shore fishermen. I know someone got a couple of trout and small salmon using worms the other day.   Lots of   boats out there.  “

If you come, try to  be respectful as you use the area.  We again had  some damage  this weekend that did not show people caring for the area.

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

Terry reports, “ I talked to some people when they bought worms and they were heading to Deadmans.  I don’t know if they got anything as they did not come back.

I do see only  2 to 3 vehicles at  Broadview pond so fishing must have slowed down.   ”

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

 Judy   reports, “ fishing  has been pretty  good this week we heard.  Reaching  the normal for this time of year.  It seems to be better in boats. I have heard that about  Bair, Sutherlan and Martinsdale.  The water is holding well in all three places, so people caught some fish.  “

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 , “

Achley- Achley has slowed down  for trout and   tiger muskeye.  Not many caught.  Lots of recreation boaters there.

Hanson Dam- People are catching trout  at Hanson  Dam we hear. They were catching  small  ones. Use a night crawler, power bait and spinners.

Spring Creek- People are catching fish.  The water is clear.   If you are spin casting, try a Panther Martin. It is working .

Mark your calendar  for August 8 for  the Walleyes Unlimited Crooked Creek Kids Event  You can sign up at the store or just show up.  It helps us plan if you sign up ahead.  It is from 10 to 3 pm.  “

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon reports,” I would say fishing is getting better. The average in number of walleye in the boat when they return to shore is around   10 fish.  People are finding them all over, really not in any one direction.   Some guys are going toward Confederate, Hole in the Wall or south.  Some  nice perch and trout are being caught also. ”

Stop in at the shop or call 266-3100 and I will give you any  information you need.”

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

The Flamingo is now open.  Come and enjoy the new food menu and some of the old favorites.

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540 Rich

Rich  says, “ I am back from  fishing Forchette.   We did very well on Monday and caught some nice fish.  Then Tuesday we had 90 mph winds. It blew the boat way up on the shore and it took a lot to get it back in the water.  After  the big storm we caught a lot of crappies mostly 10 to 11 inches long.  No specific depth.  We got some at 20 feet.  The walleye bite brought  them at sizes over 20 or in sizes of 6 to 11 inches.  None  of them in the 15 to 20-inch size.   The walleye are shallow in the morning  in 5 to 10 feet and then at 20 feet in midafternoon.  We caught bass in the size of 5 to 10 inches .

 I talked to some  fellows who fished  Canyon Ferry and did well. He caught mostly 15 to 20-inch walleye.  He went up the lake and to White Earth and Goose Bay.  ”

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

Jasmine says, “ the upper Stillwater is bony meaning not floatable.  Use peach and tan hoppers.  We are seeing average size hoppers.  Try a red Copper Johns and little spankers.  On the lower Stillwater the fishing is doing well.  You can float from Jeffery’s landing  down.  The fishing is average.  The water heats up in the afternoon so please pay attention to the fish’s condition.

On the Yellowstone  try  a Fat Frank or a Chubby when floating it.  The water is clear.  It is just about right for this time of year.  You are seeing some hoppers.

The Boulder is pretty low. It is hard to find deep pockets to fish.  Some have found a few above Fishing Bridge. Try using  a  girdle bug pattern  for  a little  success. “

Need a guide? We are taking appointments for  guiding now.

Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports,”  I am on the Big Horn today.  We are getting  a  good  bite. Nymphing is working in the 6-mile area and we are catching.  Try sow bugs and  nymphs.  We are seeing a few hoppers right now.  The water is clear to 3 mile.  Then grassy after that.  We have been catching some nice trout.  The weather has been good. “

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

Rick   explains,”  The water is  at  CFS of 2500  today.   So water conditions are clear and good.  We are seeing some big fish.    The Upper three is where the guides are finding the best fishing right now. People are using nymphs like Gray Ray in 18 to 20 size or a soft tackle.  The water temperature is 48 to 49 degrees. We think that will go up with the hot weather.  We are seeing an increase of  and some Sallies in the water.  There are a lot of midges in the water right now.  Try an orange scud, a pheasant tail or quills in a size of 18 to 20.  The hopper action is less right now.  Use that classic Dirty Hippie or Thin Mint when it is a cloudy day. “

Our lodge is open so you can stay with us.  We would love to have you  go fishing here and we are making sure to follow the procedures to keep people safe.   Our shuttle service is available. Call and talk to the shop to get  information you need.“

Open  8 am to 12 every day.

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

Tom reports  West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 7/21/20


Upper Madison: Caddis, Yellow Sallies, attractors and a few afternoon hoppers have been providing some good dry fly fishing throughout the day. I think we are all hoping for a hopper season like last year and we have been seeing some good signs so far. Nymphing has remained really consistent and as we mentioned last week, it’s about that time of year where smaller flies (#14-18) will out-fish larger flies in a big way.

Flies: #16-18 Krystal Dip, #14-18 Frenchie, #14-16 Green Machine, #14-18 Red Neck,  #14-16 Lake Prince, #16 Olive Hot Spot Perdigon, #16 HoloPoint, #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Olive S.H. Hare’s Ear, #16 Front-end Loader, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #16 Shop Vac, #14-18 X-Caddis, #16 Parachute PMD, #16 Tilt Wing PMD, #16 PMD Cripple, #14 Full-Tilt Sally, #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs

Hebgen: The callibaetis fishing on Hebgen has been steadily picking up over the past week. Risers continue to be a little sporadic but are starting to get a little more consistent. If we can get some favorable weather in the next week or two things will only get better. If you’re out there in the meantime and struggling to find tracking fish, try a callibaetis nymph or flashback PT as a dropper.

Flies: #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #14-16 Flashback PT, #16 Parachute Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Cripple, #16 Callibaetis Spinner, #14-16 Parachute Adams

Gallatin: The Gallatin continues to fish well. Look for PMDs and a few drakes during early afternoons and caddis during the later afternoon and evening hours. Attractors the rest of the time will keep you occupied. As usual with the Gallatin, no need to head over here too early in the day and bring your bear spray.

Flies:  #16-18 X-Caddis, #16 Parachute PMD, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #12 Perrin’s Green Drake, #12 Green Drake Missing Link, #12-14 Lime Trude

Yellowstone National Park

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: Things are now in full swing up in the NE corner and these rivers have been fishing really well. Drakes, PMDs and some caddis hatches will have fish rising for the better part of the day. It’s almost never too early in the season to throw some terrestrials as well. At this early stage of the season on these rivers, a good drift to a rising fish should bring you success.

Flies: #12 Perrin’s Green Drake, #12 Green Drake Missing Link, #12 Green Drake Sprout, #16 Parachute PMD, #16 Hairwing PMD, #16-18 PMD Sprout, #16-18 X-Caddis

Yellowstone above the Falls: It has definitely been a busy opening week this year. We had a successful trip or two head over there this past week and while they reported heavy crowds, they also had some really great fishing. Look for drakes, PMDs, caddis and stoneflies. Chubbies both with and without tungsten droppers are good starting options.

Flies: #8 Supafly Salmonfly/Golden, #8 Water Walker Salmonfly, #10 Water Walker Golden, #12 Perrin’s Green Drake, #12 Green Drake Missing Link, #12 Green Drake Sprout, #16 Parachute PMD, #16 Hairwing PMD, #16-18 PMD Sprout, #16-18 X-Caddis, #12-18 Rusty Spinner