Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 12.22.22
By angelamontana

Posted: December 22, 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.

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Hell Creek Recreation Information (December 22, 2022)

Bighorn Fly and Tackle Shop – Fort Smith (December 18, 2022)

Good morning update on Lake Mary Ronan! The ice is building nicely!! Lots of families out too. HOWEVER, PLEASE
still be careful!! Someone over by camp tuffit almost went IN for a SWIM.
That was the second side to cap over. He is Vet on that lake. He said; I knew better!! There is a underwater spring in that area! Always check your ice 🧊 Tight lines 🥰 Have a fantastic day everyone

Lake Mary Ronan Fishing/Ice Report via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (December 18, 2022)

Debbie N.: Good morning update on Lake Mary Ronan! The ice is building nicely!! Lots of families out too. HOWEVER, PLEASE still be careful!! Someone over by camp tuffit almost went IN for a SWIM.

That was the second side to cap over. He is Vet on that lake. He said; I knew better!! There is a underwater spring in that area! Always check your ice 🧊 Tight lines 🥰 Have a fantastic day everyone

Cooney State Park Information via FWP (December 22, 2022)

Crow Dam Ice Report via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (December 17, 2022)

Marcus T.: Water and slush on top under the snow but it’s very safe. Go to the right from the parking area to to the north side about 50 ft from shore. It’s about 10-12 ft

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Headhunters Fly Shop (December 19, 2022)

Headhunters Closed Tuesday-Thursday

Too cold for even us this mid-week. Temps not crawling above the Zero mark will keep us at bay for this period.

So, see you later this week when we unthaw here in downtown Craig.

Stay warm and safe out there in Headhunters Land!

Gallatin River Fishing Report via The Rivers Edge (December 14, 2022)

311 CFS @ Gateway – The Gallatin is a great option for the foreseeable future as temps drop and snow continues to flurry. Nymphing is going to continue to be the most effective method of picking up some fish. A beaded stonefly, with a worm/midge/egg has been consistent past few weeks, and don’t be afraid to add more split shot.

GO-TO FLIES:

– Delektable Bug Black/Pearl #8
– Zebra Midge Black #18
– Wonky Worm Red #10
– Sprout Midge Black #20
– Hot Belly PT Pink #16

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (December 16, 2022)

♦️ Lake Mary Ronan- 4-5” of good ice.   be careful towards the middle of the lake.  reports of nice perch 9 to 12 inch range in 15 to 20 feet of water. Also some salmon action.
♦️ Lake Five- 5-7” ice with slush on top. Limits of small salmon early morning, few nice perch and rainbows.
♦️ Lower Stillwater- Great ice 8-12”. Perch action north end 9-12” fish, also pike and some lake trout.
♦️ Murphy Lake- 5-6” of ice, some good perch action.
♦️ Loon Lake (TCL) west of town- 5-6” of ice. Good perch, pike, trout and crappie action.
♦️ Upper Thompson- 4-6” of ice. Some good perch action 20’ of water.
♦️ Church Slough- 6” good ice. Some nice pike early mornings.
♦️ Island Lake- 5-7” of ice. Lots of smaller perch, a few decent pike.
♦️ Blanchard Lake- 4-6” of ice. Small crappie and lots of small perch, a few pike.
♦️ Bitterroot/Ashley- No ice reports yet.

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (December 15, 2022)

Always be safe when checking ice and use your safety gear.

  • Lake Mary Ronan – 2-4 inches of ice. Use your spud bars and travel light. No current reports of fish activity.
  • Smith Lake – 8+ inches of ice. Perch are getting picky. Try small teardrops with maggots or waxies. Good numbers of Pike being caught off small spoons.
  • Lower Stillwater – 7+ inches of ice. Perch being caught down around 10′-20′. Try using Gitzits or small tungsten jigs. A few lakers being caught in the trench around 20′-30′.
  • Rogers Lake – 8+ inches of ice. Grayling bite has been good. Using small forage fry jigs has been a good option.
  • Beaver Lake – 2-4 inches of ice. Be safe and use a spud bar!
  • Church Slough – 7+ inches of ice. Still a decent pike bite using tip-ups and dead bait.
  • Murray Lake – 2-4 inches of ice. Watch for springs and use your spud bars!
  • Lower Thompson Lake – 1-2 inches NOT SAFE!
  • Upper Thompson Lake – 4-5 inches of ice. Decent perch action. Try using Hali’s with maggots or waxies.
  • Foys Lake – 4 inches of ice. Decent rainbows being caught along the shorelines.

Fishing Report by Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp (December 17, 2022)

Thanks Joe and Mandy Arnone for the update…. Beaver Lake report. 3-4 inches ice. Fished in 60ft of water. No bites for us. Didnt get there til 10am though and all others left about noon. Didnt see anyone else catch anything. Heard that the bite was at 5:00 am.

Yellowstone Country Flyfishing (November 2022)

-No new report-

This Montana fishing report is valid from November 1 until the first run of daytime high temperatures in the high 30s or 40s. Normally that’s called “most of November,” but it has been bitter cold and snowy all month.

Fishing is very poor right now and we do not recommend it. Water temps are in the low to mid-30s everywhere except the Paradise Valley spring creeks, and air temps are in the teens for highs. Significant ice formation is already underway.

Beware of spawning brown trout and don’t bother them. It is best to avoid areas of gravel on up to cobble-sized rocks in 1-4 feet of water for the remainder of the fall unless you see rising trout (which will almost entirely be non-spawners). Avoid clean shallow gravel at all costs: don’t fish there and don’t walk there. Our trout are all wild and the browns need to be left to make the next generation in peace. There are PLENTY of other fish in the sea (or trout in the stream), including those sitting in the bouldery or silty pools downstream of spawning areas, where they’ll be eating eggs and bugs disturbed by spawners.

The Yellowstone River is rapidly icing up and will fish poor. Near the mouth of the Gardner River, fish a stonefly nymph with a midge pupa dropper. That’s probably your only realistic shot.

The lower Madison River is largely in the same boat as the Yellowstone, exacerbated by its shallowness.

The Paradise Valley spring creeks are now on winter rates of $40/day. This is probably the best option in the area until at least early February, since the water never drops under about 45 degrees. It will be cooooollllld fishing, though. Fish midge pupae, eggs, and streamers. If it ever warms up, there might be limited BWO and midge emergences.

The Missouri River is a long way to drive, but will not ice up for a while yet. Scuds, sowbugs, BWO nymphs, and midge pupae will produce the numbers. Swung streamers may produce some bigger fish.

Yellowstone Park’s fishing season is now closed. Moving forward, we expect October 31 at sunset to be the permanent closing date. It used to be sunset on the first Sunday in November. They did get the replacement North Entrance Rd open on October 30, so at least you can drive in to LOOK at the water.

Note: Montana Outdoor‘s website is the only commercial external site authorized to use this content. Please let us know if you see it anywhere else (Parks’ Fly Shop’s report is similar, since Walter writes that one too).

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (December 20, 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

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (December 21, 2022)

As we move into winter, the fishing on the Yellowstone will be hit or miss. Don’t let that discourage you, if you hit it right you could have a stellar day! Indicator rigs can be effective especially on sunny day, try a bugger followed by your favorite midge pattern. Try stripping streamers on cloudy days and if you’re more into dry fly fishing and see some noses throw baetis and midge cluster dries. Areas of the river with spring creek influence can be a great option right now as there will be warmer water pumping into the colder main river, giving the trout a comfortable place to pod up and look for food. If you plan to fish the Yellowstone, be sure to check FWP’s Restrictions and Closures page for up-to-date information regarding closures.

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry Fly

    Parawulf Dennis BWO (16-20), Thorax BWO (18-20), Parachute Adams (14-20), Purple Haze (16-20), Film Critic BWO (16-20), Smoke Jumper (16-20), Extended Body BWO (16-20), Griffith’s Gnat (16-20), UV Sparkle Midge (18-20), Griffiths Gnat (16-20), Buzzball (16-18)

  • Streamer

    Woolly Bugger (4-12), Mini Dungeon Black/ Natural/ White (6), Complex Twist Bugger (2), Kreelex Minnow (4), Sparkle Minnow (4-8), Double Gonga, Urchin Bugger (4), El Sculpito (2), Sculpzilla (4-8), Sculpinator (4-6)

  • Nymph

    Pat’s Rubber Legs (6-12), Zirdle Bug (6-12), Woolly Bugger Black/ Olive (4-12), Perdigon (14-18), Pheasant Tail (14-20), Jigster Baetis (14-18), Prince Nymph (10-18), BH Hare’s Ear (12-18), Sisslin’ Hot Spot Squirrel (14-16), Zebra Midge (16-22), San Juan Worm, Matt’s Shagadelic Mop, Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)

Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report by Dan Bailey’s (December 18, 2022)

One week til Christmas! Crazy. The month is flying by, as it always does. December and the holiday season is always pretty crazy busy and thoughts of fishing often fall to the wayside. Honestly, as they should this time of year. We’re in about the slowest period for fishing of the entire year. Here’s what’s going on on our local waters:

YELLOWSTONE RIVER

The Yellowstone River is pretty icy and slushy these days. Can you fish it? Yeah, probably. Would we recommend it? Eh… If you are feeling the itch and don’t want to drive, go fish the spring creeks.

Otherwise, it’s fly tying time. Go tell fishing stories over a good local beer. Fill some fly boxes for the coming season. Day dream of sipping rum while watching tailing bonefish on a tropical flat…

MADISON RIVER

Things are icy. Both on the Upper and Lower. Be ready to deal with slush floating and shelf ice. On the Upper, we’d head between the lakes or up by Reynolds. The winter midges haven’t really started yet, so fish the deep and slow water.

The Lower might be a bit more consistent, with hiking up Bear Trap being the best. If you want to get the boat out with a reasonably short drive, Warm to Black’s is about your best bet. Deep and slow water, dead drift a streamer or crayfish with an attractor nymph behind it. Midge nymphs are also working well.

GALLATIN RIVER

The Gallatin River is in winter mode for sure. Icy and cold in the valley, halfway decent up the canyon. The ease of access in the Gallatin Canyon makes for an easy outing when you want to go get cold for a few hours. Fish deep and slow, big nymphs with something smaller behind it, and work the water well.

SPRING CREEKS

For our local area, the spring creeks are your best bet. The consistent water temp and flow keep them reasonably ice free and the fish happy and active. Midges have been around on less windy days on top, and midge nymphs have been working well sub surface. The rod fee is well worth it while you’re sitting in a warming hut with a warm fire…

Bring the 5-6x tippet and be ready to get humbled. These fish are well educated and ready for all your tricks. Just makes it more fun!

LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP

There is a lot going on this time of year around Livingston. Lots of local events, local music, local food… It’s a great time of year to shop local and support your friends and neighbors. We want to thank everyone who showed up to our Ladies’ and Men’s Nights. Thank you so much for coming out and having a good time while getting your shopping done.

Christmas is a week away, so come down to the shop to find the perfect last minute gift for either yourself or those on your list. We’ve got a store full of great stuff! Be sure to take a minute, relax, and enjoy the season too. This time of year gets a little too busy at times.

Tight lines this week!

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