Please let us know if you would like to see your weekly fishing report included in this compilation by emailing your report to us before the end of the day on Tuesday of each week here along with your business website/email address.
2021 General Fishing Seasons
||Rivers & Streams
||Lakes & Reservoirs
||Open third Saturday in May through November 30, unless otherwise specified in Exceptions to Standard Regulations.
||Open all year
||Open all year, unless otherwise specified in Exceptions to Standard Regulations.
||Open all year
||Open all year
||Open all year
“Lots of people. 8 inches and the fishing has been good” – James Miller
“Ice is plenty thick if you stay away from the springs near shore on the very west side of the lake. No slush when I was there a few days ago. Not really much snow on there.” – Brett Traxler
“Lake is super low. It was just river channel there during hunting season. Water was like a mile from boat ramp. You’ll be fishing in current” – Daniel Martin
“Best advice. Head for Hell Creek. The guy at that marina said ice is good. Just have to use care around Pressure ridges.” – Kevin Romanchuk
Fins and Feathers scores the Missouri River a 3/5
The Mo’ is a great Winter option. The temps will be chilly the next couple days but will warm up in the Craig area than Bozeman by the end of the week. Expect some wind but overall, manageable. In areas that are protected, you could see some fish poking their snouts at the surface searching for Midges so be prepared with a few of your favorite dry fly imitations. Nymphing will be the best bet with your typical winter menu. Zebra Midges, worms, scuds/sowbugs, Pink Lightning bugs, and small Mayfly imitations. Streamer fishing has been ok, very day-to-day right now. Wooly Buggers or some bait fish patterns like a Kreelex. Could also be a great time to bust out some two-handed swingers to cover more water.
“Ice is really good. There are some new cracks and ridges forming as of last weekend so be aware and careful going out. Don’t assume because your following tracks it’s safe.” – Robert Steele
“About 8 ft. Under the ice. Using an ice jig tipped with a small piece of crawler.be quiet on the ice when fishing just under the ice.” – Corky Roberts
It was -2 degrees this morning on 2-2-22 with a light snow overnight. We had a high around 50 degrees on Saturday a few days ago. You never know what Montana will do. Ice on the lake is still plenty thick. beautiful day. Happy Ground Hogs day!
“I heard bite was on for perch…..deep” – Allen Camarillo
“I fished petrolia this weekend. Absolutely trash. By the time I wanted to move to a new spot it was impossible because there were at least 30 different huts out there. Waste of a drive.” – Jordan House
“Great [ice] this year, 16 inches. Last year was 8-9 [inches]” – Vanessa Clancy
BRO’s Tips of the Week:
Nymphing is going to be your most productive method of fishing in the winter. Near freezing water temperatures cause fish to slow down and get lazy meaning they are much less likely to rise to the surface to eat a dry fly, or move to chase a streamer. Your best bet is to put a nymph right on their nose and hope they eat it. Heavy flies and split shot, while a hassle to cast, will ensure your flies are getting down deep quickly, translating to longer and more productive drifts.
7 Day Outlook:
Highs are expected to be just above freezing in Missoula this weekend. Warm enough that your guides won’t freeze up, which is a win for January in Montana. Some precipitation is expected early next week. Temps are going to drop near 0F by the middle of next week.
Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:
Midge season is here. Look for rising fish in slow water during the warmest parts of the day, especially if we get some sun. Goober Midges, Sippers, Emerging Midges, and Midge Clusters in #18-22 are the dries to have.
If you’re not one for fishing tiny dries, or the bugs just aren’t there, the indicator rig is your best bet. Girdle Bugs, TJs and San Juans in #8-12 are a staple for winter nymphers. Don’t sleep on the worm- it’s one of our most productive flies when the water is cold! If you’re adding a second fly to your nymph rig go for a Lightning Bug, Jig PT, Prince, Spanish Bullet or Perdigon in #14-18. Zebra Midges (now on jig hooks!) in #18-20 will round out your nymph selection. Adding 1-2 BB split shot to your rig will ensure your bugs are getting down quick, which is especially important if you are wade fishing. Small streamers will still work, but fish them slowly, or under an indicator with just slight twitches.
“I went pike fishing on Seeley Lake on January 30, but the pike weren’t biting, as you can see from this underwater camera footage. They nipped at my bait, but never hard enough to send up a flag.” (https://www.facebook.com/1498083934/videos/670133200684136/) – Peter Dayton
A quick update for everyone running out in the ice from the marina ramp. The Corp finished moving the barge out and cut a small gap in the ice for an anchor. This is marked with orange cones and reflective tape so everyone should have no issues seeing it. Please be careful in this area. Thanks have a great day.
Check out the latest food specials at www.facebook.com/ft.peckmarina.
Fins and Feathers scores the Bighorn a 3/5.
The Bighorn looks to be a great option over the weekend. The next couple days will be pretty cold over there but then it warms up significantly. Not much in the way of wind or really cold temperatures at night. Nymphing with orange or pink sowbug/scuds, black zebra midges, and perdigons should be good pretty much all winter. Trout spey can keep an angler occupied when it is cold as well. Not much for fish eating midges recently. Streamer fishing has been okay when you pull a bugger, Baby Gonga, or Kreelex through deep holes slowly.
Fly Tying Classes
“I fished it a week ago and caught bunch of tiny perch and had a hooked and lost a pike on a smelt. Ice was about 12 inches” -Scott Oleson
Weather has been unseasonably warm! Ice is changing minute by minute. Trust your Spud bar and stay safe out there!!
Murphy Lake – 8 Inches of solid ice
Smith Lake – 10 Inches of solid ice
Rogers Lake – 10 Inches
Lower Stillwater – 10+ Inches plus some slush
Blanchard – 8+ Inches on the main body
Island Lake – 8+ Inches of ice
Dog Lake – 10+ Inches and snowmobile/hike in only
Church Slough – 8+ Inches solid
Echo Lake – 7+ Inches
Loon Lake – 8+ Inches of ice
Upper Thompson – 8+ Inches of ice
Middle Thompson – 8+ Inches of ice
Lower Thompson – 8+ Inches of ice
With January on the way out, we are in the depths of winter. We have been getting some scattered snow around town and in our mountains and we are thrilled to get every single inch of it! This time of year is always a bit slow for anglers, but there’s still opportunities to get out.
In our neck of the woods you are pretty much limited to the Paradise Valley spring creeks. Much of the valley is locked up in ice. You can find some open water below town or above Yankee Jim but water temps are cold and you’ll be dealing with slush, shelf ice and more. If you do fish the Yellowstone, be really careful. Rob drove back from Red Lodge a couple of days ago and said the water from Pig Farm, Springdale, Grey Bear down to Big Timber is all looking pretty ice free with easy access.
The Spring Creeks are on winter rates and generally have a lots of availability, even day of. When we get a not-quite-as-windy day that’s beautiful out, they are a great option. The midge fishing can be good this time of year, and it’s definitely some of the most technical fishing you can find in the state right now.
We are still advising people to avoid the Upper Madison at this time. Aside from the winter conditions and ice that frequent that stretch of river during the winter, it’s still recovering from the dewatering event late last year.
The Lower Madison is a great choice for winter fishing, and it’s close enough to Bozeman and us here in Livingston that a couple hours out there doesn’t have to be an all day affair. Be aware that it does get windy down there this time of year. On warmer days bring the windproof jacket and be ready to cast into the breeze.
The Gallatin in the canyon can be a good choice as well. The water from below Big Sky to the mouth of the canyon is a popular winter fishery as it generally stays less icy and access is easy and plentiful.
The strategy is pretty much the same across the board: fish deep, fish slow. Find the deepest, slowest water you can, and fish it deep. Midges are a good food source this time of year, and fishing a small midge pattern behind a larger stonefly or deaddrifted streamer can be productive. The larger pattern draws attention and then the fish sees the midge and eats it. Crawdad patterns are a great choice on the Lower Madison, either drifted slow or slowly swung.
For many, this is the time of year to sit at the vise and fill boxes for upcoming hatches and the summer season. We’ve got a great selection of materials, tools, and new vises from Renzetti and Regal. Unfortunately we won’t be offering classes or tying nights this winter, but we are always here to talk tying!
Need to stay warm and dry this winter? We’ve got waders, boots, base layers, insulation, gloves and everything you need! Come by the shop to check out the latest gear and up to date info on conditions out there. Tight lines!
“Quick trip to Hebgen today. Nobody there and only had a few hours to fish! Saw some nice bull elk on the way and caught some dinner! Ice was 15-16 inches roughly. No slush” – Joshua Miller
Linehan Tip of the Week : Kootenai is still running big and not particularly fishable.
It looks like Libby Dam will be releasing big water for the forseeable future. Expect rain and snow, dark skies, and marginal fishing conditions due to high flows.
Techniques & Tips
Streamers and nymphing are best bets under high water conditions.
The Spring Creeks are a great option throughout the cold months. The Livingston area is expecting heavy winds through the next few days and dropping to around 20mph on Tuesday but the temperature drops to single digits that day. Nymphing has been the best option recently. For best success use flies such as WD-40, RS2s, Zebra Midges, Manhattan Midge, Tube Midge, Jujubee Flash Midge, sowbugs/scuds, worms, and caddis larva. Long leaders and light tippet in Fluorocarbon can be a game changer for these fish, make sure you are well equipped to get technical on these trout if headed this way. There has not been much for a midge hatch even when the wind is down. Have dry flies on hand just in case.
The park is closed for the season! Check back next May. See you next season!
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