ice fishermen

Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 3.3.21
By angelamontana

Posted: March 3, 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,” we had a week of beautiful weather.  The weekend was really nice.  We only had a couple of people tell us how they did.  They said the ice was good.  Only had  a few fish.   Last week there was a few crappie, perch, and northern pike caught.  The ice is 10 to 14 inches of ice.  I anticipate the ice will start to melt with the warm temperatures.  It will especially start on the edges.  Please use caution on the ice.

Don’t forget that you have to get a new fishing license after March 1st.  We suggest you get it on-line, so you don’t have to wait in long lines because of social distancing. ”

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 warmer weather I believe will have an impact on the ice.  There is 20 inches of ice, but it will soften on the edges and conditions will change pretty quickly.  People caught a bunch of northern pike this past week.  They also caught crappie and perch, but I expect that will change with the change of weather.

We decided we are  closing the marina until regular season starts as of today.  We want to thank everyone for their support.  We really appreciated your business.   “

Rock Creek Marina- Monty LeTexier , Wyatt /1-406-230-1283  for Linda & Neil     Marina number is 1-406-485-2560          

Linda  said, ”we had a full house this past week with lots of fishermen.  The cabins were full.  Everyone was catching fish. I think the full moon probably helped.  The fish must have been hungry.  We did have 54 degrees one day so there is some water on the ice.    We have good ice today.  There is 15 to 18 inches of ice.   The edges are still intact today.  I had one large group of guys of 14 people and they headed  north towards the dam and caught lots of lake trout.  They headed toward Box.  They must be moving toward the dam.  They caught a lot of lake trout. which is what they were after.  They said they were really aggressive, too aggressive to use tip-ups as they broke the line.  Another group caught northern pike.  The trout are deep.  They are at 75 feet and using a jig and plastic worms to catch them.  One fellow was spearing  and got several pike. 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 have had people catching northern pike.  The pike are being caught in 15 to 25 feet depths.  They are shallowing up dramatically.   The walleye bite has been good.  We had 60-to-65-degree temperatures.  We have not lost ice as of today (Tuesday).  We have good hard ice. We actually had a good number  of fishermen here .  Most guys were using minnows and smelt. There are definitely more pressure ridges out there so please be careful.  With the warm forecast I think this might be the last good ice this weekend. “

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, “  fishing has been slow.  People have caught a few northern pike and walleye at the dam. The lake trout bite is hit and miss right now.  Some come in with none.  This past weekend some guys headed to York Island and Bear Creek and said the ice was holding.  We have 14 inches of ice.  Due to some warm weather today there is water on the ice. One fellow found 14 inches towards Bear and at York the top 4 inches were honeycombed but it was 10 inches under that.

By the weekend I think ice conditions will have changed.  I suspect it will be walk on only.  Before you come up, I suggest you call for conditions as things could have changed. We are checking the ice daily.

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.    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 decent  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 all.  It is only going to get worse this week with the predicted temps.

Walleye fishing has been relatively slow,  but some really nice fish have been caught.  Fish seem to be in 7 to 16  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 14 to 24 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 due to ice conditions.  Depths of 65 to 75 feet seem to be the best depth to find active fish.  Jigging spoons and jigs with paddle tails have had the best success. ”

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 

Gary  says, “fishing  has been really slow this week.  Only a few northern pike caught.  People did okay for crappie jigging. You can spend all day and get one fish using a tip-ups or jigging with minnow heads.  The center is opening up again.  On Monday there was 14 inches in the river and 16 to 18 inches in the bay.   We did not have very many fishermen here.  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 still is good ice at Nelson. There  were quite a few people out fishing there.  There is  15 to 18  inches of ice now.   Only a few spots of water on the ice as of today. This week  many people told me the fishing was not good.  The fish they caught had full bellies, so they are not taking the fishing bait.   You must remember to be careful.

I have had no word on Forchette but  there is ice.  It is always warmer at Forchette than at Nelson so watch the ice there. My dad lives there , and he says it is not freezing at night right now.  “

Cooney Reservoir –  Jake, Cynthia

Jake reports,”  the edges have been soft on the edges for several weeks. The warm weather is going to alter the ice  and they are predicting several days of that.  That does alter the fishing.    The ice is down some to  8  and 14 inches  thick at the dam.  It is definitely less than that in a few spots.  We still have snow on the ice. The trout bite has slowed down.  I have heard of people catching perch and some ling. Jigging on the north shore.   I hear they have caught  ling at the dam. The walleye they caught was small. 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 need  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 some ice.  The warm weather has put some  water on the ice.  There is some open water in the middle.  No one is out there.  I sure would not trust it anymore.   I suspect the ice is not going to be 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. ”

Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,”  we had people  on the ice this week.   We had a camper that spent the day as well.  We don’t know if people caught anything , but they stayed quite a while.”

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

Terri says, “ Not a lot of fishermen going out. Bair still has ice, and they are catching trout. “

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

Rick reports, “ Bair was  good fishing  this week.  The weather was nice for fishing.  It still  is freezing at night , so it is good ice. It was 23 degrees at daylight this morning. Bair has 23  inches of ice.  They  used worms, corn and magots.

I talked to some people who went to  Sutherland.  No fish were caught.  There was good ice .  There is 21 plus inches of ice there.  “

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 but with the warm temperatures it could get sketchy in places.    East Fork and Hanson  have good ice.

Wind and warm temperatures will alter the ice in other places so please pay attention as you fish. We will have to see what happens. “

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Sharon 

Sharon says, “

Fishing  was really good this week.  Our ice is  16 – 19  inches.   They caught some nice perch and trout.  The walleye bite was fair fishing.  People are going to the south end and mid-lake.  It is still cold at night. 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.   Check with us to  hear anything new  on conditions as the weather may have changed things.    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,” the rivers are open.  The West Gallatin is very open.  The Jefferson and Madison still have some ice on the edges , but it is opening up fast.

I talked to someone who fished Canyon Ferry and he did pretty  good on walleye.  The big perch he said , he was finding in the 30 feet depths.  The walleye were biting towards late evening .  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.  The warm weather temperatures will change things. ”

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 heard the nymph bite is good.    This warmer weather will make it  nice fly fishing  on the  Big Horn.

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

Hale said, “  The conditions for fishing are good.  The CFS is at 2200.  The water is nice and  crystal clear.     Guys are finding nymphs are working the best.  Try the orange scud, pink scud, a gray Ray, or a sow bug.  Streamers are working fair.  Use a fall sinking line.  The Grinch is working well.  The accomplished fishermen are having more luck.  Our ramps are clear now, they have no ice on them.

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  


This is our final report for the year. On October 23,2020.  Nothing will change too much 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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