Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 11.11.2020
By angelamontana

Posted: November 12, 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.

Compiled by Carol Henckel

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Tongue  did not see the weather this  past week  that other places had.  The  water temperature is 42 degrees.   There were only day users here and only a few.  People  fished  from shore.  There are bass to catch.

Reservation season  has ended . It is first come first serve.  The winter rates have  started. The  electrical has been turned off.  Campers point 1 to 11 will still have electricity year around. The fish cleaning station is now closed. We only had one camper.  “

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

Wade  reports , “ the weatherman was kind to us. We got no snow here.  We actually had a few days in the 60’s.  We had some wind and today it is breezy, and we have brisk temperatures .  If you fish, you can catch a few bass right now. “

The Marina is  officially closed for the season.  We hope to be open  for  ice fishing.

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

Some guys who headed to the dam and caught some lake trout.  No one else is  fishing right now.  It was windy a lot this week so getting out would have been tough.

We have closed the marina for the season, but fishing can still happen if the wind quits blowing. We just won’t  have any services.  For reservations for the ice fishing season call Linda at 406-230-1283.

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

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

  Clint reports” we got snow , but the wind made it hard to tell how much.  We saw 8 inches in drifts and other places a lot less snow.   I had one  guy who fished before the storm and got a scattering of bass.  The water temperature was 46 degrees, so it did not make sense for the bass to turn on, but they were.  He only got a few northern pike.  When the weather turned it was cold, foggy and we got some skimming I imagine to Devils Creek.    Not as many fishermen  here, mostly hunters.  The docks have been pulled.  “

We have changed our hours at the marina.  We are open from 7 to 5 on weekdays and 7 to 6 on weekends.

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

Eddie  reports, “  we did not get a lot of snow four to five inches.  Last Friday before the storm some guys had a  decent  day  catching lake trout.  They used spoons  and found them in 35 to 40 -foot depths.   There were a couple of guys  who fished from the dam shore off the rocks and caught a few lake trout I heard. The water temperature was 49 degrees.  The bite was decent I would say. Some guys came in and they  were snagging salmon. It was still  firm meat.

I have  sucker minnows and shiners  so stop in for them. ”

 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 “ the weather has been brutal this week and we have not seen many fishermen.  The lake trout bite with the falling water temperatures is starting to get going.

 walleye fishing- A few fisherman targeted walleye last week before the storm hit and did really well.  Fish were in 8 to 15 feet of water.

Northern Pike –Some really big northerns have been caught from fisherman pulling cranks or spoons in 10-30 feet of water.

Small mouth- No reports this week.

Lake trout- Lake trout fishing  really  started  picking  up before  the  storm hit.   The fish are hitting spoons and cranks in 10 to 40 feet of water.  Fishing will really be getting  good  this week with the warmer temps and the water temp cooling off.

Salmon- Snagging improved as we saw more fish in the bay last week than we’ve seen all season.

Water temps  have been  between 45- 46  degrees. “

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 and be safe.

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

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

Gary says, “  when the storm came in, we got a little skiff of ice. The wind has moved it.  Before the storm  people caught from shore 18 inchers that were 2 to 3 pounders.  One person fished from shore,  He got 2 to 3 northern pike and one walleye each day.  The water temperature is 39 degrees.  We have had lots of hunters.  Some of them have taken a boat across to hunt.   They  have to watch for obstructions because of the lowered 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, “  we got 8-10 inches of snow. The wind was blowing really bad.  It would be a tough time to get into Nelson.  I heard from someone no one had headed to Forchette.

The water is very  low at Nelson. You cannot  use the Headgates.  The concrete is crumbling.  You need to use the State Park way in.     People were fishing  from shore. Before the storm.  The water is too low to put a boat  in.   I do know they plowed the road.  “

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports,”  the trout fishing was good this week before the storm.  They were nice size like 12 to 19 inches.  They are fishing from shore mostly. One guy did go out in a boat.  He said the fish were  either at the top or the bottom mostly.  He did well fishing. The boat docks have  been pulled.  People are using worms or powerbait offshore.  People on the reservoir were using cow bells and trolling. With the cooler  water temperatures the perch bite has stopped. Walleye has been pretty slow.  There is no ice.“

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says , “  before the storm we had  a few people fishing Elmo  from the shore or the pier.    The lake is down 2 feet now.  There is a little skiff of ice on part of the lake but as always, the wind blew it out.

You can still speak up about the draft environmental assessment about  the process of draining  Lake Elmo, taking precautions to keep Asian Clams from spreading during draining, disposition of fish and aquatic species now in the water, repopulating fish in the lake in 2022 and effects of the various projects.

  The full 60-page environmental assessment, including preferred alternatives, is on the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov and follow the links to “news,” “environmental assessments” and “restoration & rehabilitation.” Or click on:


Comments are due by Nov. 18, 2020. Phone questions may be directed to Mike Ruggles, FWP’s regional fisheries program manager, at 406-247-2961 during normal business hours. Comments may be emailed to fwpregion5pc@mt.gov or mailed to : Mike Ruggles

Montana FWP 2300 Lake Elmo Drive  Billings, MT 59105 .”

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

 Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,”  we had a lot of wind this week  and just a little bit of snow. A few people were out trying to catch salmon before the storm, but we have not seen anyone since  the wind is really blowing today.  We did get a few hunters here.   “

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

 Terry reports, “  I drove past the river to Roundup earlier today and the river was clear. It had a little ice  on the edges.

I did  know of some locals who went to the Musselshell the day before the storm.  They  got some small mouth bass.  Not big ones but enough to keep his frying pan happy.  He had a good supper.”

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

 Rick  reports, “  The Checkerboard Inn is open now.  We are both feeling fine and no longer have covid. We are seeing hunters now.  The weather has been nasty.  We only got 5 to 6 inches , but the wind really blew so you see bare spots  and then somewhere else a pile of snow.  I believe Bair has a skim on it but not much. It has been in the teens at night up here. ”

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 ,”   We got 18 to 20 inches of snow in this storm.  No people are  talking fishing or can get out. .

Missouri- I know right before the storm some guys went to the Missouri and they said it was definitely on the slow side fishing for walleye. “

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharen says, “ we have seen a couple people here.  The last two days I  know some people have been fishing from shore.  The trout fishing seemed to be decent from there. I  have not heard of any walleye being caught. They say you really had  to work for  the fish.   The docks are in and the ramp is clear so you can still  launch.   We do not have any ice at this time.  “

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 did not see any ice on the river. It really has been too cold to fish.  Canyon Ferry did not get any ice this week.

We have decided to close the shop for the season from October 15th to April 1st, 2021.  ”

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

 Jasmine says, “ there is still fishing happening.  People have been heading to  the Stillwater near Columbus.  The browns are not there now.  They are using mostly nymphs.  Last week we saw a small Sulphurdun  fly hatch.   Use a dry fly that mimics the  yellow Sulphur dunn.

The Yellowstone has small chunks of ice.  Most people are not fishing it and heading to the Stillwater.

 Twin Bridges access is still closed.  Our hours are now 10 to 2 pm.

People are saying the Big Horn has not brought good fishing.  It is grassy and dirty colored. ”

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,” the Missouri  River  was  tough fishing,  and the water is murky.

I  have not been on the Big Horn lately with the weather , snow and cold.   Last time I was on the nymphing was tough.   There was still  grass breaking up.  Streamers did work better. “

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

Rick  explained,” the water is off color, but I fished it the other day.  I would say it is cleaner from 3 mile to  the Big Horn Access.   I threw streamers, dark ones with a sink tip and went deep.   I got some nice big fish. The grass is breaking off.  I didn’t  have trouble fishing .  It is not thick.  The CFS is 2400 right now.   Nymphing is only fair. We have seen no fall baetes.  There is no dry fly fishing right now. We only got a ½ inch of snow.  We did have wind. “

 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.

This is our final report for the year.  Nothing will change too much over the next few weeks as far as the fishing goes, so whether you like to nymph, swing or throw streamers get out there and get after it and let us know what you are catching. We will try to send  out reports when we can through the winter and let everyone know how the fishing is.  Thanks for a great season and for reading along. Have a great winter  and we will see you in the spring!

Here is the last report -West Yellowstone Area Fishing Report 10/26/20


Upper Madison: Nymphing continues to be your best tactic for catching fish throughout the day. Rubber legs and a smaller attractor or baetes nymph will be successful and a zonker/sculpin dead-drifted under an indicator has had its moments this past week as well. We have been seeing some baetes coming off the past few days and should only see more this coming week with the forecast calling for rain and snow most days.

Flies: #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, #18-20 D.O.A. Baetis, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun

Yellowstone National Park

Madison/Firehole: This weather we have had for the past week seems to have helped push a few more fish upriver and get the fish that are currently in the river a little more active. This week should be more of the same with rain and snow in the forecast. Look for baetis on the Firehole and swing soft hackles anytime else.

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, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun

Slough/Soda Butte/Lamar: There is still some good dry fly fishing and solitude to be had in the NE corner this time of year. Afternoon baetes will provide most of your action up there, and when they aren’t, you can always try dry dropper or small streamers as well.

Flies: #18-20 D.O.A. Baetis, #18-20 Baetis Sparkle Dun, #14 Holo Point, #12 Spanish Bullet