Email us your weekly fishing report to include it in this Montana fishing report compilation before the end of the day on Tuesday of each week here along with your name and website/email address you would like to see listed.
Skyler S.: Be there twice 3 weeks apart along with another group of guys fisging before the sun came up. We all were skunked no bites or marked fish on the flashers…ice is 12 inchs everywhere as we drilled about 40 holes
Donald R.: From what I can remeber about 5 years ago there was a spring right around the waypoint. I saw it and a week later I heard someone fell through there so be careful
The perch bite continues to be great and good numbers of perch and an occasional walleye are being found out from Log Gulch, Departure Point, the Prairie Dog Town, and the BLM boat ramp while using multi-colored Hali or glow jigs and maggots near the bottom in 35 to 45 feet of water. A few rainbows and an occasional burbot are being picked up at the Gates of the Mountains while using various ice flies tipped with crawlers in shallow for trout or cut bait near the bottom for Burbot. 10 inches of ice has been reported with some slush and water on top. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
D. Nelson: Yesterday at Lake Mary Ronan. Only three people out including us. Bite was crazy stupid. You would get a bite or a fish. Then half hour later or longer, maybe another bite or a fish All of us talked about it was the same. Here is what we saw as we walked out from state park: https://www.facebook.com/100023300622873/videos/3668752290019779/
Allan K.: Caught some perch at ratttlesnake point in 25ft about 3 weeks ago. I’m currently at petrolia gett skunked wishing i was at tongue lol.
Derek H.: I find perch in the same spots I look for crappies, 15-30 feet would be the range I’d start at.
Hell Creek Recreation Information (February 8, 2023)
Chris B.: I just called the marina and he said it [the road] was dry
Mark S.: road is just fine. A few washboards last 5 miles
Jake C.: I’m sure you’re fine in that region. Bring an extension
Michael B.: Did really well on panfish with the kids in the tent, had one tip up strike in the afternoon, probably around 2:00, but he popped off. Church will be pretty slow until it warms up a bit.
-No new report-
The weather has been nice enough to get out there and enjoy some time on the water. There is still a lot of shelf ice, making it difficult (and dangerous) to walk in certain spots. The River is also very low, making it very difficult to float, even in a raft you may have to get out and push here and there to get over shallow riffles, not to mention putting in and taking out on ice shelves. Wade fishing is definitely the safest route to go right now. There have been midges on less windy days, however we haven’t been seeing many rising fish. Zebra midges under a dry or an indicator have been working, along with streamer patterns.
The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks are likely your best bet if you are getting the itch to go fishing. The water is much warmer from the aquifers that feed Nelson’s, Armstrong’s, and Depuy’s. Winter rates are $40.00 a rod and worth the money in our opinion. You can easily spend this much in gas if you are headed to the Bighorn or Missouri. Midges are the staple on the creeks right now, along with various scud and sowbug patterns. The browns are now done spawning for the most part, but take care not to step on the redds (cleared-off gravel spawning beds) to help the eggs mature. Give us a call for the latest report! 406-222-7130.
Will B.: Was there last weekend, pretty good ice, shore ice is questionable (due to the raising / lowering of the water level) but most of the bays have decent ice.
Gavin K.: Tried fishing a couple weeks ago and didn’t have any luck. We were after lakers and seemed to mark a few down deep but couldn’t get them to commit. Ice was solid though and we did have some good marks on the fish finder
Some larger perch are being found out on Lake Helena while using green or black Hali jigs with maggots or crawlers. An occasional burbot is being found from the Causeway Arm to Black Sandy while using cut bait near the bottom. The Causeway Bridge and Black Sandy area is producing some nice rainbows while using various colored jigs or ice flies tipped with crawlers 6 to 10 feet below the ice. 12-15 inches of ice has been reported. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2023
Welcome to February. Football is nearly over, baseball is around the corner, and the fishing has been above average, when the weather has let us get out there. We are getting nearer to spring ’23 everyday and we for one are damn excited about this upcoming year. We bring you the Missouri River February Fishing Forecast 2023.
We hope to continue to stack up the snow in the higher elevations. It’s early still folks. 5 months until we will truly know what the entirety of the summer and fall fishing season will hold. That is a long time from now. I think another 131 days til the last week of June. Then Mother Nature will have spoken.
As it sits now we are a bit ahead of our annual snow totals. 100%-ish is where we are at. February has proven over the past couple decades to surprise us as it did just four short years ago when Montana and the west tumbled into an Arctic Freeze for 6 weeks!
February is a good month to organize your fly fishing summer plans. Get your gear fixed and cleaned. Buy some new gear from Headhunters of Craig. Your favorite Missouri River Fly Shop. Why not? The time is now.
Headhunters Fly Shop Calendar
Swing Season continues as we head toward the meat of the winter months. Today 35F. About normal. This weekend will bring us more temps in the mid-40’s and beyond. Of course with the warmth comes the ubiquitous wind.
Swingers have been out in force as they battle the Nymphers for the deeper holding buckets.
Bugs. Midges. Mid Month. Maybe. Probably. Have seen a few already. Rising. Catchable.
Headhunters Fly Shop open daily 8-5pm will all things Trout Spey. Come by and demo a rod before you buy. Check out a demo spey line before you buy. Come in and chat with our crack staff about all things 2HTROUT. All of the lines, leaders, tips, accessories you need!
Booking agents available daily at the shop. Yes, book your summer trip today.
–No new report– but this is being advertised: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=210133401530932&set=a.180749467802659
Lake Mary Ronan- Good numbers of nice perch down deeper 35-40’ of water, also few nice salmon.
Whitefish Lake- 5-7” of ice, good white fish at night near state park in 50’ of water, also some nice Mack’s early morning.
Murphy Lake- Good numbers of 7-11” perch, few bass.
Beaver Lake- Good salmon bite early morning.
Lower Stillwater- Some good perch west end, also some small pike.
Lake Five- Lots of small salmon 60’ of water.
Mcgregor Lake- 4-6” of ice, few lake trout near boat launch.
Ashley Lake- Good salmon action early morning. 6-8” of ice.
Bitterroot Lake- Good ice south end, 5-7” of ice. Smaller salmon shallow, try earlier for bigger fish.
Blanchard- Crappie bite good but small fish, also few nice pike and perch.
Don’t forget to get signed up for our FREE Family Fish Day!
A few kokanee and perch are being picked up while using Hali or Sweedish Pimple type ice jigs tipped with red maggots or corn in 20 to 45 feet of water. 13-15 inches of ice has been reported. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
- Flathead Lake (Somers Bay) – Variable Ice conditions, be safe and use your spud bars!
- Lake Mary Ronan – 6 inches of ice. Layered snow and slush. The bite has slowed up still a few perch being caught around 30′.
- Smith Lake – 12+ inches of ice. Pike being caught on tip-ups and small jigging spoons.
- Bitterroot Lake – 5 inches of ice. There have been a few salmon being caught around 40′-50′. Swedish Pimples paired with glow hooks or Zimmer Wannabe jigs have been good options.
- Rogers Lake – 10+ inches of ice. Grayling still biting around 12′-15′. Purple or black Ratfinkees have been solid.
- Ashley Lake – 5 inches of ice. Limits of salmon being caught off the west shore!
- Swan Lake – 7+ inches of ice. A few lakers being caught around 100′ using white tubes. Mixed in have been a few good pike being caught off tip-ups.
- Middle Thompson Lake – 7+ inches of ice. Lots of perch around 15′-25′. A few salmon starting to be caught as well.
- Whitefish Lake – 6-8 inches of ice. The whitefish are being caught off the east side around 75′-100′. Good numbers of lakers being caught as well.
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
The prize list is finally here! With just 11 days until the tournament, we cannot wait to give away some awesome prizes to you! Be sure you get your tickets and meet us on the ice so you don’t miss out on your chance to win some awesome things!
Well that was quite the swing of weather! We went from -50s windchill to over 50 degrees in the span of a few days. It’s been an unusual winter around here for sure. As we move into a warmer weather pattern opportunities for fishing are getting better. First, a look at snowpack.
The snow we received in this last storm certainly helped bump numbers up. They are hovering right around normal levels, which is great. A look at the northwest corner of Wyoming brings good news as well. While we’re still below 100% of average, we’ll take the high 90s! We still have a lot of winter ahead of us, so fingers crossed we’ll get a lot more moisture rich snow before next summer.
It’s been a windy week on the Yellowstone River (shocked? Neither are we) but there are still places you can get out and find some fish. Be mindful of both shelf ice and floating chunks. If you’re planning on getting the boat out, be sure to scout ramps and floats to make sure they’re passable.
This is the time of year when you can find some pretty decent midge hatches if conditions line up right. Out here on the Yellowstone you’re looking for warmer days that are a bit less windy. Ha! Look for the sheltered spots and have some dries in the box. Emergers in the surface film or swung downstream could be a great option around midday.
Otherwise, find the deep and slow water and fish deep. Larger, attractor nymphs with a midge nymph behind it can produce. Rainbow warriors, zebra midges etc. Think small and put it about a foot and a half behind the point fly. If you aren’t snagging bottom now and then you aren’t deep enough.
Water temps are too cold to get fish really chasing streamers, but swinging them can be a good idea on these warmer days. Might help you beat the wind too. If you insist on fishing streamers, putting them underneath a bobber with a midge behind it is the way to go.
The Lower Madison River is a great place this time of year. Especially as it warms up, there are plenty of opportunities for getting the boat out or wade fishing. We would caution against floating below Black’s Ford, but Warm to Black’s is just long enough to satiate the winter fishing itch, and this time of year you won’t encounter the dreaded tuber hatch.
For walk wade folks, a stroll up Bear Trap Canyon is worth the time. On warmer, sunny days expect it to become quite crowded. However, if you walk far enough you can find some quiet water. If you’re after some dry fly fishing, the rock gardens you will encounter are excellent places to head hunt.
The Upper Madison is a bit icy and jammed up these days. You can find open water and good fishing higher up the river, but anything around Ennis we would wait a few weeks at least for. Look for midges around Reynold’s Pass and Three Dollar in that mid day window. Rubber legs with a midge behind it is always worth a shot up there.
Expect the Gallatin River to be a bit icy up in the canyon this coming week. While the cold cold has passed, the river hasn’t had a chance to really warm up and thaw. As always, the water below Big Sky to the canyon mouth will be pretty ice free due to the Big Sky runoff. If you’re fishing in the canyon, there is a lot of access, and just find the deepest and slowest water you can.
Down in the valley you can find some decent spots, but beware of ice jammed up down lower on the river. If you’re fishing down here expect to walk a ways from the access.
If you’re after a real fishing experience and not just a chance to get out of the house for a few hours, the Paradise Valley spring creeks are where it’s at. Take advantage of the reduced winter rates and get out on some of the most storied waters in the state. Their constant flow and water temp is the ideal winter fishing conditions.
This is very technical fishing, so prepare to be humbled. You can also have some of the very best fishing of the year if you play it right..
LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP
February is generally a pretty quiet time around Livingston, but there is still lots to do! You can find live music, events, great food and drink, and plenty of places to ski, snowshoe, fish – even just walk around and enjoy the scenery.
Here at the shop we have all the gear you need to stay warm, dry, and comfortable in your outdoor pursuits. If you aren’t into skiing, come find the materials you need to tie some flies and fill some boxes. There’s also no time like the present to start planning your 2023 fishing adventures.
Tight lines this week!
Caed M.: Looking good still. 10-12” most places solid good ice. Just always use caution on that lake
Rainbows are being caught 15-20 feet deep out from Broadwater Bay and around Confederate while using spoons or brown or black jigs with worms or maggots. Walleye and perch are being caught mid reservoir out from Confederate in 40-50 feet of water while using yellow or green Hali jigs or spoons tipped with nightcrawlers or maggots. Burbot are also being caught on the bottom by anglers using walleye and perch rigs with bait. Stay away from the pressure ridges on the south end of the reservoir. There is over 20 inches of ice from the Silos down to the ponds, 18-20 inches of ice around Duck Creek and the north end has 3-5 inches of ice. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
James G.: the ice is still good. The issue is the change in weather pressure ridges, change opening and contraction also wind can make them worse. With no snow on the ice the sun shines through the ice on the shallow points and erodes the ice from the bottom up. Don’t hug the shore line when going around those long points.
Current Conditions 2/5
This past cold snap has put some crazy ice shelfs on the Gallatin down in the valley but there is still fishable water. Your best bet will be going into the canyon, the closer to Big Sky the better. Nymphing long slow holes will be the best bet. Dark rubber legs size 8-12 or a worm followed by a zebra midge, red copper john, prince nymphs, or natural peridgons. If you’re very lucky on the right calm day you may find some fish rising to midges. Use a size 18-22 giffiths gnat or a peacock cluster for those rising fish.
Gallatin River Webcam – Located at Karst, which is about 1/2 way between Bozeman and Big Sky on HWY 191.