Central to Eastern MT Fishing Report 8.18.21
By angelamontana

Posted: August 19, 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.

 Tongue River Reservoir Raymond /Spencer

Raymond reports,” our water is at 3421 which  is average for this time of year.  The frog pond is now too low to put a boat in.   The water is 75 degrees at the dock.   Fishermen that I spoke to caught a few bass  this week.  We did have some smoke this week.  Due to the fire we did have a power outage for hours, but it is up and running  now.  As of today the Hwy 212 was closed when I went to it.  We are back to full operation.   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.“

  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 I saw this week were catching bass and some crappie.  The  crappie are deep primarily because of the heat.  The  bass have been  in the shallows . Fishermen are using a worm and a jig.  Put it on the bottom.  You can even  try a bobber to catch them.  If they were looking for walleye they head south.  I did not see any walleye caught.  The walleye in the bay  are  at 10 feet depths.  It has been smokey, so they fish early in the day. The water 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.  “  I have worms, leaches,  minnows, bait, and tackle. I also have cold drinks.  “

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

 Marina number is 1-406-485-2560          

Monty said, ”  (per Monty’s request I am repeating his first words.)  I sh.. you not these fish are really biting.  People may think I am just telling fish stories, but I am telling the truth.  Fishing is not too bad.  One fellow was throwing a plug to shore for bass, and he had three bass fighting for the same bait.  People have gone fishing for walleye pitching toward shore at depths of 3 to 7 feet and catching walleye.  They have limited out.  Fishermen are picking up lake trout towards the Dry Arm.  Someone actually caught three  salmon in one day.  I went pike fishing and we got fish 24 incher and one 12 pounder and 4 small ones.  Right now I am eating pike and smoked salmon.  Come to rock Creek for really good fishing right now.  That is the truth come to the Dry Arm to fish right now.

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 

  Layne reported ,” we have not had many fishing.  We have two people fishing  out there right now.  Walleye has been a  tough bite.  They are finding them at 20 to 30 feet depths.   People are catching a few bass.  They are finding them in the main bay. We are seeing only a few northern pike caught at 10 to 15 feet. We had wind this week. We see more people on the weekend.“

 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, “ the salmon bite is really slow.  We are seeing  only a few little salmon caught.  It definitely is better than last week. Use flies and Brad’s bait cup.  The headed mostly toward the dam at 85 to 110 feet depths.   It was also  tough fishing for  walleye this week. Only saw a few caught. The walleye are at depths of 18 to 22 feet. They are using bottom bouncers.  It is a tough bite.  The lake trout bite is also tough, but some people are picking some up.  No one is targeting northern pike .”

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 continued to be okay this week with the majority of the fish caught being 2-year-old                 q averaging from 3-8 lbs.  We have also seen a few more of the  older fish between 10-24 lbs. as well. Guys are doing the best pulling Brads cut plugs and  Tommy Gonzales flies .  We are seeing some nice fish caught on herring as well  behind flashers in  85 ‘ to 135 feet of water.

Walleye- The  bite has tapered off  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 – Fishing has been  decent this week for pike.  Anglers are pulling cranks  in 20 feet of water and also pitching shiver minnows  for best success.

Lake Trout-Laker fishing   has been picking up most  guys are  jigging   and finding some.  But the trolling bite continues to produce good fish on flashers and Brads cut plugs along with moonshine RV Spoons. Fish are between 100 to 110 feet.

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 

Slim  said,  “I am opening up for hunting and cabins around the first of September.   If you wish to have a cabin  call 406-366-6313 to reserve. The water level remains low so boats cannot get on the water.   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 the end of July 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, “ the water is slowly creeping up.  People can still get small boats in.  Put your boat in at the State Park.  I talked to some fishermen who caught some nice eater size fish.  They were pulling cranks.

I have heard  nothing on how Forchette  is fishing.  “

Cooney Reservoir –  Jake, Melinda

Jake reports,”  The boat ramp at Marshall Cove campground at Cooney State Park is closed until further notice because of low water in the reservoir. Boat launches at the Red Lodge campground and North Shore on Cooney Reservoir will remain open.

The reservoir level has fallen over the past summer to the point that launching a boat at Marshall Cove, along the lake’s south shore, is difficult.

The perch are  biting on worms  and are still active along the weed edges. People are happy perch fishermen. I heard from a group that caught a few ling in the Willow Creek arm. They were using a white jig head tipped with a worm.

The water temperatures have gone down to the upper 60s this week. It looks like the reservoir has turned over. The water clarity has diminished to around 5 feet. There’s also a lot more moss floating around. Trout fishing has been tough, with only a few fish being caught in the early morning hours. The walleye bite is hit and miss. Pitching jig raps around rocky points or trolling Rapalas produced some nice fish.

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.  The guys  are fishing in the early morning  like 8am to avoid the heat. They are using worms and bobbers. I only saw a few  fish caught.  The cool weather may pick things up.  Just a reminder we pull the plug on Elmo in 6 weeks so come fish.

Hoot owl’ restrictions lifted on portions of some Montana rivers

Several “hoot owl” restrictions currently in effect on portions of some Montana rivers will be lifted at 2 p.m. today.

Restrictions will be lifted on:

  • Missouri River from the Cascade boat ramp to Holter Dam (river mile 2,166.2 to 2,202.1)
  • Madison River from Ennis Dam to the border with Yellowstone National Park (river mile 40 to 131)
  • Stillwater River from the confluence with the Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site (river mile 0.0 to 13)

The hoot owl restriction on the lower Madison River from the confluence with the Missouri River to Ennis Dam (river mile 0.0 to 40) remains in place due to high water temperatures.

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.

Deadmans Tony and Pat  Stefani  

Pat explains,” we had two days of nice sky.  Friday the valley was really full of smoke.  We had several cars who again did not listen and got stuck on the shore.  They had been towed.  We had some people shore  fishing. They were catching some small salmon.

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, “ the weather was just too hot this week  and  I had no one who wanted to go out in the smoke.   There is a lot less people  fishing  at Broadview Pond  in fact yesterday there were no cars there.  “

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

 Judy reports” we did have a few people who fished this week.   We had  a couple of people who went to Sutherland.  They caught fish despite the heat and heavy smoke.  There were people camping at Bair, but we never heard if they caught anything.   You can put in your  boat but because it so  low you have to be really careful.   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.

 Colby reported,”  we had our Kid’s Day last Saturday at Forchette.  The biggest  pike caught was 38 inches and the walleye was 26 inches.  We had 24 kids who fished.  The kids had a good time.

Things have been so slow fishing   with the high  temperatures,  so people are staying home.

Spring Creek- Spring Creek has been okay for fly fishing this week. Fish in  in the morning and late afternoon.  Try hoppers or nymphs.

Petrolia- I heard you can’t get a boat in.

Forchette- Fishing was really good.

Nelson- You could try Nelson reservoir to fish.

Hanson -Hanson is really mossy. “

 Silos Canyon Ferry-Debbie

Debbie  says, “ we have a lot of smoke.   There is 4 miles visibility across the lake.  The water has been dropping more.  You can get out at Broadwater as it is 4 feet just stick to the canal or stay in the groove.  Lift your motor. There is yucky murky water on the edges.   The carp guys were here.  They bow hunted for carp and were really happy.   Guys have been catching walleye, and  trout.  They are really using worms.  They are going north.  Guys are finding  the fish at 14 to 20 feet. You can get a medium size boat on the water.  I also saw a pontoon boat on the water today.

 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,” fishermen  are saying that fishing is fairly good at Canyon Ferry, but the water is very low.  Not much business this week so no real news on fishing.

The Gallatin and The Jefferson are closed.  The Madison is still on Hoot Owl.  “

 Stillwater Anglers-Chris 406-322-4977 

Chris says, ” My shop is now closed as of April 30th.  I am still guiding. Call if you would like a guide.”

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

Dan explains,”    the hoot owl is off the Stillwater.  This rain we have  coming down will muddy the water again.

The Stillwater is very low.  If you wade you can use a Red Copper John as a dropper. Purple haze also is working right now. Hoppers are working.  The Stillwater was down a little to 502 but the rain will bring it up.

The Boulder should be good to use  a pink fly for some success.  ”

 Montana Adventures and Angling  Beau McFadyean 406-855-3612

Beau explains,” I am now on the Big Horn.  It has been very good fishing.  PMD’s and grasshoppers are working to catch fish.  We are seeing caddis at 11 am.  Some  nymphing is still working.  It is really busy with people. 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

 Barry reports , “ It is good fishing.  PMD’s are working.  Use a Gray or tan Ray or PMD.  They are finding good dry fly fishing.  I am seeing black caddis between 11 and 5.   Use baetes patterns.  The nymphing is still working with a little hopper action. It is definitely less than earlier.   The CFS is   1710.     People are happy.“

  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 08/17/2021


 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. Fishing remains good on the Madison, and nymphing continues to be a solid option throughout the day. Lately we have been running smaller flies (#16-18) and really focusing on getting good drifts. Terrestrials have had fish looking up from mid-morning up until the 2pm buzzer goes off, so don’t forget your favorite hopper and ant patterns. Dry dropper rigs with a nymph a couple feet under a grasshopper have been finding a few fish as well. Streamer fishing has picked up for those willing to get on the water early, switch up your retrieve until you figure out what they like.

Flies: #16 Holo-Point, #16-18 Guide Dip, #16-18 Shop Vac, #16-18 Iron Lotus, #12-14 Tan Morrish Hopper, #12 Pink Chili Dog, #14-16 Hi-Viz Ant, #16 Nyman’s Flying Ant, #6 Olive Sparkle Minnow, #4 Black/Purple Slap and Tickle

Hebgen: The fishing on the lake has been getting better over the last week or so, and there have been plenty of callibaetis out. Low water levels have had fish extra spooky, so try to be stealthy with your approach. If the action on the surface is slow, try tying on a pheasant tail or turkey callibaetis nymph just underneath your dry fly. Nymphing a tandem rig below an indicator has been good when the wind picks up or when fish stop rising.

Flies: #16 Callibaetis Sparkle Dun, #16 Callibaetis Sprout,#16 Parachute Adams, #16 Rusty Spinner,  #14-16 Hi-Viz Ant, #14-16 Turkey Callibaetis #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: The Gallatin has been a good choice lately in stretches both in and out of the park. Not much left for bug activity, so terrestrials and attractor patterns have been the name of the game here. A small hopper trailed by an ant/beetle, or a Royal Cripple has been a safe bet the last few days and fishing a small single attractor dry has been effective too.

Flies: #14 Purple Thunder Thighs, #12-14 Parachute Hopper, #16 Cinnamon Ant, #16 Royal Cripple, #14-16 Bogus Beetle, #16-18 ParaWulff, #16-18 Parachute Adams, #14 Red Foamulator

NE Corner:  Storms in the forecast the next few days could have the Lamar and Soda Butte blow out, so keep an eye on the Lamar gauge before making the trip over. Slough Creek tends to stay pretty clear throughout rainstorms, watch out for some small baetes mayflies to be hatching. Attractor dry flies and small streamers are in play here also.

Flies: # 16-18 Olive Comparadun, #18 DOA Cripple, #18 Tilt Wing BWO, #16-18 Purple Parachute, #16 Renegade, #8 Simi Seal Leech, #6 Flash-a-Bugger

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