Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 7.21.21
By angelamontana

Posted: July 22, 2021

  Summer 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  changes.    The possibility of fire is a reality ,  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.

 COMPILED BY Carol Henckel

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer

Raymond reports,” we heard of people catching  walleye, perch and bass.  One little boy caught a nice-looking perch from the shore right by the bay.  The water is 76 degrees.  The water is at 3426.2 feet.  We had a lot of people with boats recreating again.  The water level has dropped.

 We are in Stage 1 fire restrictions. There are no exceptions.  No fire rings or fireworks.

 The fish cleaning station  is now open. “

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

The marina  is open.  The weekend hours are 7 to 6pm Saturday and 7 to 5 pm Sunday.  During the week we are  open 8 to 5 p.m.

Wade reports,”  we had a fair amount of wind this week.  I did see a nice 6-pound small mouth bass that was caught.  The bass bite is great.  People are using Rapellas  and  Senko worms. Guys had some success finding small bass in the shallows.    The larger bass have been deeper in the areas of structure.   Not many other species  caught.   The Park was full.  We saw lots  of boaters and swimmers this week.

We will have  the homemade  Indian Taco  for you to eat on the patio this weekend again with our regular menu as well.  “  Have worms, leaches,  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          

Dave  said, ”  fishing was again good this week despite the heat temperature.    The bass bite is going crazy. The numbers of walleye being caught are less than earlier.  Fishermen headed to Box Creek, Sand Arora, and Box Creek. People also caught  northern pike. For the walleye people are cranking or using bottom bouncers with a leach, a worm or pitching jigs.  The water level is down by 10-feet, but no difficulties getting  your boat in.

We  do have some cabins available for the weekend and more available during the week.   The Marina has bait, crawlers, and minnows.  We also have two new pizza flavors, Hawaiian and Dave’s hot 3 meat pizza for people to try. ”

To make any reservations you can  call  Monty at 406-465-0241 or  call Linda at 406-230-1283.

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

  Clint reported ,”  we have the Hell Creek Tournament this Saturday and Sunday.  Check in is Friday night.  To sign up call Casey 557-2000 or Reed at 977-2718fishing is somewhat slower.  They are  going to finish grading the road  Wednesday.  The fishing has slowed since the heat.  People have done fairly well for walleye Bone trail and towards the dam.  The walleye are scattered. The walleye have   been at 12 to 14 feet depths. The northern pike  bite seems to be hit and miss right now.  The bass are shallow.  People are catching bass using a jig on rocky points or using a crank at 10 to 15 feet depths.   The water surface temperature has been 77 degrees in the bay.   The water has dropped so we  moved the docks out again.  “

 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

Ethan reports, “ we just had too much heat like everyone else this week.  Fishing was slow.  Good news is the salmon is just starting.  They have found them at Bell Point, Grave Point, Sage Creek and south of the pines.    For lake trout troll  out full.  For walleye they are bottom bouncing  or cranks at 16 to 26 feet.”

We are fully stocked with leaches jumbo crawlers and sucker minnows.

We still have dates available if you want to fish with a guide.  Just give us a call. We would love to help you.”

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

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

 Scott  reports,  ”   The top winners of the Governor’s Cup Tournament are as follows.  First place was  won Jason Eggebrecht and Ross Lein  with 74.47 pounds.  The 2nd place winners were Mike Chappel and Mike Chappel with 72.88 pounds.

Walleye- The  bite has been picking up.  Anglers are still seeing the best success   throwing jigs with swimbaits up shallow  and using bottom bouncers and crawlers and  leaches in 10 to 20 feet of water.   Shiver minnows have been catching some great fish the last couple of weeks.

Pike – Pike have stayed  really shallow this week again  as anglers were doing really well  with jigs and shiver minnows.  Cranks you take shallow were lights out for good northerns.

Lake Trout-Laker fishing   has remained really good this week.  We have been vertical jigging in 65 to 90 feet of water with some great days on the water.    Guys trolling flashers on downriggers have been doing good as well.

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, crawlers. and leaches  Have a great week everyone hope to see you soon. “

Crooked Creek Marina, Winnett, Montana 

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

We are open 7am to 7 pm.

Slim  said,  “I have decided to close the marina the 11th of July until hunting !!!!   Many people have called thinking they could still get their jet boat in.  The water level is now 3 inches with two feet of mud beyond that.  There is no way you would be able to get out and you would be stuck in the mud.  So please don’t  try it.

If you have things in storage you need to call to make arrangements.  There are no more number pads so if you cannot make it then you will have to call 406 429-2999 or 406-366-6313 and we will have to hook up on a weekend. Thank you.”

 I have spoken with the Army Corp, and  they only intend to lower it more.  I also informed the governor but apparently the Army Corp have the final word.  I launched  on last Saturday and was kicking up a lot of mud.  I found there were so many structures sticking out of the water that boats are going to be damaged.  I want to thank everyone for your support. I really appreciate it.

 Hardware Hanks- Kolin Mahan/ David  654-1712

Open 7:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturday/ 11am to

Kolin  reports, “  People are still fishing  at Nelson and using a worm harness and catching walleye. I did not hear of any  northern pike caught.  Put your boat in at the State Park.  Some people tried cranks for walleyes.  I heard this week that a few  fishermen went to  Forchette this week .  It has a ramp with a long incline, so it is not hard to get on.   They said they caught all little fish. “

Cooney Reservoir –  Jake, Melinda

Jake reports,”  Fisherman have been fishing early in the mornings or nights due to the pleasure boater traffic.  I went out and fished Tuesday night from 9 pm to 1 am.  Trout fishing was really good.  I used a leach or a worm. We only caught 2 walleye and no perch.  Water temperatures have stayed in the low 70s. The walleye and perch bite remains good. Bottom bouncers with a floating jig tipped with a leach seem to work well this week.  The water is low.

I heard Yellowtail is really low. “

  Help the next camper in your spot and take your trash home.  We need to  preserve what we have for all of us.   Please remember according to the regulations the Willow Creek arm is always a NO wake zone.

 Lake Elmo FWP Bob Gibson

 Bob says,” Elmo is still at a good level.    Lots of swimmers , canoers and board recreational people  are using the water during the day.  I come in the early morning like 7am and people  are already fishing. late in the evening. The regulars that fish stay until ten  or eleven and leave.  Some come home in the cool of the evening.  Worms and bobbers are being used. They have caught mostly pan fish.

There is a Stage 2 fire restrictions in  many counties of South-Central Montana.  This pertains to all fishing access sites and campsites.  No fire or fireworks are allowed.

Bob explains,” there are now more concerns for the fish because of the high temperatures so we sent out this press release.

High temps prompt additional fishing restrictions on several Montana rivers

HELENA – Several angling restrictions on rivers in southwest, north-central, and south-central Montana go into effect today due to warming temperatures and low flows.

The restrictions include what are commonly known as “hoot owl” restrictions, which means fishing is closed from 2 p.m. to midnight each day. Some waters are under full fishing closures, which prohibit fishing at all times of day. These closures and restrictions will stay in effect until conditions improve.

The following closure went into effect Tuesday:

  • A full fishing closure for portions of the Shields River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to USFS Crandal Creek Bridge.

These closures go into effect, Wednesday, July 21, at 12:01 a.m.:

  • A full fishing closure for portions of the Big Hole River from the confluence with the Beaverhead River to Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site.
  • A full fishing closure for portions of the Gallatin River from the mouth to Hwy 84 Crossing.
  • A full fishing closure for the entire Jefferson River.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Stillwater River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Yellowstone River Hwy 212 Bridge in Laurel to Yellowstone National Park boundary.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for the entire reach of the Madison River from the mouth to the boundary with Yellowstone National Park.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Beaverhead River from the mouth to State Highway 91 South.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Missouri River from Town of Cascade Boat Ramp to Holter Dam.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ drought policy provides for angling closures when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when maximum daily water temperatures reach at least 73 degrees for three consecutive days. Warm and dry conditions are expected to continue during the coming weeks.

(The announcement  as of May 1st of “catch and keep” as many fish as you can on Lake Elmo.  The creel limit and fish-length  are off in preparation  for the draining of Elmo starting October 2021 to eradicating the invasive Asian clams found in 2019. )”

Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,”  We had to pull the dock, so you only have the ramp to use.   The water has dropped again from the 10 feet again so we saw  big boats that looked at the water and turned around and left because they could not put in.  Small boats can get in.  The heat made it poor fishing.  Remember the fire restrictions, please be safe.  Please do not bring firewood as you will take it back home with you.  There is more beach but vehicles are notallowed “

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

  Terry says, “ it has been just too hot to fish or do anything.  I have heard of very little fishing.  I did hear someone caught some big cats at Melstone.  People are still  fishing  at Broadview Pond.  A green dragon fly is working.  They now are catching largemouth bass.  People told me that Deadmans is low, and some boats will struggle to get on.  Someone said the Musselshell is really low.  “

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

 Judy reports” no one  fished this week.  It has been too hot.    I think the heat kept them away as well as the fire danger. The reservoir is going down because the farmers need to irrigate. Please be very careful if  you do  recreate.  We don’t need any more fires. “

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.

 John reported,”

Spring Creek- Spring Creek is definitely clear.  Hoppers are working well at Spring Creek and  on the Judith River  right now. The fishing was good,  people said.

Most people are finding  fishing slowing because of the heat.

Achley- The water is clear.  The muskie fishing has been very  slow.  Only a few  other fish were caught that I heard of.

 Missouri- The lower Missouri is low.  Guys are seeing more moss in the water.    Bring bug spray., you will need it.

Upper Missouri towards Fort Benton I hear is fishing good right now.

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Debbie

Debbie  says, “  it has been way too hot.  People are still fishing even with the heat.  There has been wind and a temperature of 96 degrees.  Guys has been catching walleye, perch, and rainbow trout.  They have been heading south.  The water temperature has been 74 and 76 degrees.  They have been fishing for perch at 20 feet depths.  The other fish have been  caught at 12 to 14 feet depths.  People definitely are using worms.  Otherwise  it seems to be just about any bait.  The water has dropped.  “

 You need to know–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, leaches, and  Rich’s Tackle in the store  for the season.

 Rich’s Tackle Richard  406-285-4540 Rich

 We are open.  Our hours 8 a.m.  to 6 p.m. We will be closed Sunday and Monday.  Rich went fishing at Fort Peck last  week mostly at the Pines.  We caught enough fish.  We caught  a nice 27 ½  walleye.  Most of our fish were around 10 inches.

I talked to some one who fished Canyon Ferry.  He was pleased as he caught some big walleye .  He went South to fish.

I heard from someone who went to Nelson Reservoir  by Malta, and he found it very difficult for him to put his boat in.  The water is really low and muddy he said.   “

 Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 

Chris says, ” my shop is now closed as of April 30th.  I am still guiding.”

East Rosebud Fly Shop- 410 East Pike, Columbus, MT-Dan McGuire 406-290-5116

  • Dan explains,”    The FWP put out a message out on changes in fishing on the Yellowstone and Stillwater announcing Hoot Owl hours.
  • FWP reported “Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Stillwater River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Yellowstone River Hwy 212 Bridge in Laurel to Yellowstone National Park boundary.

On the Stillwater people were still seeing PMD hatch.  I think that on Sunday it seemed like the last day for it being active.  I liken it to if you have pizza everyday for weeks you finally get tired of pizza and that is what is happening right now with the fish.    People are seeing caddis so you can use small stimulators.  Try a purple haze.   Guys are using nymphs right now.  People are seeing lots of caddis, but really tiny ones so use an 18 to 20 size.  On the Yellowstone fish the deeper holes with streamers.   Fishing has been good.   Try a Jack Cabe or an elk hair caddis  in size 14  as it is working .   As for what to use try hoppers or girdle bugs.  Try Chubby Chernobyl, purple haze, and hopper patterns in purple.  Hit the top water right now. “

 Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau reports , “ this is my last week on the Missouri.  The Missouri  is  very  low and  veery warm. The fishing is decent by the dam.    There are now hoot owl restrictions. Still seeing  some PMD  hatches.   We have caught some nice rainbow and browns.  The  heat is definitely affecting the fish.  Handle them with care.   Let’s protect the fish.”

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

Rick reports , “  we have had a lot of people fishing  this week  despite the heat.  The CFS is still  at  1750.   The upper 3 miles is clear and good fishing.   We are finally seeing some dry fly action.  Try a foam hopper with a pink bottom.  You can also use hopper patterns to the bank.  The lower 9 miles still has some weeds.  People are  catching nice fish  on nymphs.  The water temperature is real cold, 47 degrees.  So wading is really cold.  You have 107 degrees outside, but the water is really cold.  .  Use a baetes  nymph or a sow bug.  If you are wading , fish the drop offs.   “

  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  


Madison River Outfitters Fishing Report for 7/13/2021


Upper Madison: Still some caddis, PMD’s, and Yellow Sallies buzzing around, with most activity being earlier in the mornings, and then again later in the evenings. Hoppers, ants, beetles, and attractor patterns have had a few fish looking up as well. Nymph fishing remains very consistent with smaller caddis and mayfly patterns. Still pretty hot and smokey out there, hopefully the afternoon storms in the forecast the next couple days help cool things down. Keep an eye on water temperature at the Kirby gauge, as it is getting up to 68 degrees most afternoons.

Flies: #16-18 X Caddis, #16-18 Peacock Caddis, #16 Tilt Wing PMD, #16 Purple Parachute, #12-16 Tan Chubby Chernobyl, #12-14 Pink Thunder Things, #14-16 Arricks Ant, #14-16 Hi Viz Ant, #16-18 Redneck, #16-18 Guide Dip, #16-18 Pheasant Tail

Hebgen: Callibaetis, Chironomids, and Tricos are all on the menu right now. Gulper fishing has been hit or miss the last few days, but there’s been enough fish looking up to keep you busy chasing them most mornings. Fishing a Callibaetis dry fly with a turkey callibaetis or a small pheasant tail nymph dropped off the back has been effective as late.

Flies:  #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis, #12 O.S Opal Buzzer, #16-18 Pheasant Tail, #14 Olive/Red Nugget, #8 Olive or Black Simi Seal Leech, #8 Olive or Black Hot Bead Goat Leech, #8 Thin Mint, #6 Black/Olive Flash Bugger


Gallatin:  Still some hatches of PMDs, Caddis, and some little stoneflies going on most days here. If you aren’t finding fish rising, try doing some searching with your favorite attractor dry fly pattern. A hopper dropper combo with a heavier nymph trailing is a good option now as well.

Flies: #14-16 Parachute Adams, #16 Lime Trude, #14-16 Royal Stimulator, #14-16 Tan Chubby Chernobyl, #12 Pink Morrish Hopper, #16-18 Tan Elk Hair Caddis, #16-18 Rusty Spinner

NE Corner:  Fishing remains consistent on Slough, Soda Butte, and the Lamar. Look for PMD’s, Caddis, maybe a few Green or Gray Drakes hanging around. Terrestrials and attractor patterns are good options if fish aren’t looking up. A dry dropper rig with a nymph a few feet underneath a bigger dry or hopper pattern can be a fun and effective way to find a couple fish also. Rainstorms can cause these rivers to blow out pretty easily, so keep an eye on the Lamar gauge before heading over.

Flies: #16 PMD D.O.A Cripple, #16 Missing Link Caddis, #14-16 Royal Wulff, #16 Arricks Ant, #14-16 Chubby Chernobyl, #12-14 Tan Morrish Hopper, #14-16 Frenchie, #14-16 Redneck

Yellowstone above the falls: It has been a good opening week on the Yellowstone. Lots of anglers over there but still fish to be found if you walk a little bit. Lower than average flows this year has made wading/crossing a little easier than usual. Look for PMD’s, Caddis, and Green Drakes. Swinging or stripping small leeches isn’t a bad idea if you aren’t finding rising fish.

Flies: #16 Sprout PMD, #16 Kilnkhammer PMD, #16-18 X Caddis, #12 Jakes Green Drake, #12 D.O.A. Green Drake, #8 Black Simi Seal Leech

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