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.
*** 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. ***
Report compiled by Carol Henckel
Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg
Spencer states,” the week was very busy, especially the weekend. We had 12 campers here. Lots of people out. People are catching crappie, and perch. Guys are catching northern pike at Rattlesnake. We have 14 inches of ice in the bay. They are using side by sides and 4 wheelers in the bay. The ice is definitely thinner and less in inches going north. There are pressure ridges out there so be aware. There are some open areas which are more going east. The marina is open on the weekends and he is selling 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,” lots of people were definitely out there fishing this week. It was one of the largest number of fishermen I have seen in a long time. I talked to a lot of people who were catching fish. Some nice big northern were caught this weekend. I heard of some super nice crappies caught. A bunch of perch were also caught. For all of the species the guys are targeting the 25 to 30-foot depth. They use a tip-up with big minnows . One guy caught a 40-inch northern pike on smelt. 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 had some fishermen here this weekend. They were on the ice in the bay. If you fish, make sure you check the ice, please be careful. They were using minnows and smelt. They caught a few northern pike. We had 12 inches in the bay. We still have some open areas. Fishing will depend on temperatures and how it affects the ice. 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 ,” the first half of Hell Creek bay has 7 inches. The 2nd half has 4 inches in the bay. Today we are supposed to have 60 degrees. Most of the main is froze but not thick. We will have to see how the weather is to firm it up. Right now there are no pressure ridges. The guys fishing in the bay slaughtered the northerns this weekend. They only caught a few eater size walleye. They are finding the pike at 16 to 20 feet depths. The walleye were at 16 to 30 feet. They caught a couple 4 to 5 pounders. You have to stay this side of Lucky Point. Not enough ice beyond there. One group caught 19 . One group caught a few lake trout that were 10-to-12-inch size. The ice requires a few more days of cold for further out. Most guys were using minnows and smelt.
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
Ethan reports, “ The bay is frozen. The main is capping up but not ready yet. In the bay they are catching walleye and lake trout. People that headed to McGuire Creek are catching northern pike. There was 11 inches of ice there a week ago. Shiners seem to be working well. Places are walk in if they are ready. You have to really watch the pressure ridges. Safety is our main concern. Stay safe. We have lots of herring and minnows. 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 “ bays around the marina have anywhere from 3 inches to around 9 inches of ice. For the fisherman that have ventured out onto first ice fishing has not been the greatest yet but hopefully with the colder temps we have heading our way it will get better. The bays will continue to build ice and anglers will be able to move around a little more and find fish. Watch our Facebook page for updated reports during the week.
McGuire Creek also has fishable ice, but everyone should use extreme caution and check ice as they go as well.
We have plenty of minnows and smelt for anglers and a complete line up of tackle for all your needs here on Fort Peck. Give us a call or stop in to say hi. The bar and restaurant are also open 7 days a week for some cold drinks and great food.
Have a great week everyone. “
Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana
James(Slim), Carri Craig, Rick, Gary 406-429-2999
Slim says, “we had lots of people here this week. The bay has 16 inches of good strong ice as of today. The river has 8 to 10 inches on the river. Fishing has been slow for those who fished. The barometer keeps changing going up and down daily. Just not seeing many northern pike. They have caught some crappies. There are lots of pressure ridges. 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. “
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, “ If you are going to fish at Nelson there is ice in the bay. The main part is really thin. I know of a few people speared for northerns and got some. Not hearing much on walleye being caught. I would say ice fish at your own risk. We have had constant changing temperatures and wind, so the ice changes are frequent. “
Cooney Reservoir – Jake, Cynthia
Jake reports,” we were really busy this week and weekend. We saw 6 campers here. The big talk was the perch bite on the north shore. Guys were using wax worms and maggots. The rainbow trout fishing was only good in the morning and evening. People are using Swedish pimples and worms. People need to come on and off the ice through the boat ramp. Please do not use any other way, like through campgrounds. Ice is variable in depth, from 8 to 14 inches at the dam. As of today the edges of the ice have softened. I heard of no ling caught this week. “
FWP memo as of 2-1-2021:
Ice fishermen reminded to use boat ramps to access Cooney Reservoir
Off-road access to lake is causing damage.
BILLINGS – Ice fishermen who access Cooney Reservoir with automobiles, ATVs or snowmobiles are reminded that they must drive onto and off of the ice only from boat ramps. Those who drive directly from campgrounds, parking areas and roadways onto the ice are causing damage to park resources.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks prohibits off-road travel, including access to the frozen lake, in Cooney Reservoir State Park to prevent damage. The prohibition includes winter access to the frozen lake from points other than boat ramps.
Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson
Bob says , “ the lake has a skim of ice on it. A few people off and on tried to fish but we had 60-degree temperatures, so things changed quickly. They are doing it at their own risk. It has to be colder to have the ice firm up. 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.”
Deadmans Tony and Pat Stefani
Pat explains,” we have two ice fishermen trying their luck this week on the ice. They were fishing by the boat dock. I do not know if they had any luck. “
Cozy Corner bar Deadmans/Martinsdale Lavina 406-636-2261 Terry
Terry reports, “someone went fishing this week at Deadmans, but I got no report back. I heard the ice is good at Bair. Just be careful anywhere you go.”
Checkerboard Inn Checkerboard, MT Rick and Judy Geordge 406-572-3373
Judy reports, “ People are catching at Bair, but it takes a while. They have caught some nice ones. Bair has 16 inches of good ice. we did have some people head to Newland, but they had no luck. A lot of people headed to Sutherland to fish, but we did not hear how they did. “
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 ,” I heard that at the Achley Lake -Woodsy Cup ice fishing Derby on Saturday no one caught a muskie.
East Fork- The ice is good on the East Fork. It has about 15 inches of ice now. People are doing well and catching some perch . Occasionally a big one. There was a lot of action all day.
Spring Creek- People have been fly fishing on Spring Creek this week. It has open water, and you can fish from shore. ”
Hanson Dam and Carter- They are saying the fishing is good. They have caught some nice fish. There is 12 to 14 inches of ice.
Achley- Word has it that they are catching some trout at Achley. It is not red hot. “
Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon
Sharon says, “
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 in the bay is 10 inches 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 is a pressure ridge going Hole in the Wall west to east. It is going straight across. We have had two 4 wheelers go through . One they got out and the other is still down there. Please be very careful. Trout are being caught close to shore. The perch are out a half a mile to a mile going east. People are going deep for perch to 30 to 40 feet. They are catching trout at 6 to 8 feet depths. 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,” No news on Canyon Ferry this week . It has been 50 degrees some days so really watch the ice. The Gallatin and Madison are open. There are still ice chunks on the Jefferson below the dam.”
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 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
Beau reports,” I had some guides go out. They were on the Big Horn . Guys fished from the After Bay to the Big Horn Access. They were in boats , but it is definitely low enough to wade. Sow bugs are still working. You can also use a midge pattern as they are working. They said they did not see much top surface action. “
Big Horn Trout Shop Fort Smith 666-2375 Rick/Hale/ Stephanie
Rick said, “ fishing was really good this week. With the 60-degree temperatures we saw locals coming to fish. Of course with the warm weather we did see wind. People have seen very little small baetes. There are some little midges out there on the bank, but the fish are not keying on them . People are catching some nice fish. The CFS is 2000 . Nymphs are really working. Guys are wading in for fishing at 3 mile and catching some nice fish. Some were trying zebra midges and are starting to throw red bed worms. Use a leach pattern. Dries are not working right now. Pull streamers deep as they are working. Try a thin mint or hot bed leaches or egg sucking leaches.
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.