Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 12.30.20
By angelamontana

Posted: January 1, 2021

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.


Report compiled by Carol Henckel

Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Raymond states,” this past weekend we had 20 to 30 cars at Tongue. At night, the temperature drops to 4 degrees, so the ice is good.  There is 6 to 8 inches of ice  from the dock site to the main water.  There are holes at the north end, so it is still hazardous.  There is ice at the Marina and at the campgrounds .  That seems to be where people are fishing.  I have heard some perch a  few crappies  were being caught. The marina opened on Sunday.  Wade has minnows now.  There are one or two shacks on the ice but there are quite a few tents out there.  We have had some blustery wind up to 15 mph. “

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,” the marina opened on Sunday.  People have been catching perch ,  crappie and  a few northern pike and walleye.  The guys are fishing 25 to 30 feet and fishing off the bottom  using minnows from the marina.  Some guys bought mealworms from me and also were catching with them.  The perch they have been catching have been healthy and most were 8 inches but there have been several 9 to 10 perch caught.  There are some pressure ridges developing toward Sand Point  where the ice is 8 inches in depths so please be careful.  .  There is 8 to 9 inches at Campers Point they have told me.  We will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week.  On New Year’s  we will have some hot  food  available.

Then after that we will be open for the next weekend.   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   

Linda said, ” The bay has developed ice, but it is not safe.  It is new ice.  It only started forming for the last 4 days and the wind continues.  We have no snow.  It has been cold and windy.  We did not see anyone fishing. ”

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 have no  ice at this time.  No one has even fished here for the last two weeks. The water has been cold, so the fish are in transition. The docks have been pulled.   We are about 4 to 5 days behind other years schedule so not having ice is not unusual.  We are waiting for ice. “

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 no ice. Guys are ice fishing at Nelson Creek. They were catching  walleye and northern pike.  One guy on Christmas Eve caught 17 pike and then 18 the next day.  The pike were in 10 to 20 feet of water. Guys were using tip-ups and minnows.

I have seen no boats on this end this week, so I have no report on lake trout.

I do  have  sucker minnows. I have  shiners and nightcrawlers.   We are open New Year’s Day”

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 really nice, this week  but not  as much for fishermen at the dam.   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 

Slim  says, “ we have 8  to 9   inches of ice now  in the Bay.  There is 5 ½ to 6 inches in the river channel.  Fishing has been slow.  People are using tip ups with a jig and a minnow.  People are catching walleyes, crappies and northerns , but it is very sporadic what species  are catching. We only have a half inch of snow.  We have had lots of  people here.   The ice is slick,  so you need chains and cleats. “

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, “ There is now  10 to 12  inches of ice on Nelson now.  Some gas pockets are developing.  It has been warm and windy so please be careful.  Guys are catching lots of northern pike.  Some nice size ones are being caught.  The walleye and perch bite is just okay.  People  have put portable shacks on.   Using tip-ups is slow.   It is good clear ice.

At Forchette there is no ice.  I am told you are not able to put a boat in.“

Cooney Reservoir – Marina Matheson,  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports,” the ice is variable with  4 to 11 inches.  The dam has 11 inches right now.  There is 4 inches of ice to the North Shore.  Pressure ridges are starting.  The rainbow trout  are biting, and the bite is pretty good.  Worms are working okay.  I did get a report of perch being caught on maggots. It still is only safe for walk on only. “

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob says , “  there is not enough  ice, just a skim.  Not even  enough for the birds.   It is really thin.  The wind will make  water and eliminate the ice,  I think.  Usually it opens it three quarters  of the way. At this point there is no place to fish yet.

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,”  there is ice at the dam,  but it is really thin.  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, “ I talked to some guys who went to Checkerboard and Bair.  They returned without catching any fish.  There are ice shacks on the ice.  They were using worms.

The guys next tried Cooney and came home with no fish from there. It just was not their week.”

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

Rick reports, “ I fished  Bair this week.   I caught four trout.  It was off and on that day.  It has been better another day.  Sometimes  it can be spotty.   The  Bair has 12 inches.  It does have  portable shacks on it.  We are hearing  Sutherland  has good ice.  I had people head there to fish, but I did not hear how they did.  Sutherland does have 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

Colby reports ,”

Achley has no ice right now.

East Fork- The East Fork has 7 inches of ice now, so people are catching perch .

Hanson Dam-  Hanson has  7 inches of ice right now.  At Hansom Dam guys are catching rainbow trout.

Carter’s Pond- People say it is a tougher bite right now.   There is 6 to 8 inches of ice.

Crooked Creek-I have been told there is good ice at Crooked Creek.   They are catching walleyes with minnows. Fishing is slow they report.

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

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon says, “ We have 4 to 6 inches of ice in the bay.  People have been on Pond #4. Duck Creek and Confederate have 4 inches. That is as far as you can go for ice right now.  Trout and ling have been caught this week. I have maggots, mealworms and crawlers which have been working.  Use 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,”  the rivers have ice.  The Jefferson has jammed ice  on it.  The other rivers have ice on the edges  and also some floating  ice. At Canyon Ferry  guys are catching trout on the  ice.  People are ice fishing on  4 to 6 inches of ice.  We had lots of  winds  so things can change quickly  so be careful.

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  some 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

I was not on the Big Horn  but heard there was  decent  fishing.  Nymphing is working and sometimes  streamers are working.  There  are some nice fish being caught.

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

Rick  explained,”  guys are catching some nice fish.  Nymphs  are working.   The water is 45-degrees, so the fish are deep.  Use black and  white or a leach pattern.  No dries are working.  The thin mint is the fly of choice right now.   Try the gray Rays, soft rays, and orange scuds.  People are catching some nice fish. The CFS is down to  2100.   The browns are on the reds, so we ask you to stay off of them.

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.

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