CENTRAL TO EASTERN MONTANA FISHING REPORT 4.28.21
By angelamontana

Posted: April 28, 2021
COMPILED BY Carol Henckel

 Spring is here and that can bring unusual weather and sudden changes in weather temperatures,  wind  and  flooding  which means  everyone needs to be vigilant when being outside.   Outdoor enthusiasts, including fishermen need to pay attention to these changes.   We live in Montana where snow can still be a possibility  so, please stay alert to forecasts.  The possibility of fire is still a reality in the Spring, and it  can  happen   quickly.   Please  watch where you drive as it is already really dry.  Fishermen or fisherwomen need to   keep in touch with the weather service.  Let others know where you  are for safety as you recreate.  Enjoy yourself but remember alcohol alters your judgment. So, use it sparingly while enjoying the outdoors.  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 reports,” we had a catfish tournament this past weekend.  I really was surprised by the number of catfish that were caught.  People found the pike and walleye shallow this week.  They found the crappie at 30 feet.     The water temperature is 49 degrees. “

Campers point 1 to 11  have electricity year around.  We are still in winter rates with first come, first serve.  The fish cleaning station is still  closed. They will open up around May 1st.

  Tongue River Marina  1-406-757-2225 Wade, Stephanie, Greg

Wade said,” the marina  is now open.  The weekends we will be open 7 to 5 p.m.

We had lots of  fishermen this weekend as the Catfish tournament was held.  I was amazed how many were caught. Saturday was cold.  The northern pike were biting.  A few  people targeted crappies and also caught a few walleyes.

I have worms, minnows, bait, and tackle. I also have cold drinks and maybe some warm food as well.  “

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

 Marina number is 1-406-485-2560          

Linda  said, ” we will be open with full services on May 1st.  It will be fully functioning.

We had guys fishing this week.  They caught a few walleye, bass , pike.  I believe they were using minnows.  They were fishing on the north side of the bay. ”

For reservations for the Spring season call Linda at 406-230-1283.To make reservations you can also call  Monty at 406-465-0241.

   Hell Creek Marina- Clint Thomas-Layne-Kaylor 1-406- 557-2345 

  Clint  reported ,” this week the guys who fished for walleye headed east towards the dry arm. The northern pike bite has been pretty good.

We had some fishermen who fished from bank for northern pike.  That bite is not on fire.  A few walleye were caught in the bay.  That bite has been slow there.    Not a lot of fishermen.  The  docks and  the gas  dock are  in.    ”

 We are open  from 8 to 5 on weekdays and 7 to 6 on weekends.

 Lake Ridge Motel Eddie and Carrie Mindt, Haley 1-406-526-3597

Eddie  reports, “   People were finding walleye and  northern pike bite good.  They were using mostly jigs and plastics and pitching from the boat to the shore.  People fishing for lake trout have found a good bite.  They are using cranks at 15 to 30 feet or downriggers at 40 to 60 feet.    The water  is a foot below full pool right now.

We still have dates available in late April and May if you want to fish with a guide.  Just give us a call. We would love to help you. I just got in lots of tackle this week. We  have  minnows and crawlers. ”

Our hours are   6am-7 pm Monday through Sunday.

Fort Peck Marina  Jessica & Scott Collinsworth   1-406-565-6283  

 Scott  reports,  ” weather has been nicer this week, but we have some beautiful weather headed our way this week.  It is going to be a great weekend here at the lake.

Walleye- The warmer weather should help  with fishing this week.  The only problem will be with these warmer temps as we will see the remaining prespawn females go into spawning mode which means it will be very hard to convince one of the big girl to eat during this time.  The dry arm post spawn bite should be getting underway any day now.  Most guys are throwing jigs with minnows or swimbaits up shallow for the best success.

Pike – Fishing has been getting really good  for northerns.  Guys throwing jigs with minnows and plastics up shallow in the bays have been seeing some great fish.  Some guys are  also throwing spoons and crankbaits and doing well.

Lake Trout-Laker fishing has been hit or miss.  Guys are trolling spoons and cranks along with a few guys pulling minnows between 25 and 75 feet of water around Bear Creek, Haxby, and York Island.“

I have the bait store fully stocked and ready for everyone.  We have a lot of new baits this year.  Stop by for all your tackle or just the latest reports to get you headed in the right direction or look at taking a guided trip with us so we can put you on that fish of a lifetime. We also have a great selection of minnows and crawlers.  Have a great week everyone.  Hope to see you soon. “

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

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

Slim says, “extremely low water.  Fishing off of the bank is slow due to only 1.9 feet of water in the bay.  They were catching catfish and northerns using dead bait.  They can launch boats but be very careful going across the bay.  Almost all of the fish came from Anderson point where it is a lot deeper.   “

 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 have not talked to anyone who headed to Nelson all week. You can get a boat in.  I know it has raised a little.  We had  some weather with wind this week.“

Cooney Reservoir –  Jake,

Jake reports,” we are seeing logs and head heads floating around because the water has rose very fasta at Cooney.  I talked to some people who fished for walleye who were catching them. Large soft plastics or the Rapala Shad Rap with a slow presentation worked for the people who did catch fish.  No one seemed to be catching a lot of them. The water temperature on Cooney is 42 to 45  degrees in the bays. Shore fishermen are finding trout fishing from shore.  They are doing well  with a worm on the bottom with either corn or marshmallow.  “

Please remember according to the regulations the Willow Creek arm is always a NO wake zone.“

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says , “   Anglers will be able to catch and keep as many fish as they want this summer at Lake Elmo in Billings Heights. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will lift creel and fish-length limits on the lake starting May 1 ahead of plans to completely drain the lake in October.

FWP plans to drain Lake Elmo starting in October 2021 and leave it dry next winter to eradicate invasive Asian clams found in 2019. Biologists believe the destructive clams are limited to Lake Elmo. Searches upstream and downstream from the 60-acre irrigation reservoir found no invasive clams. Biologists plan to freeze, starve and dry the invasive clams by draining the lake and leaving it dry for the winter.

FWP fisheries and parks officials also are planning construction to improve fish habitat, angler access and visitor convenience while the lakebed is dry.

“Unfortunately, we cannot move the fish to another waterbody as that might further spread the clams,” FWP fisheries biologist Shannon Blackburn said. “Any fish remaining in the lake when it is drained will have to perish in place along with the invasive clams. We would rather have anglers catch and keep the fish.”

Lake Elmo will refill in April 2022 after a winter of being dry and FWP will restock several species of fish. Biologists expect that fish from the Yellowstone River also will repopulate the water naturally by following the Billings Bench Canal that feeds the lake.

Species now in the lake include cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, at least one sub-40-inch tiger muskie, yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, carp, and several species of sucker.

While there will be no limits on the number or length of fish caught and kept, anglers still must have a valid fishing license and adhere to other rules and laws set by fishing and park regulations.

We also had a largemouth bass pulled from Lake Elmo in Billings Heights Saturday is big enough to be a new state record. The 9.575 lb. fish tops the previous record of 8.8 lb. that has stood since 2009.

Brandon Wright caught the 22.5-inch-long fish Saturday morning while angling from shore with a worm on a hook and 6-pound test line. He officially confirmed the fish’s species, weight, and length by contacting Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials and weighing it on a certified scale at Albertson’s grocery in Billings Heights.

Wright, who has lived in Billings for about four years, said he usually likes to flyfish, but decided Saturday to fish at Lake Elmo. He arrived at the lake at a little after 10 a.m. and tipped a #10 Eagle Claw hook with a piece of night crawler. Then, Wright said, he sat back and started watching Tik Tok videos on his cell phone. Within 15 minutes, the big fish took his bait, and he was able to reel it ashore.

It was the first largemouth bass that there Wright ever has caught. He plans to have it mounted by a taxidermist.”

On May 15 to the 22nd  will be boat testing at Lake Elmo put on by the Coast Guard.

Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,”   we had a quiet week because of rain and Sun.  We saw a couple kids out  fishing and they were catching a few small fish. I have no idea what they were catching, possibly salmon.

We did go to Broadview Pond and there were four cars there and it was obviously people had been fishing. ”

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

  Terri says, “ I know people are starting to fish at Broadview pond.  I talked to fishermen who were on the Musselshell and said that the fishing is picking up. I had some people who went to Martinsdale and talked about catching a few fish, so it also is getting better.   I did sell  worms  this week.  “

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

 Judy  reports” Saturday’s weather was not too bad, but I did not talk to anyone who went out to fish.  The rest of the week was cold, somedays real cold, windy, and somedays we even got some snow.  We talked to no one who went out fishing this week anywhere. “

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 ,”  at Spring Creek- I heard that people have done well.  The guys who I talked to were fly fishing.

Achley-  I heard fishing was slow fishing this week.  Not many muskie caught  at Achley this week I was told.

Petrolia-Fishing at Petrolia I was told has been best in the morning and late evening.  They did catch some walleye in the 16-to-20-inch size.

 Missouri river – The river  is  clear, open, and good fishing.  It was better for catching catfish.

Hanson Dam- People say the fishing has been okay.  Some pretty nice fish were caught.

Carters Pond-  The  fishing  has been pretty decent.   “

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Debbie

Debbie says, “ guys are out there fishing, but they seem to be catching walleye but small ones but in large numbers.  Some say the spawn is starting.   Guys who are  fishing from shore are catching trout  using a worm and a jig.   The water is low.

There is something new at Canyon Ferry.  There is a kiosk and a $5.00 boat launch fee.  You can pay a seasonal fee of $50.00.  The camp host is down there to give you the sticker.

We have worms and leaches if you need them.  “

We have  Rich’s Tackle in the store  for the season.

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540 Rich

 Rich says,”   We are open.  Our hours 8 a.m.  to 6 p.m. We will be closed Sunday and Monday.  I have worms and leaches.  I heard the walleye bite on Canyon Ferry is slow.  They said they tried the lake and river.  The trout was only fair.  I talked to three fisherman who fished the  Madison.  They said the fishing  was good.  One fellow fished the Jefferson and had less luck.”

 Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 ,Bill, Ken, Jasmine

Chris says, ” the shop is now open Tuesday to Saturday 10 to 2 p.m.  We  still have things to sell at 40 percent off.  Lots of flies and tackle.      We are closing the shop  April 30th.

The Stillwater is fishing good.  We are seeing the rainbow further upstream.  The Yellowstone is clear.  The fishing was slow.  Use nymphs  to catch fish.  Dry flies are not working  as the fish are not rising to them.  Try a copper John or  Copper John.  There have been no hatches at all yet.  It just has been too cold.  The lower Stillwater is floatable.

People should  know that you cannot float past  Two Bridge, as they are working on the bridge.“ Most of the bridge is down now. They are moving quickly.”

 Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports , “ I  fished  all week on the Big Horn. The water is mostly clear.  The water temperature is in the low 40’s. The floating grass is starting from 10 mile down.  Nymphing is the main fishing technique.  It is good for  BWD.  The baetes is out but I saw no fish on the surface.    It was pretty slow.  Yesterday we caught mostly rainbows and today the bite was browns we were catching. The water level is up a little.   You need to know where the fish are because they are spread out.  You can wade or use  a boat.  Nymphing is  working 99.9 percent.  Any  colors of sow bugs are good. Try blue wing olives.  ”

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

Rick said, “  Nymph fishing is still good.  We saw more baetes.  Fish are just not taking dries.    Nymph fishing  is what the guys are using  right now going deep.  Try an orange skud,  Gray Ray or a BP-3 as it is definitely working.  The CFS is  now up to 3000 as of today. The water is clear.  We are seeing a few midges and baetes.  We are seeing dries just starting.  Try a Grifts midge, smoke jumpers, cripple Thor and  a  sipper midge.  The water temperature is 42 degrees.  The day it rained streamers worked a little.

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.

 Yellowstone River

 Madison River Outfitters- West Yellowstone – Tom Forsberg.  Open 730am-9pm  

406-646-9644.

Time   for  an Upper Madison River access check-in!  We’ll  run through the Madison access points from the West Yellowstone to the Palisades.

 Madison above Hebgen –

         Keep in mind the YNP portion of the Madison will remain closed until Memorial weekend in May. Once you are downstream of the YNP boundary, your easiest access will be the 191 bridge just outside of West. The warmer temps last week melted out enough room to (safely) park on the side of the highway. Between the Lakes Parking spaces have been plowed at the entrance of the Ghost Village Road and Cabin Creek campground. As of now it looks like it will be a while until you can drive all the way down to the outhouse, but we will see what the weather does.

 Raynolds Bridge-

           Looking good! Boat ramp is still snowed in, but you can drive into the parking lot no problem. The parking lot on the South side of the bridge is in good shape as well. Keep in mind there is still no fishing from a boat below Quake to Lyon’s, the new rules are not in effect yet. $3 Bridge While the road down the bridge is still technically closed until April 15, the road has enough snow that you would not be able to drive down anyhow at this time. The lot off the highway is plowed and in good-enough shape for a few vehicles.

 Pine Butte/West Fork Pine –

             Butte’s boat ramp is still snowed in, but you could slide your boat in with the help of your fishing partner. The park area near the ramp has room for a couple cars. The West Fork bridge is plowed, and you can probably drive about 90% of the way to the outhouse turnaround. Be ready for this road to get a little greasy if the weather stays warm.

  Lyon Bridge –

             Still primarily used as a snowmobile parking lot this time of year, but as of now its half plowed. You could slide your boat-in if you really wanted to.

Windy Point-

             As of 3/7 there is a nasty enough windriff that no one’s driven through down to the bottom level in a while. Skip Windy or have a friend with a truck and tow strap with you just in case.

  Palisades –

             The drifts coming down off the highway are pretty much gone and the ramp is almost 100% clear. The remaining snow is no problem though, nothing you would get stuck in.

               Don’t forget to buy your 2021 MT Fishing  licenses!”