Statewide MT Fishing Report- April 20, 2022
By angelamontana

Posted: April 20, 2022

Please let us know if you would like to see your weekly fishing report included in this Montana fishing report 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.

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Tongue River Reservoir State Park Fishing Report by Tongue River Marina (April 14, 2022)

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope everyone survived out little blast of April winter.
Due to the unfavorable forecast over the weekend, the marina will not be open this weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience. But Laurie will see everyone next weekend!

Fort Peck Marina Report (April 20, 2022)

Check out Fort Peck Marina’s food and drink specials by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/ft.peckmarina

Fourchette Fishing/Dock Report via Montana Ice Report (April 17, 2022)

Levi J.: The boat ramp at Fourchette Bay on Fort Peck Lake has been cleared of silt and docks put in place. Ready to launch (via USACE-Omaha District-Fort Peck Dam and Lake)

Fly Fishing Montana in May by Montana Angler (May 2022)

May in Big Sky Country is a magical month. The trees are full of buds, the grass is green, the mountains are still white, and the fish are feeding. May marks a season of change in Montana. Spring and summer both readily characterize the weather observed in May, with sunshine, snow, rain, wind and calm all possible on the same day. While the weather can show a hyper level of variability, often times we see consistently nice weather with a day or two of precipitation mixed in. To make the fishing even more interesting, May, June, and early July represent the time period where a lot of western trout will put on as much as 50% of their annual mass. Needless to say, the fish are feeding with fervor at this time period.

The first half of May often provides the greatest diversity of fishing opportunities. From freestones to tailwaters nearly every river in southwest Montana provides at least one exceptional angling day in early May. Hatches abound and emergences of beatis, march browns, Mother’s Day caddis, and midges can all be encountered. The Mother’s Day caddis is a spectacle rivaled by only a few mayfly emergences like sulfurs on the Delaware. Innumerable insects mill along the banks in the mornings and evenings and the trout readily feed on them from pupae to egg layer. March browns are large mayfly common to our cobbled western rivers. They emerge rapidly shedding their nymphal shucks on the bottom and ascending to the surface. Swung fly presentations can be deadly in waters that contain these neat mayflies. Baetis (BWO’s to some) are a small mayfly that provide consistent emergences on many rivers on overcast days. All stages of the hatch are important, but on a calm cast day the duns take center stage. Trout from every corner of the river will line up to rhythmically feed. Midges make up one of the bottom rungs of the May trout food pyramid.

In early May, as long as runoff has not commenced, we will target everything and anything that harbors a population of trout. The freestone fish have shrugged off their hibernation-like winter habits and are actively trying to recoup lost body mass. The tailwater fish are in the midst of the great feed. The stillwater trout are gorging and enjoying the recently receded ice.

The Yellowstone River can produce a truly epic hatch of Mother’s Day caddis and baetis can appear in very fishable numbers on cast days. The only issue with the Yellowstone is the lack of a dam. It seems most years that right as the excellent numbers of caddis appear the river huffs and puffs and blows right out. However, the weeks before the appearance of the caddis can be some of the best dates of the year.

The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks provide my favorite fishing venue in the world. Strong hatches of midges and baetis can be found daily. The fish, while wary, can be taken with a proper pattern and presentation. When the fish aren’t rising everything else remains on the table, streamers , mice, and nymphs all play.   

The stillwaters in Big Sky country can provide quality fishing for quality trout. As the ice has recently receded the fish have gained solar warmth and are on the prowl for food. While small insect imitations can work, this is the prime season to take fish on stripping leeches. Explosive grabs and trout measured in pounds not inches characterize the stillwater scene.

The Madison River is the centerpiece of May fishing. The Madison provides 31 days of quality trout fishing in May. While symptoms of runoff do present on stretches of the Madison in May there is always fishable water. The waters from Lyons Bridge to Hebgen Lake provide the best opportunities for numbers and the greatest diversity for angling opportunities. Additionally, this stretch is closed to fishing from the boat forcing an intimate angling situation. Some years the river provides solid fishing from Hebgen to Ennis. On Especially wet springs the tributaries will contribute significant color, usually this occurs sporadically. The river below Ennis Lake produces consistent fishing to Cherry Creek without fail. Sporadic pushes of dirty water will temporarily shut down the water that exists below.

Depending on who you consult, many anglers consider May the peak fishing month on the Missouri River. Strong hatches, 50 degree water, thousands of fish per mile, and grass free water provide exceptional fishing. Need I say more?

While many ‘may’ think the month of May is largely characterized by runoff they couldn’t be any further from the truth. Quality fishing in May is a categorical imperative.

Hauser and Canyon Ferry producing Walleye via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (April 20, 2022)

Trevor J.: Below Hauser and Canyon Ferry dams are both producing walleye. Also the Causeway.

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing/Ice Report (April 18, 2022)

🎣🐟🎣 FISHING REPORT 🎣🐟🎣
🔹 Rodgers Lake- Ice off, a few good cutt’s and grayling. Try small cleo’s or Thomas cyclones. Try south end near reeds.
🔹 Foy’s Lake- Good trout spawning along shore line. Use power bait or spoons.
🔹 Loon Lake (Ferndale)- Nice trout near shore, try small spoons or power bait.
🔹 Smith Lake- Slow, few smaller pike.
🔹 Church Slough- water is low, some bass and crappie action.
🔹 Echo Lake- Try tubes or crank baits for bass. Low water.
🔹 Swan Lake- Good lake trout action near river mouth.
🔹 Flathead Lake- No reports on east bay- water temps are very cold. Try near narrows for good lake trout 80-120’ with flatfish. Delta is still good with dead bait.
🔹 Lake Mary Ronan- No reports
🔹 All Thompson Lakes- Open water, few pike on lower Thompson.

Lower Madison River Fishing Report by Fins and Feathers (April 17, 2022)

Fins and Feathers scores the Lower Madison a 3/5

Temps warm back up a bit this week and we should have some decent fishing. The lower has had a little color to it lately which can be solid for nymphing. Under an indicator, fish a San Juan worm, Zebra Midge, $3 Dips, Hot Bead Sowbugs, Scuds, Baetis, and Crayfish imitations. Dry fly fishing could be decent this week. Keep your eyes peeled for fish rising to either Midges or some BWO’s. Streamer fishing could also be decent, a olive or black Wooly Bugger normally works well this time of year.

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (April 13, 2022)

  • Foys Lake – Good fishing for rainbows. Smaller spoons and spinners have been producing superior results.
  • Loon Lake (Ferndale) – Good rainbow trout fishing. Hair jigs have been working well. Slow retrieve has been the most effective.
  • Thompson Chain – Open water. Getting reports of salmon being caught while trolling a wedding ring tipped with maggots.
  • Flathead Lake – Fishing has been very steady off the delta. Keeping down 20-60 foot of water has been productive. Use pea mouth or smelt off the bottom for best results.
  • Flathead River – On the rise. Lake trout have been caught below the Sportsman’s bridge. Smaller chartreuse swim baits have been highly effective. Be careful and watch for logs floating down river.
  • McWenneger Slough – Open water. Perch bite has been solid. Look for weed lines and fish the edges. Using a small jig-head and a Sago Tackle plastic is always a solid choice.
  • Echo Lake – Open water. The Smallmouth are still mostly deep. Fish a tube bait slow and steady.
  • Church Slough – Pike starting spawn soon. Fish slow and cover lots of water.
  • McGregor Lake – Open water. Reports of lake trout being caught jigging 40-60 foot of water. Try using 1oz white tubes tipped with cut-bait.

Fishing Reports by Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing (April 19, 2022)

Fishing has been good in the right places lately whenever cold/snow/wind have relented and made fishing possible. We actually had warmer and drier weather in March than so far in April. We won’t complain about the cold and snow, though. We need both to prevent low water this summer. In general, most fishing has been from late morning through about 5:00PM (the warmest part of the day). Nymphs and streamers have been much better than dry fly fishing. The exceptions to these two points are noted below. Waters with full recent reports are indicated in the bold-faced links below. Click the links to see the full reports.

The Yellowstone River is fishing well on stonefly and mayfly-style attractor nymph combos (a Girdle Bug or TJ Hooker with a Frenchie has been our go-to setup), streamers fished fairly slow, and on egg patterns near tributaries. Dry fly fishing has been almost nonexistent so far but should improve with warmer weather. Look for BWO and March Browns. Right now most insects are small midges. With warmer, higher, slightly dirtier water, expect streamers fished on a more aggressive retrieve to also begin working well.

The Boulder and Stillwater Rivers can produce on nymphs in the larger pools in the afternoons, but are still very, very cold. They get better in early May and hold on longer than the Yellowstone before entering runoff.

The Lower Madison River will produce on crayfish and BWO nymphs as well as San Juan Worms, but will be a much more enticing destination around mid-May when it fishes great but the Yellowstone blows out from snowmelt.

The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks typically fish very well this time of year, especially when it’s cold and cloudy as it has been. While BWO nymphs, egg patterns, and slender San Juan Worms will produce the most trout, moderate-sized streamers also work well and there have been some midge and BWO hatches. Stick to deeper pools and boulder-bottomed runs and leave areas of shallow gravel alone. This is peak spawning season for creek rainbows and they should be left alone to do their business. Plenty of fish are available in the deep water eating the eggs and insects the spawners kick into the current. Creeks are now on spring rates of $80/angler/day. Pressure has been quite heavy, but most days still have a few rods available. The creeks will be better in the afternoons most days, but can fish starting by 8-9AM.

Private Lakes are on hold due to the cold weather. If you fish them, fish large leeches and San Juan Worms either on a slow sinking line or twitched under indicators. Note that access ranch roads may be very messy due to rain and snowmelt and require high-clearance vehicles with knobby tires and 4WD. Our first lake trips will probably not take place until the Yellowstone blows out around mid-May.

The Missouri River is fishing well on swung streamers, nymphs imitating sowbugs, scuds, eggs, and BWO, as well as combos of the above. If fishing “Land of Giants” stick to “eggy” flies or even egg patterns. If fishing below Holter Dam, more techniques will work and some dry fly fishing is possible. This is probably our best overall option right now, but it’s a long drive–2.5hr from Livingston to “LoG” and about 3hr to Holter.

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (April 17, 2022)

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is being brought to you by Orvis Endorsed Linehan Outfitting.  This report will be updated weekly to provide current conditions, weather, hatches, patterns, and flows to our local waters and across the state.

Flows from Libby Dam:  4000cfs

Water temperature at Libby Dam: 42 degrees

Hatches: midge, baetis

patterns:  zebra midge, parachute Adams, parachute pmd, Rosenbauer’s olive rabbit foot emerger, purple haze, purple chubby, red chubby, olive sparkle dun,bh prince, soft SJ worm, bh pheasant tail, bh rubber legged stonefly, big streamers in white, pink and olive, circus peanut, black conehead buggers

It’s not quite spring up here in Kootenai River country but we have good news.  Flows from Libby Dam have been reduced and will be stable at 4000cfs through the end of March for now.  That means there’s some great early season fishing available right now.

Expect more clammy cloudy weather through the weekend and into next week.  March continues to come in like a lion and we’ve yet to see the lamb.  Rain and snow mix will dominate forecast.  Fortunately daytime temps will ooch into the forties which is at least a small sign of spring around here.

At the moment the river is clear and in good shape.  Don’t expect much in the way of dry fly fishing and insect activity until we get some substantially warmer daytime temperatures.  The water is still cold but trout will start to feed a bit in the coming weeks.

This is always a good time of year for nymphing.  With low flows you don’t need a heavy rig.  You just need to get the flies down in softer runs and pools where trout are most likely to be holding this time of year.  Don’t spend a ton of time fishing fast riffles.

Streamer fishing is also productive this time of year especially since bigger fish will be hungry after laying low for a couple months during the dead of winter.  Keep in mind they will not necessarily want to move too fast or too far to get a meal.  Get your streamers down and fish them slowly and erratically.  Nothing like a wounded minnow to get a big rainbow interested in at least a sniff.

In Boston Red Sox news, it’s PLAY BALL!  After several weeks of a lockout the players union owners have finally come to an agreement.  Spring training will start immediately and while opening day was and remains delayed until April 7, the season will still be 162 games.  For now the Sox have managed to keep essentially the same playoff roster they had last season.  Infielders Dalbec, Arroyo, Bogaerts, and Devers are key players.  In the outfield Jackie Bradley Jr. has returned to Boston and Kike Hernandez and Verdugo will anchor the deep green.  Ace Chris Sale will hopefully be healthy and other starters from last year will hopefully pick up where they left off in October.  Go Sox!!!

Give a call anytime if you need more Kootenai River details or information on any of our hunting or fishing adventures.  And please check out our e-commerce site for all Linehan Outfitting branded swag and Orvis gear. https://linehan-outfitting.myshopify.com/

We look forward to hearing from you.  406-295-4872

Missouri River Fishing Report via Montana Fishing Addicts 2.0 (April 18, 2022)

Ronald M.: Hit up the river last night before a long week of class. Managed to get a 23″ burbot and a 24″ trout. Hopefully I can get myself a walleye while I’m here.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Angler’s West Fly Fishing Outfitter in Emigrant (April 2, 2022)

-No new report-

Looking like fairly typical early April spring weather on tap for the week ahead.   Daytime highs in the upper 40s to low 50s every couple of days interrupted with chances of showers and some snow flurries mixed in.   Those cloudier days should herald the beginnings of the spring blue winged olive hatch along with the continuance of midges.   Trout have been active and fishing has been good!  We did go through an unusually warm spell a little bit ago and the river has bumped up a bit from the low flows we saw most of the winter.  With the more typical spring weather, the water has settled a bit.   The ultra low and ultra clear that was 2 weeks ago has changed.  You will see some color in the water but it’s not a bad thing.  A little green can be good.

Mornings, start out nymphing or streamer fishing.  You may find yourself fairly deep to start.   The water temps are good, but they can start out in the mornings on the cold side of things.  Fish will be in the deeper, slower “off speed” areas.  Stonefly patterns along with a smaller midge or baetis dropper fly have been the “go to” setups.  As the day warms, you can start to see fish moving up in the water column a bit and even into some faster locations.   If you are starting to see those baetis or blue winged olive mayflies hatching, you can bet that the fish will be right there with them in the shallower riffles and such.  So continue to shorten up your fly to indicator as the day goes on and then switch up to dry/dropper or just single dry fly as the hatch comes on.  Enjoy the couple hours that it lasts and make those dry fly casts count!   As the hatch slows or bug activity in general slows, you can count on few fish being active and strikes will diminish.  Switching back to a deeper nymph rig or streamers again might put you back on a few more fish in that late afternoon time.

This will be the modus operandi for the coming weeks.   Good luck out there!

Flies to try: Pat’s Rubberlegs in coffee/black or olive/brown sizes 6-10 weighted to get down; Tung 20-incher in 8-12, Marabou rubber legs camo/black or olive size 6-10, Good ol’ wooly bugger black or olive same size 6-10 and weighted.  Run any of those along with a Tung Zebra midge black size 16-18, Tung Zebra olive same sizes, FB PT 12-18, CDC PT 12-18, Prince 12-18, Juju Baetis 16-18, Mirage lightning bug 14-18 are all good bets.   For dries: Para Adams 12-18, Para Purple Haze 12-18, Royal wolf 12-18, Baetis Hackle Stacker 16-20, Baetis sparkle dun 16-20, BWO Indy parachute 16-20, Griffiths Gnat 18-20, I Can See It midge 18-20, Bighorn Cluster midge 18.

Rock Creek Fishing Report by Fisherman’s Mercantile (April 14, 2022)

  • CFS: 394 Water Temp: 33-40°F
  • Dries: Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, March Brown
  • Nymphs: Perdigon, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, TJ Hooker, Copper John

FISHING REPORT

We are almost a month into spring, and with the exception of a few nice days, it’s felt more like extended winter. That is the way of Montana sometimes, but it is amazing how particularly cold it’s been the past few weeks. As I write this, the air temp outside is 19°F. We had warmer days two months ago in February. The only thing I can say about the weather this year is that is completely erratic and unpredictable. While in the long run it will help with late spring and early summer fishing, it has slowed down the production on Rock Creek for the present.

This is not to say the fishing has been BAD. On the contrary, last week we had a warm spell that saw some amazing trout being caught, albeit mostly on nymphs. One of our signature patterns, the Jumpin’ Jack Flash was the lights-out pattern for several fishermen:

My best advice would be to fish big nymphs when it’s warmer, and smaller nymphs when it’s colder. The past few days, the best patterns have been size 14 to 18 patterns like Perdigons, Copper Johns, and TJ Hookers, which is the newest pattern to grace our fly bins:

The nice thing about these patterns (as well as other jig nymphs) is they get down quickly to the riverbed, where many of these trout are holding when the water temps are as cold as they are. Lately, I have been recommending double-nymph rigs with a tungsten jig as your lead and a smaller/lighter nymph in tow, such as a San Juan worm or a pheasant tail. This combination removes the need for extra split shot and creates a direct line from indicator to the initial fly.

As for dry flies, there are occasional hatches on the water, even with it being this cold, but the fish simply aren’t rising to the occasion (pun intended). Your best bet if you want to catch fish on dries is to wait for the warmest part of the day, and try attractor patterns like Parachute Adams and Purple Hazes. You could also try a dry/dropper rig of a skwala stone with a small nymph riding under it. Thus far though, this hasn’t been an overly productive method of fly fishing Rock Creek this year. I hope that changes soon, but until the weather warms up on a consistent basis, it’s best to stick with subsurface fishing, be that nymphs or streamers.

More to come as conditions change. Stay tuned and happy fishing!

Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report by Dan Bailey’s (April 15, 2022)

Happy snow day Livingston! We’re getting the spring reminder that winter hangs on tight around these parts and it’s awesome. We will take every flake of snow and drop of moisture we can get this year. Snowpack figures have bumped up slightly, but they are still well below where we wish they would be. These spring storms are generally the very heavy, wet snow that can make a difference during the summer, so bring it on.

Temps have been pretty chilly this week and we can expect a small slowdown of fishing. Water temps are going to dip and fish activity is going to slow with lows in the single digits for a day or two. That’s alright, it’s going to be a long summer.

The big news of late on our local waters is the appearance of Baetis, or Blue Wing Olive (BWO) mayflies. Like we mentioned last week, these bugs kick start the spring dry fly season and can offer some great dry fly days. They start hatching when water temps hit around 44 degrees, and generally show up around midday. Keep an eye out for these “little sailboats” floating down the river.

While the wind on the Yellowstone River can be quite detrimental to the pursuit of fish on dry flies, look for fish rising in the calmer spots. Try hard enough and you’ll find a place out of the wind. The spring Baetis can be small – think size 18 or 20, with the occasional bug being as big as 16. While a classic Parachute Adams can work fine, a hatch specific pattern is even better. Be sure to bring some BWO nymphs and emergers as well.

A great tactic for spring fishing, especially as hatches become stronger, is to swing soft hackle flies. Soft hackles have that very enviable quality of “bugginess”, the ability to look like a lot of different things. The hackle on them moves in the water, giving them a lifelike appearance even when fished passively such as under an indicator or on the swing. For hatches like the BWO you can get away with a slightly larger soft hackle than the actual bug. Or fish a big one as an attractor up front followed by a smaller, more lifelike pattern.

Our area rivers are all picking up. The Lower Madison, Upper Madison and Gallatin are where most of the anglers we’ve talked to who aren’t fishing the Yellowstone are heading. Look for midges and BWOs, mind the redds, and pack for variable weather. Flows on the Upper Madison remain quite low, and they will be for the remainder of the month.

As we mentioned last week, we are right on the cusp of some of the best fishing of the year. Once this winter storm passes and things warm back up, be ready for it. It’s only going to keep getting better and better!

Thinking of visiting Montana this summer? Book a guided fly fishing trip with us! Our calendar is filling quickly, so don’t delay. Come by the shop for the latest info, the best flies, and any new gear you could possibly need. See you on the river.

Gallatin River Fishing Report via Fins and Feathers (April 17, 2022)

Scores a 3/5

The Gallatin has been fishing decent but should be better as it warms up a bit this week. Nymphing is the best fishing right now. Try your shot with Prince Nymphs, Copper Johns, Lightning Bugs, Pat’s Rubberlegs, San Juan worms, Midges, and BWO imitations. Dry fly fishing has been tough but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, keep on the lookout for Midge adults and possibly BWO’s on the surface. Streamer fishing has been ok with smaller sculpin patterns in natural colors.

Gallatin River Webcam – Located at Karst, which is about 1/2 way between Bozeman and Big Sky on HWY 191.

Clark Fork River Fishing Report by Blackfoot River Outfitters (April 15, 2022)

BRO gives the Clark Fork River a 4/5

BRO’s Tips of the Week:Flows are dropping on the Clark Fork, the water is clearer than last week, and the upper river is still seeing good dry fly action on Skwalas and March Browns. Dead drifting a Skwala or March Brown imitation that rides low in the water is a great way to entice fish to eat, and adding a dropper will maximize your odds. Nymphing remains good on the lower Clark Fork alongside a chance of moving good fish with a streamer.7 Day Outlook:Our cold spell is nearly finished. Nighttime lows in the 30s will keep the river stable, and fishing should heat up along with the temperatures through next week. Highs in the mid-50s are great for mayflies and Skwalas this time of year. Get out there and enjoy what could be one of our best weeks of spring fishing.Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

The Clark Fork is improving by the day and should fish well as the days warm up after Saturday. Now is the time to enjoy fantastic dry fly fishing before runoff arrives. Skwalas will still be active this week alongside March Browns and BWO’s. Try throwing a slightly smaller Skwala pattern to account for those mayflies on the water. We recommend the Brown Wing Skwala, Oswald’s Rastaman Skwala, the Rogue Stone, and Water Walkers in #10-14.

Purple Hazes and Brindle Chutes will work for March Browns. Carry a few On Point Para Wulffs or parachute dries for BWO’s.

If you’re planning on running a dry-dropper rig, Skwala imitations with more foam are going to

If you’re adding a second fly to your nymph rig go for a Lightning Bug, Duracell, 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. These bugs are great for dry-dropper rigs because they won’t sink your Skwala.

Streamer fishing has been mixed. Stick with a slow retrieve until the water starts to warm up. Sparkle Minnows, Kreelexes,Thin Mints/Buggers, and Mini Dungeons are all good to have.  Low and slow is the name of the game! Check out our spring fly assortment here!

Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula:

The new Online Store is live!  Check it out!

Call or email us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in- WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA- for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.

Black Sandy (at Hauser) Boat Ramp Update via Montana Fishing Addicts 2.0 (April 17, 2022)

Cameron M.: Black sandy is good to go

Bighorn River Fishing Report by Fins and Feathers (April 17, 2022)

Scores a 4/5

The Bighorn has been fishing well this last week. The weather should only make it fish a bit better. Nymphing has been the best method to catch fish but a few fish have been tricked with midge dries and streamers. Nymphing with sowbugs/scuds and midges have been the most effective. The dry fly action has potential but just needs some relatively calm conditions for fish to start looking up. Streamer fishing has been effective dredging the bottom of big deep holes with darker flies and a sink tip.

Yellowstone Park Waters Fishing Report by Montana Troutfitters (April 20, 2022)

The park is closed for the season! Check back next May. See you next season!

 

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