Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 2.17.21
By angelamontana

Posted: February 18, 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.


Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer/ Greg

Spencer states,” the weather temperature on Saturday was – 29 degrees.  .  Very  few people were out Ice fishing.  It was slow fishing.  We had people come in yesterday.  They said it was a little better. It is supposed to warm up at the end of the week.”

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,” we closed the Marina for Saturday and Sunday.  It was just too damm cold  to be open and I saw only  2 people. I saw no one on the ice when I left on Saturday.  It was -27 and -37 on the weekend.  I think the ice should be super good now when people can go out when it is not so cold.  We might be at 20 inches after this. 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 and Linda  said, ”  we have  a couple of fishermen here right now. They have been all over on the ice.  They were from Belgrade and Great falls. They thought the bite was slow because they only got 10 pike in 3 days.  Actually that is pretty good considering how early in our ice is.  They did not catch anything else.  T other guys who came at the end of last week fished straight across the bay to Box Creek .  The main Dry Arm has 7 to 12 inches of ice they said.  We had nights that -45 to -50 with the wind blowing.  They went out in the morning in their hut so they must have had a good heater.  We have guys coming tomorrow so with the weather warming some we may have some news of how the fishing is next 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

Karen  reported ,”  it has been really cold.  We have had lots of northern pike caught. They were finding the pike at 16 to 25 feet.  Guys are catching lots of walleye and lake trout as well.  The ice by the boat dock is 10 to 15 inches deep.   It depends  on the area.  We actually had a lot of fishermen despite the cold.  Most guys were using minnows and smelt. The pressure ridges are always 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, “  guys have been  catching lake trout, pike, walleye.  They are heading to Duck creek, Bear creek, Flat lake and Schaft House.  The bay has 14 inches.  Duck Creek has 13 ½ inches .  Fishing really is a mixed bag right now.  Minnows are working.  It is a mediocre bite right now.  Some catch and some come in without anything. People have  caught the fish at depths of 12 to 25 feet. There is a bad pressure ridge right now that is up three feet.  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 very good except for the gnarly pressure ridge that is running from past Duck Creek to Bear Creek.  Hopefully, that will tighten up moving forward but as of now it is really sketchy.  We have been advising people to stay on this north side of it until it gets better.

Walleye fishing has been relatively slow but, in all fairness, the cold front and lack of fishermen are also to blame. I did have reports this week of some big fish getting caught by the guys braving the elements just not many numbers.

Pike numbers have been good for guys targeting them in the bays.  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.  We’re hoping this week we will be able to start crossing it and head over around York Island and Haxby Point to start chasing lakers.”

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, “it has been really slow.  We got 6 inches yesterday and the wind drifted it on the ice.  Lots of cold temperatures  this week.  We had one day that broke the thermometer with the wind I think we were somewhere around -60 below.  The wind was 30 to 40 mph some days.  Before the crazy weather, the walleye had started to  turn on going out 2 ½ miles. The northern pike bite is really slow.  Just not seeing any right now. The crappie bite has slowed as well.   The bay has 20 inches of ice.  The river has 15 to 16 inches on the river.  There are  lots of pressure ridges.  The road is snow packed and I suggest you chain up  at the lookout.   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, “  I got a report from a very reliable source and he said even where the ice was open before  is now  24 inches of ice now.  We have had really cold temperatures. There actually were quite a few people out there.  They caught quite a few northern pike.  Not a lot but a decent number with the temperature. I heard no word on perch or walleye.  “

Cooney Reservoir –  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports,”  my wife and I fished on Monday.  The ice was 10 to 14 inches  thick.  The edge of the ice  is still soft in places. I think it might be  because the water has  raised  some when we had the warmer temps.  We had no wind that day.  It was -22 some days this week.  People have caught lots of trout.  They are using worms and salmon eggs.    The perch bite on the north shore was decent. They are finding them at 45 to 50 feet depths.  I have not heard of any walleye being caught.   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 , “  the lake has lots of ice now.  The ice is covered with snow.   Some people have  tried to fish in the cold.  They caught some perch.  Keep in mind that the lake is down 3 feet, so they are fishing further from shore.  This cold is not for me, but some people are still getting out there.“

**This notice still  continues –  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 saw one brave   fisherman this week.  It was just too cold and with snowy conditions he did not stay long.  The roads in have been plowed.”

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

Terry reports, “ I had  no one went out this week it was too snowy and cold.  Business was much quieter because of it. ”

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

Judy reports, “ I had several people go out to Bair to ice fish.  The actually did pretty good despite the cold.  Everyone got some fish.   Bair has 16 inches of good ice.  “

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 ,” we have good ice everywhere.  There is 1 to 2 feet of ice at Petrolia. East Fork and Hanson also has good ice.   I have not found  anyone one who went out as it was way too cold and miserable. Today might be the first day someone might head out as it is a little warmer. I did hear very early in the week that they tried  Hell Creek and Crooked Creek, but they did not stop by, so I do not know anything about how they did. It has been really quiet. “

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon

Sharon says, “ The ice fishing tournament “Ducks on ice fishing Derby “ is this Saturday ,February 20th.  7:30 A.M. to 6 P.M. It is a one-day event and multi species.  Look online for more details.

With this cold the ice has gotten better. Our ice is  16 inches  and across the reservoir.  Pond 4 has more ice.  Across from  Confederate to Duck Creek there was 8 inches of ice.   The pressure ridge  going  Hole in the Wall west to east it is still there.  It is going straight across.  There is also a pressure ridge going north and south as well.  Please be very  careful.

Less people this week fishing.   At the beginning of the week  people did catch trout close to shore.  The perch were found 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.  “

**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 thicker on Canyon Ferry now.   One person  found  15 inches thick.  He caught a little ling and some nice  rainbow trout.  The Gallatin and Madison 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

Right now the cold weather has made it impossible to fish on the Big Horn.

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

Rick said, “  You still cannot fish the Big Horn.  We are at 6 degrees today.  They say it is going to warm up this weekend. We have 15 inches of snow and we have -21 degrees.  If you throw your line out there on the first cast the line freezes up immediately.  It is just too cold.  Everything freezes instantly right now.  The ramps are frozen over with ice.   We are waiting  for warmer weather, maybe this weekend if the weatherman is right. 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.


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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