Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 8.4.21
By angelamontana

Posted: August 5, 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,” this week was busy.  It was smokey but it has cleared some the last two days.  The fishermen that I talked to had only caught bass  this week.  They told me they were catching them on the north end of the lake.   They were using a jig and a hopper.  The water is 77 degrees.  The water is at 3425. feet.  We had a lot of people with boats recreating again.   So please use caution as you recreate . The water level has dropped.

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

 The fish cleaning station  is open. “

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

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.

Payton reports,”  people have been finding crappie deep this week especially in the heat.  The  bass have been  in the shallows and have been using a worm and a jig.  Leave it setting on the bottom.  You can even  a bobber to catch them.  They are finding the walleye in the bay at 10 feet depths and heading south.  It has been smokey, but it has cleared some.  Most people fishing are doing it early in the day as the boat s recreating are out a lot of the  day.  The water is pretty clear, and it is in the upper 70’s in temperature

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 a little slower than it has been the last couple of weeks.  I think the heat is what is doing it.  We have seen people catches of bass and northern pike.  They have been heading north.  The fishermen  did okay at Bug Creek.  They said they were going deeper to target lake trout at 70 to 80 feet.  One group yesterday did well on  walleye yesterday.    They found them at  27 feet depths.   They had their limit of eater size walleyes. This week guys tried a bottom bouncer with a green-yellow bait with a worm.  We have seen no salmon.

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 

  Kole reported ,” The walleye bite has slowed since the heat. The walleye have gone deeper to 25 to 35 feet.   Use a bottom bouncer with a worm or leach.  The best bite has been going east  toward Crooked Creek or toward the dam.  Especially on the main points.  The small mouth bass bite is awesome.  Use a bottom bouncers or a jig.  The bass have been 4 to 5 pound in size.  The northern pike  bite has been hit and miss. They have gone deeper.  You have to follow the bait ball.  Use a crankbait.  We have not seen a lot of  size. Most are in the 30-to-35-inch size.  You definitely need to go deeper like 20 feet. We hear there are salmon at the dam.  “

 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, “ the  heat has slowed fishing.   It is tough fishing for  walleye.   We have seen some salmon.  Size wise they have been 3 to 30 pound in size.  They are mostly 2-year-old.     They are finding them from Duck Creek to Flat Creek.  The walleye and northern pike are in depths of 18 to 30 feet.  It is a tough bite.  Use leaches and crawlers with a bottom bouncer.  Guys are pulling cranks and they are getting the bigger ones.  Those guys are heading to Bobcat, Spring Creek and towards the pines.  We are 3 ½ feet below full pool. We are having some smoke  come in at times. ”

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,  ”

Salmon-The salmon bite has been okay this week with the majority of the fish caught being 2-year old’s .  They have been averaging from 3-8 lbs.  We have also seen a handful of fish between 10-24 lbs. as well. Guys are doing the best pulling beads cut plugs and flies  behind flashers in 100 feet of water.

Walleye- The  bite has been better this week with anglers using bottom bouncers, crawlers  and leeches.  They are finding them in 18 to 20 feet of water.   Shiver minnows have been catching some great fish the last couple of weeks.

Pike – Pike fishing has been  better this week for pikes.  Anglers are pulling cranks  in 20 feet for best success.

Lake Trout-Laker fishing   has been somewhat tough for guys jigging trolling flashers on down riggers.  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 produced some good catches.  Fish are between 100 to 110 feet depths.

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 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. Remember you are alone out there with no cell service if you need help

***On July 20th, 2021, a statement was released by the Army Corp. . I just want to clear the air about that statement released Monday about Crooked Creek! Those who know me know that I do not joke around when it comes to safety and looking out for the best interest of people that use Crooked Creek . With that said the Army Corp released a statement saying that people can launch boats but have to use extreme caution at Crooked Creek!! This is not true!!! After doing some calling around, I did get ahold of a person in the Army Corp and was told they took a jet boat from bone trail to crooked creek last Thursday and while coming across the bay sucked up quite a bit of mud but did make it to shore and had 1.5 feet of water. Now keep in mind THAT IS A JET BOAT NOT ANY BOAT!! Also I was there on Sunday and the water is still dropping so PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO LAUNCH ANY BOAT FROM CROOKED CREEK BOAT RAMP.

Thank you and have a great day.

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, “  I am hearing of many people who just are staying inside because of the heat.  At Nelson fishing is pretty slow.  The water is 76 degrees I was told.  People can still get small boats in.  Put your boat in at the State Park.  People are still fishing  at Nelson and using a worm harness and catching  medium walleye. They say they are catching a lot of small northern pike.

I have heard  nothing on how Forchette  is fishing.  I did see three rigs out there that were fishing. “

Cooney Reservoir –  Jake, Melinda

Jake reports,”  The walleye bite has been slow. The few groups that did catch fish were using bottom bouncers with Rapalas or a worm harness.  The size  of the walleye is average at 14 inches.  The surface water temperature is 74 degrees this week. Overall, the fishing has slowed with the warmer water. Night fishing has been the best. Folks are catching a few trout in the early mornings. Yellow power bait was working well.  Some have even gotten their limits. The perch are still along the weed edges,  hitting on small jigs tipped with a worm or leach.  Just a reminder that Cooney has a complete fire ban at this time.”

  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.    Recreation swimmers  are using the water during the day.  The fishermen  are fishing hard in the early morning. Worms and bobbers are being used. They have caught mostly pan fish.

I want to remind fisherman that Hoot Owl hours are put in effect to protect the resource, the fish.  We want to keep the fish healthy.  The high air heat has made the water  very warm.  So as the day gets hotter if fish are caught, they become distressed very easily and so Hoot Owl rules are put in effect with no fishing after 2pm to midnight. That is in effect now on the lower Stillwater and Yellowstone.  We want to have the resource for the next generation and for years to come.  Please help us do that.

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 many waters have hoot owl restrictions.  Which means fishing is closed from 2pm to midnight  every day.  The Stillwater and Yellowstone are under this rule. To find out more information on what waters are included check the FWP website. .

Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,” we had a couple of boats out fishing.  They were fishing deep.  We did not hear if they caught anything.   Most people are saying  it was too hot to catch any fish.  We had many campers. We have pulled  the dock.  The ramp can be  used.   The water has dropped again so big boats cannot put in. Small boats can get in.   Remember the fire restrictions, please be safe. There is more beach, but vehicles are not allowed  on the beach. ”

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

  Terry says, “ despite the heat some people are fishing.  I talked to someone who went to Deadman  who said they hardly got their boat in.  They did not catch any fish.  People have been going to ponds to fish.  They need to remember to not keep the fish out of the water for long if they are going to release them.  Treat the fish kind.   There is still  fishing  going on   at Broadview Pond although it has slowed down.  Soft say the fish are softening.   A green dragon fly is working  for the largemouth bass. “

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

 Judy reports” we have a  wonderful rain yesterday and we got three quarters of an inch.  Some people went to Martinsdale to fish.  They got not one bite.  Some other people went to Bair.  They could not put their boat in because it was too low.  They decided to fish from shore. They did well fishing from the shore.  One day they came back with 8 fish.   We are in Stage2 fire restrictions. Please be very careful if  you do  recreate.  “

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,” things have been slow fishing   with the high  temperatures.

Spring Creek- Spring Creek is our highlight water this week.  The water is definitely clear.  Fishing is pretty good there.  Try brown nymphs as they are working.  Panther martens are also catching fish .

The reservoirs are low and mossy.  Pretty much all of them.

Hansom Dam- People are catching trout from the shore.  It is better if you can float beyond the weed bed.

Forchette- I talked to someone that caught a nice mess of crappies.

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Debbie

Carol  says, “ fishing has been awesome! We do have the heat and smoke, but the fishermen are still out there. The fire is across the lake.   The water has gone down some more.  Guys has been catching walleye, and  trout.  They are heading mostly in the middle.  I know one fellow caught 20 fish and he said they were deeper. the water is down 4 to 6 feet down, but the boats can get in. “

 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 says,” I talked to fishermen  who fished Canyon Ferry.  They  said fishing was  good and they were biting.  One caught 5 large perch all over 12 inches.  He caught a couple of walleye and one trout. He said fishing on the south end was too shallow and the water was really warm.

I had several fishermen from Fort Peck stop in and they did well fishing at Hell Creek and Dry Creek and Rock Creek.  They caught walleye but also northern pike.

The Gallatin and The Jefferson are closed.  “

 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,”

FWP reported “Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Stillwater River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site. No fishing from 2 pm to midnight.  It is all about keeping the fish healthy.

There are Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Yellowstone River Hwy 212 Bridge in Laurel to Yellowstone National Park boundary

Fishing has been pretty good. If you catch something try releasing  the fish in  the net in the water.  We need to protect our fish in this heat.  Unhook them in the water.  The Stillwater is normally a slippery river,  With the high heat the rocks become slipperier so watch your step.  That makes it hard to wade.  Use hopper patterns as that is really working.  The purple hippy stomper seems to be really popular.  If you are above where there is no hoot owl try the purple haze and the purple ant.”

 Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau explains,” I am now on the Big Horn.  It has been okay fishing.  PMD’s and nymphing  are still working to catch fish.  You do have to work for the fish nymphing on the lower section.  There is grass floating on the water in places.  We are finally  dry fly fishing.  We were using  a parachute.  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

John reports , “people are still using nymphs to catch fish.  Use PMD and baetes patterns.  You can use dries now.   Try the black caddis.  You can use  a foam hopper with a pink bottom.  You can also use hopper patterns to the bank. With the smoke some people have had luck with streamers  The lower 9 miles still has some weeds. the moss is clearing some. People are  catching nice fish  on nymphs.  .   The CFS is   1760.   The upper 3 miles is clear and good fishing and is 48 degrees.  The lower part is 52 degrees.  “

  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 08/3/2021


Upper Madison: Keep in mind of the Hoot Owl restrictions going on right now through this section and many other rivers in Montana, which means fishing is closed from 2PM until midnight each day. Despite the fishing being shut down early, the river continues to fish well. Not much left for hatches but keep an eye out for a few caddis and mayfly spinners hanging around early. Hoppers, ants, and beetles have had some fish looking up the past few days, and a hopper dropper setup isn’t a bad option right now. Nymphing a two-fly set up will be your best bet if you are looking for numbers. Perdigons, stoneflies, and smaller mayfly/caddis/attractor patterns have been good as of late.

Flies: #16-18 X Caddis, #16-18 Rusty Spinner, #16-18 ParaWulff, #12-14 Pink Thunder Thighs, #12-14 Tan Morrish Hopper,  #14-16 Arricks Ant, #16 Nyman’s Flying Ant, #16 Olive Quill, #16 Holo-Point, #14-16 Prince Nymph, #14-16 Biot Golden Stone, #16-18 Redneck, #16-18 Krystal Dip, #16-18 Pheasant Tail

Hebgen: Not much has changed on the lake over the last week. Still hit or miss fishing out there, but seems to be getting better, especially in the early morning hours. Keep an eye out for fish rising to callibaetis and tricos on calm mornings. Searching around with an ant pattern can be effective if fish aren’t coming up. Nymphing a tandem rig with a callibaetis and chirnomids can be worth your time as well.

Flies: #16 Callibaetis Sparkle Dun, #16 Callibaetis Sprout, #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis,#16 Parachute Adams, #16 Rusty Spinner, #12 O.S Opal Buzzer, #16-18 Pheasant Tail, #14 Olive/Red Nugget, #8 Olive or Black Simi Seal Leech


All of Yellowstone Park rivers are under Hoot Owl restrictions also, meaning NO fishing after 2pm.

Gallatin: Cold water keeps the Gallatin both in and out of the park a solid option. Still some PMD’s, Caddis, and Spruce Moths out, but attractor and terrestrial patterns will be the name of the game here. If you aren’t getting much action on the surface, tie on a dropper nymph a few feet underneath a hopper or a bigger attractor dry fly.

Flies: #12-14 Purple Thunder Thighs, #16 Tan Chili Dog, #14 Tan Spruce Moth, #16 Hi-Viz Ant, #14 Red Foamulator, #12-14 Royal PMX, #14-16 Para-Wulff, #16-18 Redneck

NE Corner:  Keep in mind that rainstorms will cause the Lamar and Soda Butte to blow out quite easily, so watch the Lamar gauge or call the shop for an update before heading over. Flows are very low, but both rivers are still fishing. Look for PMD’s some caddis, and a few baetes. Terrestrials and attractor dry flies have been solid options, same with a hopper with a dropper nymph trailing behind. Slough Creek continues to fish well. Look for spinner falls, PMDs, and some baetis here also.

Flies: #16-18 Olive Comparadun, #16 Arricks Ant, #18-20 Tilt Wing BWO, #14-16 Chubby Chernobyl, #12 Pink Chili Dog, #12-14 Yellow Morrish Hopper, #14-16 Frenchie, #14-16 Redneck, #16 Olive Quill Jig

Yellowstone above the falls: Still a few fish to be had. Watch out for PMD’s, Caddis, Flavs, and Grey Drakes. Hoppers, ants, and beetles have brought a few fish to the net as well. If fish aren’t looking up, trying swinging or stripping a wooly bugger or streamer pattern.

Flies: # 16 Tilt Wing PMD, #12-16 Para-Wulff, #16-18 X Caddis, #10-14 Pink Thunder Thighs, #16 Tan Chili Dog, #16 CDC Flying Ant #6 Olive Sparkle Minnow, #8 Hot Bead Leech

(photo credit: Montana Angler)