Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 9.16.20
By angelamontana

Posted: September 17, 2020

Autumn  is coming   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.

***The Fire danger has increased throughout the central part of the state.  Some may be located where you are going, so check before you venture out. Please use care as you drive on tall grass.  Be careful with cigarettes & check often to see if there are fire restrictions mandated by FWP as you camp in beautiful Montana. ***

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports, “  fishing seems to be okay.  I talked some shore fishermen by Campers Point who caught 9 bass.  They were using poppers.    I did hear of some northern pike  being caught.  We had 50 campers this past weekend. The water level  seems to be leveling off.  The water is at 34.15.  The water temperature at the dock is 65 degrees.  Last week it is 5 feet down from the normal at this time last year.  The slip dock is definitely down.  There is  no water in  the Frog Pond. Some camp spaces in that area have no access. There are only a few spaces at Campers Point and Peewee.

Reservations season  ends on Sunday.  The winter rate starts on Monday.

Just a reminder, we are still  in stage 1 fire restrictions right now.  The office is  open.

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

Wade  reports , “ I had someone come in to have a catfish weighed.  It was 16 pounds and had the biggest head I have ever seen.  There were some nice bass and northern pike caught.  Not many walleye and crappie caught.  People say the walleye bite is hit or miss right now.    People I talk to are telling me  pretty much any presentation is being tried.  We had a nice weekend but many left on Sunday because of the forecast of rain. .  The music and activities were great, and people had fun.  The water is down so watch for  sandbars.  The docks and ramps are useable just use caution as the water has dropped.  The frog pond has no water right now.

We have changed our hours now.   Our hours are Monday to Wednesday we are now closed.  We are open  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

Monty   reports,” The walleye fishing I would say  is good and consistent.  They are heading to the Dry Arm going east. Someone caught two  29 inches using bottom bouncers with a worm harness.  The northern pike fishing had been okay. They are catching small ones and the best depths seem to be at 20 to 25 feet depths.  They are using a Rapella cranking.  I did see a 36 incher that was caught. The  bass  is definitely good.  The best depths for them are 20 to 25 feet depths.  People are heading to the Sandrea to the McGuire.  I know of someone who caught twenty.  The bass are as shallow as 8 feet to 12 feet.

We are having a cornhole tournament for the end of our season event on September 26th.  If you want information at the Marina number . “

 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  

  Clint  reports”  we have been busy.  We had 40 boats on the water yesterday.  The lake has turned over, so fishing is not  at its  best.  People are catching a decent amount of fish but not a lot of one species.  I have heard of a few northern pike being caught and a few walleye as well.  The walleye are  at 14 to 35  feet down. The  bass are at 30 feet depths,  but they are scattered all over.  The northern pike  are at 10 to 30 feet and also 10 to 16 feet.  Cranks are working with them. “

We have changed our hours at the marina.  We are open from 7 to 5 on weekdays and 7 to 6 on weekends.    Please be aware of the  fire hazard right now  and people need to be careful and stay aware of that.

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

Wende  reports, “  lake trout fishing is good.  People are finding them at 111 to 140 feet.  I went out on Saturday and we limited out on lake trout. Blue and silver seems to be working well.  We used bait, flies and flashers.

 I would say the  salmon bite is still  slow.    The ones  caught  this week were little.  Not  any of them of any size.  They found them at 95 to 110 feet depths on a canyon ball.  The few that were caught were between 15 and 26 pounds.

The walleye bite is slow.  People are using cranks at 20 to 30 feet depths.  They have been few and far between right now “

We have super  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 “ with Labor Day over things at the lake are definitely slowing down but with the cooler temps hopefully fishing overall picks up.

 walleye fishing- Walleye fishing has  been very  hit or miss with reports of some fish getting  caught along weed edges but most of the have been coming on main lake points out around 25-30 feet.  Pulling cranks and covering water have been fairly effective this week.  I’m anticipating with the cooler temps we should start seeing some better catches.

Northern Pike –Fishing has  picked up a bit this week with some   fish   being caught around the weed beds. Throwing cranks or spoons or trolling cranks has been the best tactic.

Small mouth- Fish seemed  to have moved out to around 20 to 25  feet of water on main lake points.  Guys throwing shiver minnows and jigs have been seeing some fish.  Also guys pulling cranks in these deeper depths have been picking up some fish as well.

Lake trout- Lake trout fishing  has been great this week.  Vertical jigging  big swimbaits and trolling spoons in 115 to 135 feet seem to be the  best.  Anglers that are willing to take their time and find lake trout before fishing them are being very  successful.  We have also seen catch rates increase for the guys trolling with spoons and flashers and brads cut plugs as well.

Salmon- Fishing remains slow  but better  catches were reported by the few anglers that we’re out still targeting salmon.  The fish that are coming in are definitely worth catching .  Anglers are targeting them from 60 to 115 feet with flashers and squid, flies, brads, cut plugs or apex spoons.  Right now it is  a patience game, but we have seen a bunch of four-year-old fish so far between 22 and 30 pounds.  We have weighed a bunch of salmon this week around 25 to 27 pounds.  Hopefully  we will start seeing better numbers of fish in the next few weeks.

Water temps  have been  between 67 to 69 degrees. “

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.

Stop in the tackle store for up to date info on fishing along with all the gear you will need to catch any species of fish in Fort Peck Lake.  We are here to help put  you  guys  on  fish.  We are  open 7 days a week as well.  Monday through Thursday 7 to 9, Friday through Sunday 6 to 10.

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

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

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

Carri says, “  The fishing has been slow.  We are kind of thinking the water might be ready to turn over.  We are seeing algae coming up and that often is the sign it is getting ready to turn over. Some people  are  catching walleye on bottom bouncers in 30 feet depths  using a bottom bouncer going 2.5 speeds.  The walleye I have seen have been nice size.  The northern pike are being found at 25 feet using a bottom bouncer with a plug.  Purple continues to be the color that works. Lots of crappies and drums have also been caught.  Most people are just going out about 10 miles.  We have had lots of hunters and they are hunting in the morning and then fishing in the afternoon.  This week we have had 20 to 25 boats on the water. “

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, “ the  fishermen I talked to this week that headed to Nelson said fishing is slow.   The guys are  jigging at Nelson and going shallow.   They say the fish are stacked.  It has been hard to get them to bite right now. They have just gotten sluggish.  The water at Nelson has gone down.  You can still   put in at the Head gates. The best time to  fish Nelson  is early in the morning and late in the day.  The fish just  have not started the winter bite.   There is s

some algae now, but it is not green algae.“

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “The water level overall is holding steady  on the reservoir. The water temperature is 71 to 68 degrees now with the air temperature dropping.  So the water is finally cooling off.  The perch remains  consistent.  People are using worms or soft plastics for success. Walleye fishing has improved   but they have been small.  The walleye size is 12 to 14 inches in size.  The trout fishing is pretty  good.  It seems to be picking up.  The Fish Cleaning Station is now working.  With the cooler weather we saw less recreational boating. “

A few reminders for all of us to remember. 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 , “  The Bench  Water Association have lowered the irrigation ditch which feeds into Lake Elmo.  Lake Elmo is down 2 feet so there is more shore right now.  In some ways that does help with some of the clams.  Mike Ruggles has found  some clams on the shoreline so that means this action will help.    Elmo has slowed a bit, because of school and  the smoke.   Fishing is best early and late in the day.   We are  still seeing people on the water.

You still have time to make  comments on the stabilization  to happen in the cottonwood campground at Cooney. It is open for comment for 30 days.  You  can find it on  the FWP website.

We are asking everyone  to please be careful and  pay attention to how dry the land is.  FWP has put out fire restrictions  on fishing access sites. ”

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

 Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat reports,” we had a few

We saw 4 boats fishing this week.  We did not hear whether they caught anything.   Last week people  caught some  trout and salmon.    The lake has gone down.  We are seeing some bird hunters.

 Please camp in designated camping areas.  There is no camping allowed on the beach.   The fire risk is very  high,  and we are in fire restrictions meaning no campfires or open flames. So please  stay aware. “

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

 Terry reports, “ I saw some fishermen who bought night crawlers.  I did not see them again, so I don’t know what they caught.   I saw  people  fishing at Broadview pond and they were catching a few  fish.  It is mossing up. ”

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

 Rick  reports, “  it has been cooling down.  And  of course it has been  smokey.    People have been fishing at Bair.  The fishing has been  fair this week.  The water has gone down.   They caught a few at Bair and at Sutherlan. The guys who went to Martinsdale said it was very slow. ”

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 ,” lots of people are out  hunting  so there is not a lot of talk about fishing.

Spring Creek-  Fishing was good at Spring Creek.   The bite is good with spinners.  People are fly fishing.

Achley-  Achley has been slow with not much action.

Petrolia-  People have been going to Petrolia but I have not heard much about if they are catching.

Missouri- The Missouri is mossy right now, so fishing is pretty tough.


Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Fishing Canyon Ferry  is not too bad. Guys are going out despite the smoke and wind on some days.   Fishing for walleye  is a  medium  bite  now.   Fishermen are coming in with walleyes.  Depths are at  20 to 25 feet.   Not many perch  being caught.

The blue  and green algae  is still there  in the coves where the water is not moving.  With the temperature changes we hope it  will  leave.  It is dangerous for children and dogs to swim in.  Swimming is not a possibility right now. Watch your dog closely.“

Sharon says stop in at the shop or call 266-3100 and she  will give you any  information you need.  The Marina is open. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm.  The Pelican is now closed for the season

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540 Rich

 Rich says,”  I heard from some guys to headed to Canyon Ferry.  The guys said they had caught walleye and trout.  They said when they were fishing for one species,  they were catching the other.  The guys said they  were using lots of different baits  and techniques. The trout they caught were big, 18 to 21 inches.

Someone  came in and went to Fort Peck for salmon but came back without any.

The rivers have lots of  moss and  are weedy.  They are low.  Not seeing  anyone catching.  ”

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

 Jasmine says, “ The hoppers are at the tail end of action.  The bite on them have slowed.  You can use nymphs now and maybe a few streamers.  Try an Adams or a wolf or a green wooly buggers.  Neither the Yellowstone nor Stillwater have come up.  The Stillwater is still really slow and wading only right now.  This week the temperature of the water has gone way down.  It is 64 degrees today.  Floating on the Yellowstone  is still good.

Need a guide? We are still  taking people out.  Call us to make an appointment for  guiding.

Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports,” I was  on the  Missouri this week.  The water is grassy.  It is clearer from the Dam to Craig.  It is good fishing.  The water is definitely cooler.   We fished with zebra midges in black or olive.  The water level is good. “

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

Staff   explains,”   fishing is fairly good.  Nymphing is good right now. The weeds are taller now.   Try caddis , pupa or sow bugs.   For dry fly fishing try tan or black caddis.  We are now only seeing  tricots sporadically .  The upper 3 miles are less grassy which is not the norm.   The CFS is still  2400.   You can float or wade.   I went out and used a Spruce fly and a black streamer.  I caught some  nice fish and I caught a nice 21-inch brown the other day.

 The river is open throughout and all fishing access’ sites on the big Horn are open.  We would love to have you come to fish.   “

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 9/15/20


Upper Madison: Hopper fishing has been hanging in there pretty well the last few days after our short cold snap earlier this week. There’s a decent chance that this could be our last good week with fish  consistently looking up for hoppers, so get out there this week when you can and see if you can find a few more hungry fish. Ants, beetles, bees and Parachute Adams have all been good trail flies or simply fished solo. Holo-Points and Olive Perdigons continue to be effective droppers and the nymphing in general has been steady and is a good way to fish these cooler mornings until the hopper bite gets rolling in the afternoons.

Flies: #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #8-12 Tan, Pink and Yellow Thunder Thighs, #16-18 Arrick’s Ant, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #16-18 Krystal Dip, #14-16 Green Machine, #14-18 Red Neck, #16 Olive Hot Spot Perdigon, #14 HoloPoint, #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Olive S.H. Hare’s Ear, #16 Shop Vac

Hebgen: It has definitely been taking a while

for things to warm up in the mornings now and Callibaetis have been slow to show because of this. It’s about that time of year where the fall run fish stage up in the arms and throwing a leech wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

Flies: #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #16 Parachute Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Spinner, #6 Black & Olive Hot Bead Leeches, #8 Thin Mint, #8 Simi Seal Leech

Gallatin: Terrestrials and attractors are still pretty much the name of the game on the Gallatin. Like the Madison, a tungsten headed dropper will pick up fish under a hopper or large attractor. Afternoon hours will be best.

Flies:  #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #12-14 Lime Trude, #14 Holo Point, #14 Olive Hot Spot Perdigon

Yellowstone National Park

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: Nothing new here. Drake Mackerels and baetis should provide some opportunities to find rising fish. Hoppers, ants and beetles are still going to fool a few fish. As usual, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a few tungsten droppers just in case.

Flies: #12 Drake Mackerel Cripple, #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #8-12 Tan and Pink Thunder Thighs, #14-16 Bogus Beetle, #14-16 Arrick’s Ant, #14 Royal Trude, #14 Holo Point, #12 Spanish Bullet

Madison/Firehole: While things definitely aren’t getting going too much yet, these cold mornings have provided the opportunity to start fishing these rivers pretty consistently now, especially in the mornings. Swinging and nymphing will be best on the Madison. On the Firehole, swinging is always effective, but keep an eye out for White Miller Caddis, terrestrials and even possibly a few early baetis.

Flies: #8-12 Partridge & Peacock, #8-12 Partridge & Orange, #6 Sparkle Minnow, #8 Simi Seal Leech, #8-12 Black Sili Legs, #14-16 Red Neck, #14 Holo Point, #12 Tan Elk Hair Caddis, #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun

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