Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 7.15.20
By angelamontana

Posted: July 16, 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.

(report compiled by Carol Henckel)

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

  The water at Tongue is clear and  about 73 degrees.  There were a lot of  recreation boaters out as well as fishermen.  Some nice perch have been caught.  The bass bite has been  pretty good.   They are catching  some 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. There have been  many new people here who are unaware of the way the park works.

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

Nate and Payton  report, “ the weekend was pretty busy.  Many people found they could fish  off the deck with a worm and a hook and catch some nice perch right now.   Fishermen are going toward the cliffs and catching  small mouth from a boat fishing toward the shore. .     The bass  seem to be everywhere around structures  at 15 feet or shallower depths.  A few walleye were caught as well. There  were a couple nice ones caught, a 17-inch, 4 pounder, a 20 incher that was 5.8 pounds.  Both were caught on a worm and a bobber.   Guys were catching pike especially at campers’ point.  A few  crappie have been caught in the coves down  close to the trees.  Just a few.  The perch bite has been consistent.  “

  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

Neil reports,” it was kind of slow here because the Governor’s cup was happening.  We had lots of people come to eat after the boats went out.  If guys were fishing northern pike, they were hitting the bay hard for them.   The walleye has been at 20 to 30 feet depths at rocky points.  .   They were using a lot of  leeches and  some worms.   Saturday was nice and it was the best day for fishing.  Some days this week it was windy.  “

 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  

  Jasmine  reports, ” we were not as busy with the tournament happening.  People were looking for walleye heading east to Sutherland.  The bite has been decent.  People were bottom bouncing using leeches and  night crawlers.  They were at depths of 15 to 20 feet.  Blue, purple, white and gold seem to be the colors that are working.   They still are  fishing for northern pike  and doing  well  using cranks.  A few  bass are being caught.  “

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

Eddie  reports, “  we were busy working the Governor’s Cup especially with 200 teams.  The winners were Jason Eggebrecht and Ross Lien with 80.97 pounds with 10 fish.  Second place weight  was 65.36 pounds.   The fishermen seemed to be heading towards the pines to find the walleye.   They were using leeches, crawlers but the shiver minnows were really working going shallow at 6 to 35 feet.   On Friday the weather was windy, and people came off early and then Saturday there was no wind and a good day.   The lake trout bite has been good.  There have been a few small salmon  caught.  It has not been a consistent bite yet.   The northern pike bite has been a decent bite.  They are using cranks, spoons closer to shore  and  at 8 to 15 feet depths.

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 getting more consistent as of late. We had a new tournament record over the weekend at the Montana governor’s cup of 80 pounds.  Wow is all I can say.  We say a lot of big fish  caught during the last week.  The weather has been a challenge with plenty of wind, but fish have been cooperating.  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.  Weather nation creation Ripp’n glydes along with hiver 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 fairly steady.  For smaller pike  in the 3 to 8-pound range but the good news is the bigger fish are showing up and we are starting to see some good sized northern.  Cranks in 15-25 feet of water has been our best presentation along with crawler harnesses and leeches. Jigs have also been working very well for big fish.

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.

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 

Rick says, “  Fishing has been good fishing for walleyes.  Most people have been using  bottom bouncers.  The bite seems to be early in the morning and late in the day right now.  The guys are fishing shallow at 6 to 20 feet depths  and other times at 15 to 20 feet depths.  People are catching nice crappies and drums.  The northern pike are near to shore and they are catching them from a boat.  Some people are using a leech from the bank and getting them. We had three walleye caught over 30 inches a couple of miles from  Nancy Russell.  We had decent weather.  The water is still stained. “

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 was  at Forchette  fishing for over a  week.  We got lots of crappies.  Many little ones, like 3 to 6 pounds.  We were using cranks and bottom bouncers going real shallow.  They were mostly at 15 to 25 feet depths.  Nice fishing.  We caught walleye using  bottom bouncers.  We caught 18 to 22-inch walleye.

The word on  Nelson  is that fishing had slowed.  Nelson is at full capacity.  They are catching walleye at depths of 20 to 30 feet.  They said they caught mostly little walleye in the 18 to 20-inch range.

If they caught northern pike it was on bottom bouncers.  I did hear of a few caught jigging with a leech. ”

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “The water level on the reservoir is going down.  The water temperature remains in the upper 60s. It seems trout have stopped biting. The afternoon bite has been productive for walleye and perch. Leaches are still doing the trick. Rapalas or jig raps are producing in deeper waters. Not many groups are catching limits, Just 1 fish every couple hours. The recreational boaters are out in force, so try later in the evenings or at night.“

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

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says , “ Lake Elmo continues to be  busy.  A lot of people  recreating there.  Day use is really up.   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. .

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

July 15-3:00pm

 BILLINGS – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reopened its Voyagers Rest and Gritty Stone fishing access sites to vehicle traffic this week after they were closed June 1 because of flooding.

The two sites, along the Yellowstone River near Worden, were flooded by high spring runoff and restricted to walk-in only traffic June 1. FWP crews were able to repair the flood damage, clean up the roads and empty the flooded vault toilets this week.

Bundy Bridge fishing access site near Pompeys Pillar remains restricted to all but walk-in traffic because of flood damage.

 Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat reports,”  not as many fishermen out there.  It was pretty much only  boats out there.  Just don’t know if they caught anything. “

Please be respectful as you use the area.  There were some incidents this weekend that did not show people caring for the area.  Please stay on the roads as you use the area.

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

Terry reports, “ I talked to some people who tried Sutherlan and got skunked.  At Bair someone got one fish and two suckers.  It did not sound like people were having much luck. I do see 2 to 3 vehicles there so some are fishing  Broadview pond.  Just not as many as before.  ”

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

 Judy   reports, “ things were slow fishing  this weekend.  Bair was not too bad.  It was mostly boat fishing this week.

 I talked to some people who went to Martinsdale and they had no luck at all.

On Sutherlan there were some fish caught that were fair size.   ”

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 , “ I fished the Governor’s Cup and we placed 25 & 26.  We pre-fished for a week and caught really nice walleye.  We thought we knew where they were but Saturday, we could not find them.  We were using leeches and fishing in depths at 12 to 20 feet.   We headed West mostly to fish.

Achley- Achley has been on the slow side for  tiger muskeye.  I only heard of a few caught.

Hanson Dam- Fishing at Hanson  Dam has been good I heard. They were catching  small  trout. They seemed to be biting on anything.

Spring Creek- I just talked to a guy who said the bugs are not out.  He said he did not see any hatches. He said to just use nymphs as that was working.    It has cleared  If you are spin casting try a Mepps or a  Panther Martin as those are working.

Crooked Creek-  I heard of some okay fishing for walleyes at Crooked Creek.  Some big walleye have been caught.

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,” the walleye fishing has picked up. The average in number of walleye in the boat when the return to shore is 8 to 10 fish.  People are finding them all over.  There is no one direction that is getting more.  There going toward Confederate, Hole in the Wall or south.   People are also catching  perch and trout.    We were  busy this past week.  I would say things have returned to normal.  The water temperature is 70 degrees. ”

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

Jeanine  says, “  Rich is off fishing,  so I am in the shop.  Rich called from Malta after being at Forchette .  He said they did very well on Tuesday before the storm came in.  He said the big storm had turned off the bite.  Not many people probably because of the Gov Cup, I think.

 One fellow had been at Crooked Creek and done well.  He  used a lot of  worms.  He said they were biting on just about anything.  ”

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

Jasmine says, “  the guys are fishing from below Absarokee to Columbus. The water is clear.  The fish are not nibbling  a lot yet.  The hoppers are out  but they are not eating them yet.  Try nymphing.  Not any particular one.   The  water is a little high.

The Yellowstone  is still high, and it is not looking good all the time.  Try a purple haze or a flashback pheasant tail.  There is no wading right now.  No one is seeing any hatches.

The Boulder is lower.  Try using  a  girdle bug pattern  for  a little  success. I have not heard how anyone is doing. “

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

Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports,”   The Missouri is fishing pretty good.  The water is down significantly.      We are seeing  a  good  bite.  There are   PMD’s and caddis  hatching.  Both fishing is good using  top water or fishing below.  We have  waded and using the boat.  Some nice fish have been caught this week. “

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

Hale  explains,”  The water is  at  CFS of 3000  today.  They say it is going down  again  tomorrow.  It is at 48.5 right now.    They have been fluctuating the flow.  So water conditions are changing,   and the clarity is also changing as they do that. Conditions are good. The water is clear.  We are seeing some big fish.    The Upper three is where the guides are finding the best fishing right now. Hoppers are just starting to come off.    Right now  dry fly fishing is spotty.  All camping has opened up.  The baetes are done.    You can  use a soft gray Ray, Zebra midges, flashback quilt nymph  or orange and pink scuds.  Nice rainbows and browns are being caught.

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.

 West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report

Tom reports  West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 7/14/20


Upper Madison: While things have maybe slowed down just a touch from last week, the river is still fishing very well. You may still find a few stoneflies hanging around, but they are definitely not quite as prevalent as they have been. It still wouldn’t hurt to prospect with one and see what happens! The caddis fishing has remained quite good and you can still find some good PMD fishing most days. If you are between hatches, prospecting with attractors has been successful as of late, especially in the float section. Nymphing is starting to return to being the most consistent way to catch fish throughout the day. This is also about the time of year where we transition into throwing smaller rigs. You can still pick up fish on rubber legs, but your more consistent bugs will be in the size #14-18 range.

Flies: #12-14 Biot Golden Stone, #14-16 Frenchie, #14-16 Green Machine, #14-16 Red Neck,  #14-16 Lake Prince, #16 Olive Hot Spot Perdigon, #16 HoloPoint, #16 Olive Biot pupa, #16 Shop Vac, #16 Olive S.H. Hare’s Ear, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #16 Shop Vac, #14-18 X-Caddis, #16 Parachute PMD, #16 Tilt Wing PMD, #16 PMD Cripple, #10 Hot Cake Salmonlfly, #8-12 Razorback Salmonfly, #8 Supafly Salmonfly, #14 Full-Tilt Sally

Hebgen: Hebgen has still been a little slow to really turn on. There have been callibaetis in good numbers in the Madison arm and throughout the main lake, but it’s been difficult to find fish tracking. A chironomid or Turkey Callibaetis nymph under an indicator or as a dropper continues to be your best bet for consistency.

Flies: #12 O.S. Opal/Red Buzzer, #14 Black/Red Nugget, #14-16 Flashback PT, #16 Parachute Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Cripple, #16 Callibaetis Spinner, #14-16 Parachute Adams

Gallatin: The Gallatin has been fishing great. Caddis, PMDs and green drakes are all in play and it would still be worth a look for a few remaining salmonflies and goldens in the park stretch. Attractors are always a great option on the Gallatin as well.

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, #8-12 Razorback Salmonfly, #8 Supafly Salmonfly, #14 Full-Tilt Sally

Yellowstone National Park

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: We continue to hear positive reports from the NE corner. Slough creek has been fishing well, with the main event being drakes and PMDs during the day. You may run into some evening caddis over here as well. Lamar has been dropping steadily over the past week and if it isn’t fishing already, it should be any day now. Definitely worth a look if you’re in the vicinity. Soda Butte should fall in line pretty closely with Lamar and shouldn’t be far behind.

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: July 15th is a day we have marked on our calendars every season as it is opening day for the Yellowstone above the falls. This means an unrivaled opportunity to head over and hook an outstanding quality cutthroat. The fish aren’t there in numbers necessarily, but the ones you find make it worth the trip over. The river will be a bit high as it tends to be on opening day, and one must always be vigilant wading this river in general. Expect there to be some crowds but also some good hatches. Make sure to have salmonflies, goldens, drakes, caddis, PMDs and various spinner patterns in your box.

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