Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 12.23.20
By angelamontana

Posted: December 24, 2020

Winter is approaching  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.


(report compiled by Carol Henckel)

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Spencer states,” it has been cold,  20 degrees  at night and 50 degrees during the day.  So during the day you may have some water There is 7 to 8 inches of ice  from the dock site to the main water.  The ice is popping some and you should watch for pressure ridges. There is ice at Rattlesnake and by the Marina.  That seems to be where people are fishing. You cannot go any further than before Pee Wee and Sand Point .   We had 8 to 10 cars out here fishing.   I heard a good amount, of perch were caught. Also some crappie caught.  A few of the crappie were 12 to 13 inches, nice size.  Very few northern pike and walleye caught I heard.

I did hear DeSmet is not froze over yet.   “

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

Wade said,” people told me they have been catching crappie and perch. Right in front of the marina  has been where people are fishing most of the time.  It seems to be a decent bite for this early in ice fishing season.  I have heard  that there is 6 inches of ice.  I have minnows scheduled to arrive December 26th, 2020.  We are scheduled to open Sunday December 27th, 2020  6am to noon.  If  you want minnows during the week, I will come to the marina to sell them, but the order must be 6 dozen or more.  Call 406-860-2568. And speak to Wade. “

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   

Linda said” the paper-thin ice is no longer has the high winds blew it away.  With the wind and melting the road was somewhat muddy Monday afternoon.  We did not see anyone fishing or even here this week. ”

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  

*Unable to contact someone.

Clint reports”    We have no  ice at this time.  The weather has been warm. The bass and northern pike can be caught.  The docks have been pulled. The water is cold.  Things are starting to wind down and we are waiting for ice. “

We have changed our hours at the marina.  At this time we are taking time off in December so you may not find someone there.  Normally 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 have no ice.  I have seen no boats on this end this week.  Guys have gone to the river and I heard they caught a few walleye.  You can ice fish at Nelson.  There was 4 to 6 inches last week.  The walleye and pike were in 10 to 20 feet of water. Guys were using top-ups and minnows.

I do  have  sucker minnows. I have  shiners and nightcrawlers.  ”

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 “ here is the Christmas week fishing report.

The weather has been really nice, this week  but not  as much for fishermen at the damn.   The ramps are ice and snow free.

walleye fishing- no reports for this week.

Northern Pike -fishing has continued to be good  for Northerns.  Fish have been getting caught in 10 to 20 feet of water trolling spoons and cranks.

Small mouth- No reports this week.

Lake trout- Lake trout fishing  has been fairly good for the guys that have been out chasing them but that has been limited to only a few guys.   The jig bite seems to still be the best this week  with guys jigging in 25 to 55 feet of water.  Sounds like guys were seeing plenty of fish but they were definitely a little lethargic , but guys, figured out the right cadence to trigger the bite.

Salmon-over for the season.

Water temps  have been  between 40- 41  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.

Hope everyone has a  great Christmas.  Good luck on the water and be safe.

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

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

Gary says, “ walleye fishing has been steady.  They are not major size.  It is not hot and heavy. The bite is slow. We have 7 ½  inches of ice now.  The days have been warm so there is water on the ice and then the  nights  are cold, so it freezes.  We have 24  people out there right now.  The ice is really slick,  so you need chains and cleats. “

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, “ there is now  10 to 12  inches of ice on Nelson now.  Guys are catching lots of northern pike.  A nice size one here and there.  The walleye and perch bite is just okay.  People  have put portable shacks on.   The walleye  bite with tip-ups is slow right now.   It is good clear ice.

Forchette only has a skim of ice in the bay.  It is not safe.  You cannot put a boat in. “

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports,” on Friday and  Saturday the ice was about 4-9 inches depending on the location. The ice is all over. It still is only safe for walk on only.  There is a big difference.   People are fishing.  I fished close to a lady and I caught a lot of trout and she caught very few.  I threw everything at them I was jigging with a Swedish pimples or  a crappie combination.  Worms were not working. I threw every color out there.  Saturday was better than Sunday.  The weather was decent.

I know some who headed to Georgetown where it has been good for trout.  Only a few salmon were caught.“

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob says , “  we have lots of ice but not thick ice.  Only good enough for the birds.   It is really thin.  At this point there is no place to fish yet.  We have had lots of wind last couple of days.  It is too thin for anyone to use.”

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

 Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,”  we have a little ice in places which we got a couple of days ago.  We did have  a lot of wind this week . We saw no one out fishing. “

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

Terry reports, “ there is good ice at Sutherland  as there are ice shacks on the ice.  So it must be  enough in thickness.”

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

Judy reports, “  fishing is  good on Bair at times. Sometimes  it can be spotty.   The  Bair has 12 inches.  It does have  portable shacks on it.  We are hearing  Sutherland  and Newland have good ice. Sutherland has shacks on it. “

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 ,”

East Fork- the east fork has 6 inches of ice now, so people are fishing. They are catching perch and northern pike.

Hanson Dam-  At Hansom Dam guys are catching —rainbow trout under 6 inches of ice.

Crooked Creek-I have been told there is ice at Crooked Creek, but they say stay in the bay.  Fishing is slow they report.

Colby reported last week,”

Casino Creek –  Casino Creek  has 6 inches of ice.  Fishermen are catching perch and suckers.

Carters Pond-  Carters Pond has six inches of ice .  Guys are catching some nice rainbows.

Nelson- People have been ice fishing   on 8 inches of ice right now I hear.  ”

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon says, “ We  still have 3 to 4 inches of ice this week. It is walk on only.   It is open water at white earth and goose bay.  It has been good for catching trout if you can get out there.  The wind has been  blowing  a lot this week.  People have been on Pond #4. That is as far as you can go for ice right now.  A few perch have been caught. They are nice size.  Use worms, bobbers, and floating jigs.

Lake Helena and Housier have ice also.   “

Sharon says, I have polar picks for a very reasonable cost at the shop.  If you do not feel you need them for you as an adult, please consider them for your children.  They hang around your neck and if you should fall in  it opens up and can help you pull yourself back up on the ice. Feel free to call for information or stop in at the shop.   Call 266-3100. I am here all the time so I  will give you any  information I know.  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,”   Canyon Ferry has  ice now.  They say there is some open water.  People are ice fishing. He said 3 to 4 inches of ice.  With the winds we have been having that ice could change so be careful.

The rivers are more open, but you might find ice on the edges.

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

Yellowstone  has open water with the warmer temperatures but ice on the edge.

We have closed our shop for the season until Spring. ”

Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

I have not been on the Big Horn  but heard there was  decent  fishing.  It is less off color.  Streamers are working.  There  are some nice fish.

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

Rick  explained,”  guys are catching some nice fish.  Use a streamer as they are working.   Use black and  white or a leach pattern.  No dries are working.  Make sure to use a sink tip and go deep. The thin mint is the fly of choice right now.   The CFS is down to  2100.   The browns are on the reds, so we ask you to stay off of them.  The water is clear.

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  


This is our final report for the year. On October 23,2020.  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!

This 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

Fishing in Yellowstone is officially closed for the season.  It usually opens  Memorial Day weekend the next year.