The ice depth is about 5” and we expect subzero over nights with highs around 10 degrees. New Years Eve looks like a high of -1 so the ice should be solidifying up this week. New Years Day and Sunday expect highs in the 30s. Northerns are biting minnows in 12’ water just above the weed lines. Has not been much traffic on the lake as the ice builds.
Jayme Miller | Castle Rock Live Bait Shop | 416 Wildrye St | Colstrip, MT 59323 | 406-740-2313 | www.castlerockbait.com
5 inches of ice to lucky point; 2 inches from there to the mouth and going west. Don’t forget our annual ice fishing tournament, 2/12/22. Hope to see you there!
All good here on the Mo this fall, late fall, and into the winter months. We are super stoked with the fishing conditions absolutely terrific. If you are gonna head on out this December feel free to give us a call first for the up to the minute report here at the shop 406-235-3447.
Average high daily temperatures come in at 35F. The lows in the cellar at 15F. So pretty cold overall. But not this month or this fall into winter. Nope. Moderate temperatures as well as that damn wind. Pretty windy on and off. Seems like1 of 2 are windy. The good news is that you can certainly find some lee shores to shield yourself against the wind. Reasonable conditions are possible in this month fo December as well. And, we at the shop open daily @ 8am for all you last minute and fly pattern needs. Demo rods on sale too!
Not much precipitation on the books this fall and not much in the forecast either. Some possible spit of snow as we move into the back end of next week.
Flows are still low, 2900cfs, and will continue at this level throughout the coming winter. So wade fisherman and boat anglers alike at taking advantage of the river travel opps. Yes you can certainly learn about the subsurface structures as most are exposed. I love to get out and just walk. Walk in the water and check things out. Boots on the ground. Buckets, dips, declines, riffles, runs, tailouts, and the like. Put it all in your memory banks for when the conditions are not as friendly.
Nymphers like the Sow and Scud combo. You could use the Zebra too. Soon we will be in the Pink Fly Game that will run through March into April as well. No reason for split shot at the current time, but when the trout get into that deep and slow winter holding water you will find a split shot adding weight to your rig quite helpful.
Most will focus on the upper river for the nymph bite. The dam is once again popular for the wade and boat gang. Fishing to Craig is the other option. Although last winter many were fishing below the Craig section and enjoying success in the canyon.
Streamer anglers love it too. Getting out and wading around islands or stripping your bugger through a run on foot. Boat anglers will find fewer shores to cast at as the water levels are not conducive to bank tossers. No heavy sink tips required now, but I have found a couple streamer rods rigged for different depths can get you closer to the prize. Headhunters jammed full of streamer lines if you are Streamer-Curious this winter.
Swingers Unite. Lots of trout spey anglers in and out of the shop learning, buying, filling in tip kits, finding accessories for the spey game and getting the best local intel daily. Also Headhunters is your Trout Spey Education Center. Whether you want to get a casting lesson, a guide trip, or lodging for your weekend trip give us a shout first and we will guide you toward spey success.
Lots of Trout Spey Action out there this month as the bugs have been knocked down a couple notches for the trout food diet scale. Yessir. Leeches, Carey’s and Sparrows, buggers, and some flash will get it done. HH carries the Best Flies Under the Big Sky with the only Trout Spey fly section on the Mighty Mo.
Dry Flies? Maybe? You will have to out there when it happens. Still seeing some BWO’s float by in the afternoon. Occasional opportunities for the dry fly guy. Localized for sure. I’d toss a cripple at them. Or an Adams.
Lodging is discounted locally too. Call 406-235-3447 to chat with Julie or Sara for lodging options in your price range. Lodging for a couple guests available in downtown Craig.
Shop open daily @ 8am. The only daily shuttle biz all winter long here in Craig, rental boats, lodging, flies, hot coffee, local river info, maps, and so much more all December long…
And, don’t forget about Headhunters for your fly fishing gifts. We deliver to your doorstep!
Happy T-Day hangover, Cyber Monday, and we will rejoice today because the wind is temporarily gone away!
No fishing report this week. Check out the latest food specials at www.facebook.com/ft.peckmarina.
–NO REPORT THIS WEEK–This report is from last week’s report.
It is December 16, 2021 and I want to give ice updated at Crooked Creek. So the river has some ice on it along with snow. No one has made it out yet!!!!! So with that being said this year at Crooked Creek ice fishing is going to be extremely difficult because it’s going to be river fishing only !! There is no water in the bay, the corp has decided to let more water out again and this started 5 days ago so depths in the river are going to change along with a faster current. I feel that if you have decide to come to Crooked Creek to ice fish and are a first timer or new to the situation PLEASE RECONSIDER IT IS GOING TO BE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THINGS FLOW AROUND THERE !! Please don’t think that I don’t want you there it’s all about safety and for you to go home at the end of the day or weekend so if you have a cabin rented and want to cancel give me a call at 406-366-6313 or 406-429-2999. Now for you seasoned guys and gals the marina will be open only when people are there for cabin rentals mostly on the weekends, I will not be carrying any kind of bait so bring it with you, I will have the typical stuff in the store and gas, I am sorry that’s how I have to do it this year. For info give me a call 406-429-2999 or 406-366-6313 thank you and have a Merry Christmas.
Fins and Feathers scores the Upper Madison a 2/5.
The Upper Madison has reopened to fishing but we advise anglers to stay off the river to let the fish rebound from the Hebgen Dam malfunction. There are better are options in the area to check out.
Fins & Feathers is a full-service Bozeman fly shop and Montana fly fishing outfitter. Upper Madison River fly fishing trips are available year-round with our Bozeman fly fishing guides.
Smith Lake – 5-6 Inches of solid ice.
Rogers Lake – 5-6 Inches.
Lower Stillwater – 5-7 Inches.
Blanchard – 6 Inches on the main body.
Island Lake – 6 Inches of ice.
Dog Lake – 4-5 Inches. Still a few soft spots.
Church Slough – 3-4 Inches. Watch for springs.
Echo Lake – 3 Inches in the bays and full lake is capped.
Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Fishing has been on the back burner for many as the holidays approach. This time of year is always busy with friends and family, events, shopping, and just the general hectic-ness of the world today. It’s always enjoyable, but remember to set some time aside to soak in the season.
One of the best ways to do that? Get outside.
Not a whole lot is happening on the Yellowstone River these days. Shelf ice is beginning to form in spots and on these colder nights you can expect some slush in the river. The biggest challenge is the wind though. This December has been windier than normal, which around here is saying something.
There is some snow in the forecast for the coming days (could we get lucky with a white Christmas this year?) which is always a good thing. We will take any snow we can get at this point. The Snotel map is looking a little dry these days, and after last year we’re all praying for snow.
If you really want to get out, book a day on local spring creek. The winter fishing is pretty good there, and you can find some sheltered spots to get out of the wind. These are pay to play fisheries with limited access per day, but they’re well worth it to break up the winter monotony.
We are still advising anglers to avoid fishing the Upper Madison, even though FWP lifted their closure on the river. Those fish need some time to recover and there are plenty of other spots to explore this time of year. The Lower Madison is a great winter fishery, and close enough to town to enjoy a quick outing without making it an all day excursion. The Gallatin, especially in the canyon, is a great spot from now through spring.
This is the season of short trips to the river, icy guides, cold feet, and the prospect of a greasy burger at your favorite watering hole after the trip. With the winter midge hatch still on the horizon, there just isn’t a whole lot going on. You can absolutely still get fish to eat, but temper your expectations. Fish deep, slow water where the fish don’t have to expend much energy to hold. If you’re fishing streamers, fish them on the slow swing or dead drifted under a bobber.
Not feeling up to fighting the wind for a few hours? How about sitting down and filling fly boxes for next year? Winter is historically the time of the fly tyer and as the wind howls outside in the dark at 4:30pm, might as well think ahead to wet wading and being able to see your dry fly at 9 at night. Our fly tying selection is well stocked with everything you’ll need!
We’ll be open 9am to 4pm today (Christmas Eve) and closed on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Dan Bailey’s!
TIPS OF THE WEEK –1. Winter is finally here. Fish slow. The fish will not move quickly to flies.
2. If a double nymph rig doesn’t work, try a single nymph or size down your nymphs
3. The early morning and late afternoon streamer bite can be good, but fish them slow. Slow or no stripping is critical.
7 DAY OUTLOOK –
It will be cold but fishing will continue to be good. Rock Creek may very well be one of the only rivers in Montana running a little above average flows.
BEST TECHNIQUES – Double and single rig nymphing, relatively long leash. Look out for midges on the water for dry fly activity
Good luck and don’t forget to stop in our Philipsburg shop Flint Creek Outdoors and our NEW JACKALOPE JOE’S espresso bar! We’re open 7:30-5 seven days a week. Be sure to stop in to talk to Josh, grab a coffee, some Orvis gear, and flies from the the best fly selection in the region.
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