Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 9.8.2020
By angelamontana

Posted: September 10, 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. ***

Report compiled by Carol Henckel

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond reports, “  I did hear of some northern pike and catfish being caught.  We were not as busy as other Labor days.  The rain caused some to go home early.  I did hear the bass bite has dropped down.  The water level  is down again.  It is 5 feet down from the normal at this time of 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 a few spaces at Campers Point and Peewee.

Just a reminder we are in stage 1 fire restrictions right now.  Our office is now open. The phase I fire  restriction  is still  in place.   Please  leave the camp  as you found it.

  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,” We had lots of people this Labor Day weekend.  Many left Sunday because of the possibility of rain. Many people were boating and not doing much fishing.  We did have some people who did the Trump boat parade.  Before the weekend the northern pike fishing had been slow.  People were catching  walleye and bass.  The  walleye being caught  have been eater size.   Pike were  at 12 to  30 feet depths and are being caught with bottom bouncers.  Last week they liked  the color green. “

 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  

  Layne  reports”  right now  the walleye are  deep, like 30 feet down.  It is a tough bite.  The  bass fishing is being found on the main lake at 10 to 20 feet depths.  People are pitching bottom bouncers.  The  northern pike have gone shallow  from 30 to 4 feet.  Guys are cranking for them.  The water should have cooled off some going below 70 degrees as the air temperature is dropping.  People left early with the weather.

 The fire had the rain help settle it down.  Last I heard it burned 47,000 acres.  The weather helped. ”

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, “   I would say the  salmon bite is slow.    We saw a few caught Saturday and Sunday.  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 lake trout bite is decent.  I fished Friday and we found them at 115 to 135 feet depths.  We were using downriggers with spoons.  The walleye bite is slow.  People are using cranks at 20 to 30 feet depths.  Some tried bottom bouncers with a crawler at 15 to 25 feet depths.  People have done well with the smallmouth bass with a slip bobber and a minnows. They were finding them on the rocky points.   The pike were being caught on cranks at 25 to 35 feet depths. The surface water was 60 to 70 degrees but with the cooler air temperature  it should cool down.

People  had the  Trump boat parade on Saturday and had between 350 to 400 with 171 people on the overpass.  So it was a good showing  “

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 them 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 

Gary says, “  the Labor Day weekend was really busy but with the rain on Sunday people left Sunday night.  We had a hard frost on Monday. The walleye bite seems to be picking up.  I saw 20 inchers in size. The guys said they were deep at 27 to 30 feet depths.  Guys were using cranks.  The northern pike are in the 2 to 3-foot range.  It seems to be picking up.  The water temp has gone down it is 67 degrees today.    The water is down 3 feet. It is down 6 feet on the Crooked Creek side and on the Musselshell side it is 8 to 9 feet depths.  That is what it has gone down since the tournament. “

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 heading to Nelson this week  was pretty slim.   The guys are  jigging at Nelson and going shallow.  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. Guys are using  fall fishing technics now.     People are jigging for walleye.   There are 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 , “  Elmo has slowed a bit, but this weekend started out busy. The smoke changed things with the fires at Roundup.   Fishing is best early and late in the day.   We are  still seeing some  kayaks, and canoes 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,” the  boater fishermen  came to fish  during  the  week.  They caught some  trout and salmon.    The lake has gone down.  We saw a lot of recreation boaters the Labor Day weekend, but the weather forecast definitely slowed things down on Sunday and Monday.

 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 a lot of  bow hunters and no fishermen this week.  I saw  people  fishing at Broadview pond and they were catching some fish.  It is mossing up a little I heard. ”

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

 Rick  reports, “  we have had cool weather this weekend and of course smokey.    Fishing  fair this week.  It just is not as hot as it could be.   You have to work for them.  The water pool is half of what they were a month ago.  The fishermen I know got one to three fish at Bair.    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

 Colby  reports , “  We had snow and rain the end of this week and with bow hunting not a lot of talk about fishing.

Spring Creek-  Fishing is  decent at Crooked Creek.  The bite is good with grasshoppers and spinners.  People are fly fishing and catching trout.

East Fork-  Leeches are working at East Fork as are nightcrawlers.   They are catching perch.  It seems to be good fishing.

 Crooked Creek-  I did talk to some people who went to Crooked Creek and said it was packed.  Lots of people recreating, and  doing some fishing. Fish were caught but I did not hear what ones. “

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Fishing Canyon Ferry  was pretty good  most of this week.   Fishermen are coming in with walleyes in their well.  They are at depths of 20 to 25 feet.   Some people caught perch so that is good fishing.  It is pretty much  good anywhere you go on the water.  I am predicting an awesome autumn bite so we will have a good September for fishing.

The blue  and green algae  was there but with the temperature changes we will see what happens.  It is dangerous for children and dogs to swim in.  Swimming is not a possibility right now. So watch your dog closely.

The Pelican is now closed for the season.“

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.

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540 Rich

 Rich says,”  It turned cold this weekend and we got snow, but it was  real,  wet and soaked in right away.  The  guys are saying they caught a few walleye on Saturday and a few more on Sunday.  They were in the 16 to 18-inch size.  Monday was really windy and rainy.   Fishermen  said they have caught trout  and perch as well.   You can find  the walleye  everywhere.

The rivers have lots of  moss and  it is weedy.   Many people  recreating.  ”

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

Donna Lee says, “ the Yellowstone water temperature now has cooled.   On the Yellowstone the fish are still liking hoppers.  The bite is good from noon on.   They are  using chubbies, water walkers, Jack Cabes and purple haze.   The water is the same as far as clarity and is good.  You can use nymphs on the water such as a rubber leg, Batman, and an optic nerve.  Some  streamers might work as well.  They are floating down  from Jeffery’s landing .  That water is clear.

The Stillwater has been low, the rain may have bumped it up a little.   If you float it, you are going to  drag your boat some.  Fish in the early morning and late evening.  Try dry flies. Streamers were not working last week

Need a guide? We are taking appointments 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 colder it was 61 degrees.   We fished with zebra midges in black or olive.  The water level is good. “

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

Steve   explains,”  Nymph  fishing is good.  Try caddis , pupa or sow bugs.   For dry fly fishing try tan or black caddis.  We are seeing a few tricots .  I would say they will be coming.  Try a little hopper. The water is growing grassy.  The upper 3 miles are less grassy.   The CFS is still  2400.   You can float or wade.   I will say the center of the river  is more productive for catching fish.  This is the best fishing we have seen in quite a while.

 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 9/8/20


Upper Madison: Hopper fishing has still been quite good most days. Even though it looks like it’s going to cool off a bit this week, we are still going to have some sunny days that should hopefully keep things rolling. Ants and beetles have been working well off the back of a hopper as has the usual tungsten dropper selection. Nymphing is still consistent with smaller flies as well. A good nymph drift is going to be key at this point of the season.

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: Not a whole lot new on the lake. Bug activity has been slowly dwindling, but there have still been a good amount of bugs more days than not. Look for tricos in the Madison Arm early. Callibaetis have been later in the morning and will continue to be with these colder mornings. If you’re finding rising fish but struggling to get them to eat something natural, you can always try un-matching the hatch with a damselfly or ant. Suspending a Turkey Callibaetis or pheasant tail under an indicator has also been effective on those tougher mornings.

Flies: #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #16 Parachute Callibaetis, #16 Callibaetis Cripple, #16 Callibaetis Spinner, #20 Calf Wing Trico Spinner, #14-16 Arrick’s Ant

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.

Flies:  #12 Tan and Pink Chili Dogs, #12-16 Royal Wulff, #14-16 Parawullf, #12-14 Lime Trude

Yellowstone National Park

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: 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: It’s still a touch early for these two rivers, but with these cooler mornings coming up we should see water temps improve. We have already heard of a few lake fish being caught in the last week. Morning will still be best as temps are still creeping up fairly high during the afternoons, especially in regards to the Firehole, but it’s about time to start considering these two as solid options.

Flies: #8-12 Partrige & Peacock, #8-12 Partridge & Orange, #6 Sparkle Minnow, #8 Simi Seal Leech, #8-12 Black Sili Legs, #14-16 Red Neck, #14 Holo Point