COMPILED BY Carol Henckel
Winter is here 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.
*** This one week ago we had the devastating reality of losing an ice fisherman while fishing. The Montana Outdoor Radio Show sends condolences to the family in their loss. Please remember that when I make my calls on Tuesday and Wednesday, I am reporting conditions at that time. This year our unusual weather has made the ice conditions constantly changing so if you venture out please check with our reporting parties for any new developments. ***
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Spencer states,” people have been out on the ice catching. We have heard good luck for people fishing. They are catching walleye, northern pike, crappie, and perch. We have 10 inches of ice in the bay. The ice is definitely thinner and less in inches going north. I heard Neck Bay had 10 inches a week ago. There are pressure ridges out there so be aware. Our temperatures at night have keep the ice in good condition. My brother caught a nice 13-inch crappie this week. The marina is open on the weekends. He does have minnows. “
Reservation season has ended . It is first come first serve. We are in winter rates. The electrical has been turned off. Campers point 1 to 11 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 are definitely out there fishing. I talked to a lot of people who were catching a number of crappie. Some guys caught four nice fat crappies that were 14 inches. I heard of some big northern being caught this weekend. The temperature was really cold at night, so the ice is still good. I would say the bite is good or even a little better. The guys are fishing using minnows and maggots from the marina. There are some pressure ridges developing toward Sand Point so please be careful. The north end is definitely thinner. Check conditions when you come. We will be open Saturday and Sunday from 6 am to noon on the weekend. I have minnows so stop in if you need bait or a snack or drink.
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. “
Rock Creek Marina- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt /1-406-230-1283 for Linda & Neil Marina number is 1-406-485-2560
Neil said, ” We have ice in the bay at this time. There is ice forming by the north boat ramp about halfway out. It is not thick enough, but it is definitely cold enough to get thick. It needs a few more days so it is still dangerous. There is open water in the middle of the lake still. The temperature is 14 degrees right now and it has been 5 degrees at night. If you fish, make sure you check the ice, please be careful. Our ice needs some days to get safer. Call if you need to know conditions. ”
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 reported ,” Hell Creek has 4 to 4 ½ inches. It is not ready to be on yet, but I figure by the weekend it will be more solid ice. The whole bay has ice just not thick enough. The main lake is not any way near ready. No one was out this week at all. No matter where you ice fish be careful. Come prepared for safety. Bring your floatation vest and wear it, check that your GPS setting is not still on zoom or a boat setting so it reflects the true conditions and bring some ice fishing sticks. Keep your head clear and think safety always while you are out there. ”
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 have ice starting. The bay has just started to freeze up. It is not ready yet or thick enough. By the weekend it should be better. Guys have been ice fishing at Nelson and McGuire Creek. They say they are catching walleye, northern pike, and a few lake trout. Someone said that back in a few of the bays there is some frozen ice. They said there was 8 to 9 inches. Places are walk in if they are ready. The few that went said they caught pike and a few walleye. You have to really watch the pressure ridges. Safety is our main concern. Stay safe. I have lots of herring and minnows. You name it we have got it. Come in anytime for bait. “
I have lots of bait. I have lots of fats, sucker minnows and shiners. Stop in and get some. ”
We have stocked the tackle shop and you can find many things you need there.
Our hours are 7am-6 pm Monday through Sunday.
Fort Peck Marina Jessica & Scott Collinsworth 1-406-565-6283
Scott reports “No report this week as the bay is froze over with a couple of inches of ice so no one could or will be able to launch boats as of now. Not enough ice to fish around the dam. Hopefully with these cold nights we will get enough ice in the back of the bays to be able to get some ice fishing done in the near future.
McGuire Creek also has fishable ice, but everyone should use extreme caution and check ice as they go as well.
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 week. Good luck on the water and be safe.”
Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana
James(Slim), Carri Craig, Rick, Gary 406-429-2999
Slim says, “ we saw very few fishermen this week. The bay has 13 inches of good strong ice as of today. Fishing has been slow for those who fished. We are not encouraging any river ice fishing yet. Just not safe with lots of pressure ridges. The river is just not laying down. We are saying you can only use a side-by-side in the bay. Call for up to date information or stop by the Marina. ”
We are all devastated by Rogers death. Our deepest condolences go out to the Schaad family. I am not recommending anyone go out at night. No matter how safe you are things can change and happen. It is too easy to get disorientated and end up in a dangerous spot that you could not tell was there. There are two huge pressure ridges up the main channel. “
Our hours are 7 to 7 now 7 days a week. We are open New Year’s Day. 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, “Nelson has ice in the bay. I would say ice fish at your own risk. We have had constant changing temperatures and wind, so the ice changes are frequent. Nelson is definitely questionable right now. ”
Cooney Reservoir – Jake, Cynthia
Jake reports,” the rainbow trout fishing is consistent all over. The 3 holes that were open on the ice have started to freeze. Ice is variable in depth, from a few inches to 13 inches at the dam. Some of the edges have softened. So you need to be careful and aware. People have found an okay perch bite. Some nice ling have been caught. The fishermen have been using glow spoons and cut bait for them. “
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Bob says , “the lake is not thickening up yet. The temperatures this week have been 16 and 17 degrees. Test the ice and always be careful.
Bob and FWP put out a notice closing a 200-yard stretch of the Yellowstone River east of Reed Point Monday because an old highway bridge is in imminent danger of collapsing into the water.
The Montana Department of Transportation informed FWP this week that the Twin Bridges Road bridge over the Yellowstone River is subject to imminent failure. The closure for 100 yards upstream and downstream of the bridge will remain in effect until FWP determines that the river is safe for boaters and water users. Timing will depend on when the bridge either fails or is demolished and removed by the Department of Transportation.
Signs on the site informing people of the closure will be removed when the river is ready to reopen to public use.
The old highway bridge is immediately upstream from the I-90 bridge across the Yellowstone River between Reed Point and Columbus. It parallels an active railroad bridge, hence the Twin Bridges or Two Bridges name. While it is not an official public access to the river, boaters use a sandbar beneath the bridge to launch and retrieve their boats. The closest public places to launch boats are upstream at Indian Fort Fishing Access Site at Reed Point and downstream at the Holmgren Ranch Fishing Access Site west of Columbus.
The decision has been made on Lake Elmo and it is a go now. The plan is to drain the lake in September of 2021. The FWP office is open. We ask people to please use distancing as you recreate.”
Deadmans Tony and Pat Stefani
Pat explains,” we have no ice here where we are. We can see water all the way out. The inlet is all open. People come and look and leave without fishing. “
Cozy Corner bar Deadmans/Martinsdale Lavina 406-636-2261 Terry
Terry reports, “no one headed fishing this week. I heard the ice is good at Bair. With the wind and warmer weather be careful anywhere you go. ”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Rick reports, “ I and my friends fished at Bair this weekend. They caught eight fish, I caught two. Bair has 16 inches of good ice. Sutherland and Newland have ice. No word on if anyone is catching. “
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
Jon reports ,” the Achley Lake -Woodsy Cup ice fishing Derby is on Saturday, January 30th. Registration forms can be picked up at the store or you can register from 8 to 10 on Saturday. The contest is from 8 to 4 p.m. You can call Lewis Reedy 406-423-5645 if you have questions.
East Fork- The ice is good on the East Fork. It has about 8 inches of ice now. People say they are catching some decent size perch .
Spring Creek- If you want to fly fish Spring Creek has open water, and you can fish from shore. I hear spin fishing from shore is possible. ”
Hanson Dam has good ice for catching trout. There is 10 inches of ice. “
Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon
Sharon says, “the Lion’s perch ice fishing derby event scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled.
The next ice fishing tournament is “Ducks on ice fishing Derby “on February 20th. 7:30 A.M. to 6 P.M. It is a one-day event and multi species. Look online for more details.
Our ice is good with 9 to 10 inches in the bay and across the reservoir. Pond 4 has 9 inches of ice. Across from Confederate to Duck Creek there is 7 to 8 inches of ice. There are still two pressure ridges, going west to east. It is going straight across. It is well marked. Please be very careful. People have been on Pond #4 and fishing has been good there. Trout are being caught close to shore. The perch are farther out at around 30 feet. People are going deep for perch to 30 to 40 feet. They are catching trout at 6 to 8 feet depths. The ice requires watchfulness. Stop in to hear anything new I might know. I have maggots, mealworms, and crawlers if you use them. Try using bobbers, and floating jigs.”
**Just a reminder I have polar picks for a very reasonable cost at the shop. With the ice conditions changing because of our weather please consider getting some. 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,” less people going out this week. No news on Canyon Ferry 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
Yellowstone changes with water temperatures and has open water with the warmer temperatures but ice on the edge which can make it dangerous.
We have closed our shop for the season until Spring. ”
Montana Adventures and Angling Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612
Beau reports,” fishing on the Big Horn has not changed much. Wind needs to stay down. Guys fished from the After Bay to the Big Horn Access. Sow bugs are working. “
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375 Rick/Hale/ Stephanie
Rick said, “ as with everywhere else we had some wind this week. Guys are catching some nice fish. The water is 42 to 45 degrees, so the fish are sluggish. The CFS is 2000 . Nymphs are really working. Guys are wading in for fishing at 3 mile and catching some nice fish. Use a leach pattern. Dries are not working right now. Pull streamers as they are working. Nymph fish in the drop offs. Try a thin mint or olive leach. Use a sink tip. The water is nice and clear. People are catching a good mix of browns and rainbows.
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 in case you need a reference for what was working at that time.
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.