Central to Eastern Montana Fishing Report 2.24.21
By angelamontana

Posted: February 25, 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

Tongue states,” we only had one camper this week. So the numbers of people coming here is less. I am told not as many fish caught. There was one nice big walleye caught I hear. Last week there was a few crappie, perch, and northern pike. The ice is still 10 to 14 inches of ice. The snow we had is melting fast with the warmer temperatures.”

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,” the Marina was open Saturday and Sunday. Someone caught a 10-pound walleye. That fisherman also caught a nice northern pike as well on some frozen stinky smelt I had in the Marina. Saturday was busy but Sunday was pretty quiet. There is 15 to 19 inches of ice and we had snow on it, but it was starting to melt. Many fishermen seemed to be headed towards Campers Point toward the Neck. The fish were hitting by the bay. There people were saying fishing was good. We will be open Saturday and Sunday from 6 am to noon on the weekend. I have minnows and smelt so stop in if you need bait, a drink, or a snack. “

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, ” we have good ice now. There is 15 to 18 inches of ice. We have snow on ice but with the warmer temperatures predicted it may melt off. I have a full house of guys fishing. The trout are deep. They are at 75 feet and using a jig and plastic worms to catch them. One group caught 20 northern pike in 3 days and thought it was slow. They were in depths of 15 to 20 feet. We think that was pretty good to us. We did have 25 to 65 mph winds this week. There are pressure ridges to have to watch for as well. 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 ,” we had 55 degrees and at times 60 mph winds. We have good hard ice. The northern pike bite has been really good. They were finding the pike are bouncing around. They are finding them sometimes at 6 to 10 feet and then the next time at 15 to 25 feet. Guys are catching walleye with a consistent bite. The bigger ones they are finding at night in 14 to 16 feet depths. The eaters are at 25 to 30 feet depths. We actually had a good number of fishermen here Most guys were using minnows and smelt. They are definitely more pressure ridges out there so please careful. “

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 16 inches of ice. Due to some warm weather today there is water on the ice, but it has been refreezing overnight. We have had some high winds this week. The ice is really slick so bring tire chains for your 4 wheelers and side by sides. If you walk on the ice bring ice grippers with spikes. The roller types are not working right now. Guys have been catching quite a few lake trout. They caught very few walleye or northern pike. The walleye and northern pike are in 10 to 25 feet depths all over if you find them. Fishing really is a mixed bag right now. There is a large pressure ridge right now. It is a good idea to watch for them. You can stop in for current information. Safety is our main concern. We have lots of herring and minnows. Come in anytime for bait. “

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 “ the ice conditions remain good in the bays but the pressure ridge that is running from past Duck Creek to Bear Creek is in really tough shape. I would not recommend crossing it at this time. Hopefully, that will tighten up moving forward but as of now it is really sketchy.

Walleye fishing has been relatively slow,

but some really nice fish have been caught. Fish seem to be in 18 to 25 feet of water. Minnows under tip-ups and spoons with minnow heads seem to be the key.

Pike numbers have been good for guys targeting them in the bays. Depths of 10 to 20 feet seems to be key with live minnows and smelt under top-ups.

Laker action has been fairly hit or miss but anglers have been limited to Shaft House and Bear Creek with that pressure ridge. .”

Bait store is open and has all the gear you need for chasing fish on Fort Peck. I have a great supply of minnows right now as well. We have a complete line up of tackle for all your needs here. Hope to see everyone soon.

 

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana

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

Slim says, “fishing has picked up some. We did not have very many fishermen here. They have caught some walleye, a couple of northern pike and a few crappies. At the end of last week the walleye had started to turn on going out 2 ½ miles. We had one day of 60 degrees , so some snow melted. The ice is down 3 inches in the bay. So we have 17 inches of ice in the bay. When you come make sure you have chains for your 4 wheelers as the ice is really slick. There are lots of pressure ridges, so you do have to pay attention when out there. “

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 were quite a few people out fishing Nelson. There is 20 inches of ice now. The perch bite has been decent people say. They are catching northern pike. We have had some of the high wind’s others have had.

The word on Forchette is there is ice. I hear they are pulling out some nice northern pike. “

 

Cooney Reservoir – Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports,” today we had 45 to 61 mph winds. That does alter the fishing. I have been plowing the roads, so the drifts are gone right now. The ice is down some to about was 8 to 14 inches thick. The edge of the ice is still soft in places. And you can break through at times but of course you are in very shallow places. The trout bite has slowed. I have heard of people catching perch and some ling. They are finding them at 45 to 50 feet depths. One group got 3 so they did pretty well. Fishing is definitely sporadic at times. Please be very careful on the ice with any vehicle or 4×4. The weather is definitely altering the ice and you may be unaware how thin the ice is in places. I still want to remind people that they need to come on and off the ice through the boat ramp. Please do not use any other way, like through the campgrounds.“

 

Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

Bob says , “ we still have ice but there is water on the ice. there is some open water on the edges. We are having wind today as we have had several days this week. The ice is covered with snow. Keep in mind that the lake is down 3 feet, so if you are fishing it is further from shore. With the warmer weather the ice is going to be less safe in the future. Use care.

A reminder that March 1st is the time to get your new fishing license for the year. We are encouraging people to get it on-line as we are anticipating long lines with social distancing. So avoid the long wait and get yours on-line. ”

**This notice is still ongoing and is still dangerous. – 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.”

 

Deadmans Tony and Pat Stefani

Tony explains,” we saw one fisherman this week with an icehouse out there. Right now where he was now has some open water. Between the 30 to 40 mph winds and the warm weather some days. No word on how he did. ”

 

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

No one out because of the wind this week.

 

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

Rick reports, “ there were people out on Bair ice fishing. Bair has 21 inches of ice. They did pretty good on trout using worms, corn and magots.

I know some people went to Sutherland as their ice is good. There is 21 plus inches of ice there. Do not know if they caught fish. “

 

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

Staff reports ,” there is good ice all around. East Fork and Hanson have good ice. We did a warm day in the 50s and some of the wind other places had. If the wind continues places will start having some open spaces. The nights are still cold at 20 degrees, so the ice has not changed a lot. You still can fish at Achley as well. Slim was in from Crooked Creek and said fishing had picked up some this week. “

 

Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon says, “ We had the ice fishing tournament “Ducks on ice fishing Derby “ this last Saturday. They had 475 people attend. Congratulations to this group. They were very well organized, and people seemed to have a good time. The winning perch was 1.4 pounds, and the winning walleye was 3 pounds.

Fishing has not been bad. On a scale of one to ten I think it is a seven. Our ice is 16 inches. Pond 4 has more ice. Remember to watch for the pressure ridge going from Hole in the Wall west to east. It is going straight across. There is also a pressure ridge going north and south as well. Please be very careful.

People have been catching trout close to shore in 6 to 8 feet depths. . The perch were found a half a mile to a mile going east. People are going deep for perch to 30 to 40 feet. Not many walleye caught. Stop in to hear anything new I have maggots, mealworms, and crawlers if you use them. Try using bobbers, and floating jigs. “

**I sell 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,” I hear the ice is 15 to 17 inches on Canyon Ferry now. I was told that there are some weird pressure ridges out there and people need to be real, careful. With the high winds we have been having conditions can change pretty quickly right now. The Rivers are still iced up. ”

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 river changes with the recent cold weather makes it not safe or possible to fish.

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

Montana Adventures and Angling Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports , I have not been out lately. This warmer weather means you can fly fish on the Big Horn.

 

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

Rick said, “ You can fish the Big Horn because of the warmer weather. Guys are finding streamers are working the best. You need to fish deep. Use olive or black patterns. If you try nymphs use gray rays or hot head pinks fish in the deep holes or drop offs. Hale’s Grinch has been doing really well. Our ramps are clear now, they have no ice on them. I will say we have wind today, but I hope that changes later in the week. We are getting lots of calls for bookings. Make your call now if you want to book a guide or lodging as we are filling lots of spaces. It is the time to do it. “

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. 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.

Montana

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.