Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 9.23.20
By angelamontana

Posted: September 24, 2020

Autumn  has arrived   and that can bring unusual weather and sudden changes in weather temperatures,  wind  and  water which means  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 fire possibilities 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, “  I talked to a couple of  fishermen .  They did not share what they had caught  but were enjoying the weather.     I did hear of some northern pike  being caught.  This past weekend  our camper numbers were down a little we had 30 campers. The water level  has dropped 6 inches,  but the level of dropping has slowed down. .  The water is at 34.14 1/2.  The water temperature is now  62 degrees.  It is down  5 ½  feet down from  normal at this time last year.  The slip dock is definitely down.  There is no  water in  the Frog Pond.  Reservation season  has ended .  The winter rates have  started. The water and electrical will be turned off some time around the October 1st.

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 , “  the Marina was very  quiet this weekend.  Not many people used the marina although there were many boats out there.    There were some  bass and a few northern pike caught that we heard of.  Not many walleye and crappie caught.    People I talk to are telling me  pretty much any presentation is being tried.  The docks and ramps are useable just use caution as the water has dropped and is very  low.  The frog pond has no water right now.

This is our last weekend of being open.  We are closing after Sunday for the season until ice fishing.

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 bass bite has been crazy this week.   People are finding the bass is in 5 to 15 feet of water although  it seemed to be at  more  shallow depths.   Cranks were working.  Someone caught a 4 ½ pound bass.  Most of them have been in the 3 to 4-pound weights.  The walleye fishing I would say  is steady.  The pike have been aggressive but mostly medium size not big.  The biggest on I heard of was a 36 inch in size.  They are cranking in 15 to 25 feet depths.  The walleye are still on .  Many are nice size.    They are heading to the Dry Arm  and Rock Creek and McGuire Creek.  Someone caught a 30 incher.  An occasional  catfish has been caught.

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  

  Karen  reports”  we have been busy.  We have had many  boats on the water on the weekend.  The lake has turned over.  People are catching a decent amount of fish but not a lot of one species. The walleye are not biting much.  If they caught one it was a nice size.  We have seen northern pike that were 42 inches and 37 inches.  Most are eater size.  People seem to have found bass as they are looking for walleye.   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

Eddie  reports, “ we have been pretty busy.  The salmon bite is really slow.  The  lake trout fishing has also slowed down. You have to really work at it now.   People are finding them at 110 to 135 feet.  Blue and silver seems to be working.  People are  trying bait, flies, and flashers.

The northern pike that are being caught are being caught with shiver minnows, jig wraps and lindy rigs with minnows.

The walleye bite is slow.  People are using cranks at 15 to 32 feet depths.  People are using a shiver Mindy, jig wraps, lindy rigs and minnows.  A few are using cranks.

Fishermen are finding small bass on the rocky points.  Lots are being found  on the main lake mainly going west.”

 We have stocked the tackle shop  and you can find many things you need there.     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 “

 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 15-25 feet.  Pulling cranks and covering water have been fairly effective this week.

Northern Pike –Fishing has  slowed up a bit this week with some   fish  still  being caught around the weed beds. Throwing cranks or spoons or trolling cranks has been the best tactic.  We are also starting to hear reports of northerns   getting caught by guys jigging and trolling for lakers, so they are definitely beading  for deeper areas of the lake.

Small mouth- Fish seemed  to have moved out to around 20   feet of water on main lake points.  Guys throwing shiver minnows and jigs have been seeing some fish.

Lake trout- Lake trout fishing  has been great this week.  Vertical jigging  big swimbaits and trolling spoons in 80 to 100 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.

Salmon- Fishing remains very slow unfortunately.    The fish that are starting to show up in the marina bay a little bit.  We have witnessed a few rolling in the last couple of days.

Hopefully  we will  see more numbers of them showing up in the coming week as water temps drop.

Water temps  have been  between 65 to 70 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  guys I talked to this week said fishing is slow at Nelson.    Jigging at Nelson is slow.  People are fishing  shallow.   They say the fish are stacked.  It has been hard to get them to bite.  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.  There is some algae now, but it is not green algae.“

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports, “With the cooler nights, the water temperature has dropped to the low 60s. Overall,  the reservoir level has stopped going down. All boat docks remain available for use.  The fish cleaning station in Red Lodge Arm Campground will be closing after September 27th. Please be careful when using the fire rings because of the fire danger.  Things are very dry so please make sure your fire is completely out.  Make sure it is not smoking when you leave.

A few reminders for all of us to remember. Please pack in and  pack out your garbage.  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.  The lake is down 2 feet now.  There still are a lot of people coming on the weekend to recreate.   Elmo has had less people  because of school and  the smoke during the week.   Fishing is best early and late in the day.   We are  still seeing people on the water.

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 have seen boats fishing  on the water this week.  People  have caught some  trout.    The lake has gone down.

 Please camp in designated camping areas.  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 had fishermen buying night crawlers and heading to Martinsdale.  They came back from their trip and had caught fish from shore.  They were using worms and powerbait.  They said the fish were biting.  ”

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

 Rick  reports, “  people have been fishing at Bair.  The fish  were biting this week.    They caught  some fish at Bair and Sutherlan.  The water has gone down.  The guys who went to Martinsdale said they caught fish this week.   ”

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 ,” most  people are out  hunting  so we have heard little  talk about fishing.

Spring Creek- the only fishing I heard about was at Spring Creek.   The bite is good  guys said with spinners.  People are  also fly fishing and getting bites.

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

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Fishing Canyon Ferry  is good.   The average number of walleye being brought in is 6 to 12   walleye.  Trout fishing is also good right now.   They have found  the walleye at depths  at  20 to 25 feet.   Some  perch are  being caught as well.

There is a lot of  blue  and green algae  still on the water  in the coves where the water is not moving.   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 have heard very little of if fishing has improved  at  Canyon Ferry.  Last week the guys said they were catching 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. Trout fishing is good and there  were some  big ones in the  18 to 21-inch range.

Someone  went to Fort Peck for salmon but came back empty handed.

The rivers have lots of  moss and  are weedy.  They are low. ”

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

 Jasmine says, “   Try small dries on both rivers as they are working.  The hoppers bite is slow. Use a small size like a #14.   We have not seen and hatches right now.    Try  a purple haze, a tricot or a blue wing.  It is interesting  that blue wings are working as you usually see that happening  in Spring.  Neither the Yellowstone nor Stillwater have come up.  The Stillwater is still really slow and is wading only right now.  This week the temperature of the water on the Stillwater is 58 degrees and  on the  Yellowstone river, it is 57 degrees.  At night it drops to 50 degrees.   Floating on the Yellowstone  is primarily floating.  You can also try a Royal Wulff or a caddis type fly.  If you are wading, you might want to use waders as the water temp drops.

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 and   the water is grassy.  It is clearer from the Dam to Craig.  It is good fishing.  The water is  cooling.  Try zebra midges in black or olive.  The water level is good. “

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

Rick  explains,”  nymphing is really good right now.  People are catching big fish  in sizes of 18 to 25 inches. The fishing is steady.  Try streamers like the thin mint, dirty hippies and black leach patterns.    The water is lightly colored.  The lake has turned over.  People have been trying black caddis which is working  and  now the tan caddis are just starting to work.  .   For dry fly fishing try tan or black caddis.  We are now only seeing  a few  tricots, but the fish are not eating.

 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 9/22/20


Upper Madison: We are still getting some decent fish to eat hoppers, but the consistency of hopper fishing overall hasn’t been great this week. Though it has still been worth throwing one around given the quality of fish that have been eating them. The nymph bite has been picking up nicely and has been a really solid option to get fish to the net throughout the day. Smaller bugs have been more consistent, but it’s about that time of year that these fish will start looking for a big rubber legs again. As the weather starts to get colder in the coming weeks, we will start to keep our eyes open for baetis.

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, #-12 Black Sili Legs.

Hebgen: With these consistent colder mornings, things are definitely slowing down on the lake where dry fly fishing is concerned. You may still find a few fish tracking, but they will be few and far between. Time to start throwing leeches for your better action.

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: You may still get a few fish to eat terrestrials and attractors in the afternoon hours, but nymphing and streamers will be your better methods from here on out.

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: Drake Mackerels have been coming off thick and providing some great dry fly fishing. You also have a good chance of seeing baetis on any given day. Hoppers, ants and beetles will still get fish to come up as well, and a hopper dropper is still a solid option as well between hatches.

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: It’s officially time. We are starting to get our first consistent reports of people hooking into some nice lake fish in the Madison. Get in there and start swinging your soft hackle or streamer of choice and see what chases. The Firehole has been fishing really consistently now as well. Look for White Miller and baetis to make an appearance, but as usual soft hackles will be most productive throughout the day and between hatches.

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