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.
C.N.: Mostly snagging in the fall but a few guys do fish for them around ’50 occasionally a 12 inches most 8-10
T.S.: Placid Lake average 10.5″ kinda small Salmon Lake are a lot bigger but super finicky
Perch fishing has been fantastic out from the BLM boat ramp, the Prairie Dog Town, Log Gulch, Departure Point and throughout most of the lower end of the reservoir while using Swedish Pimples, Halis or other jigs and maggots near the bottom in 20 to 45 feet of water. Some nice rainbows continue to be caught at the Gates of the Mountains while using various ice jigs tipped with crawlers in shallow water. A few burbot are being caught while using cut bait near the bottom at night. 12-16 inches of ice has been reported. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
J.F.: I’ve caught hood rainbows around the north end of the island and right below the highway. As for salmon. They are sporadic and just cruise through. But yes between island and boat ramp or on far west end of Lake.
D.R.: It is super low too. I marked fish.
D.R.: 6 weeks ago I marked fish, never got any bites… However we were using just worms. I heard the best is to have live minnows.
Hell Creek Recreation Information ( March 1, 2023)
J.G.: Update; Ice is as good as it been all year, about 2″ of snow on the lake. The bays are good and the best bite seems to be in the 5 to 12 foot dept. Talking to a guy as I write this catching mostly northerns but 6 walleyes and 6 lakers. Lakers where deeper using jigs.
Smelt seems to work best during the day.
Road in, is good no problems with snow or ice, always be careful on the big hill watch for ice, that can change in a hour.
Will remind everyone again whatch the points thats where you can get in trouble, stop in the Marina before you go out one of us can give you ideas of where to avoid.
J.R.: 16” plus pretty much all over. Fished last weekend on Monday and it was over 18 inches. Will be there myself again on Monday. If you can get some live minnows are best. Tight lines!!! 😎👍🏻🎣
–No new report–
It has been a chilly February so far with another cold spell coming early next week. Fishing on the Yellowstone has definitely been slow. Midges and streamers have been working during the mid-day window, any earlier or later has been a tough bite. The Spring Creeks have been a better bet, with warmer water and fish looking to eat pretty much all day. Midge hatches have been limited, especially on windy days, but there have been enough around to keep fish interested.
The old rail road bridge just above 89 has finally been removed. As such, FWP has re-opened the section from Mayor’s Landing to Sheep Mountain. If you decide to float, (which we still don’t recommend), be sure to check out both the put in and take out before you set sail, as people have been getting stuck in wind drifts. There are sections of the Yellowstone that still have a lot of ice, it would be prudent to wait another month or so for the ice to melt before floating. Feel free to give us a call for the latest conditions. 406-222-7130.
E.M.: Ice is good 18 to 24 plus inches depending where you are at. Some of the shallow points and humps have opened up. Give us a call at the lakeridge or stop in and we can give you a more detailed info. Thanks and good luck
Some nice rainbows continue to be caught near the Causeway area and Black Sandy while using green or silver jigs or ice flies tipped with maggots or crawlers in 6 to 10 feet of water. An occasional burbot is being found in the Causeway Arm while using cut bait near the bottom. The Causeway area has 10-18 inches of ice and Lake Helena has 16-20 inches of ice. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Spring Training means Spring is near
Baseball has officially returned for the spring. Next, summer, then fall. Ahh, baseball season falls right in line with fishing season.
Along with the casting practice we’ve been talking about the past few weeks we need to think about getting to the non-emergent tasks we blew off last fall.
- Rod repair. If you have a break or otherwise, you are too late for the spring and maybe summer with your favorite rod. Send it in now anyways, and fish it this fall. Do it this week. Do it.
- New Fly Lines. Put on new fly lines. If it has been a few years, do it. Like new socks, new tires, new fly lines make us smile.
- Fix them waders of yours. Leaky waders suck. Search the fix it video from any wader manufacturer and get after it. This one you will be thankful for, the first step in that cold spring water.
- Update your First Aid kit in your car, boat, RV, home. As we, I, age this task becomes more important as the ratio of stupid shit I do daily increases. A good selection of Band-Aids, Hydrogen Peroxide and alcohol and the like is good.
- Plan some fishing trips with your buddies and your family. It’s good for your soul. And spring reminds us we are not dead. An awakening. It’s good man.
- Practice Casting once a week for 10 minutes. It’ll be fun.
- Clean out that boat bag or fishing vest. There is gross shit in there. Get rid of it. And old flies.
- Clean your fly lines if you do not replace. Get involved in the clean fly line revolution. Talk about a smile maker. Clean fly lines sing.
Baseball on the TV daily. Ahhh. Spring is nearer today than it was yesterday. Hooray.
The river kinda frozen. Better temps today with the mercury rising above the freezing mark for the first time in some time. Anglers were on the river. More tomorrow with less wind forecast. Pretty icy downstream of Mid-Canon. Watch for shelf ice and be careful out there wading. Botramps appear to be clear. SOme are slippery with the warm up occurring.
The Yellowstone River is going to be very slushy and icy after this recent cold front but expect a high near 50 degrees on Sunday. Once the river clears again the fishing should pick back up. Nymphing with a worm or a stonefly nymph can almost always get it done. If either of these are not working soft hackles or perdigons can also be deadly options. Swinging small streamers can be a good winter option as well. You may see some fish rising to midges in really slow moving slicks. If you do, a small Parachute Adams or a Cluster Midge are my go to patterns.
Fins & Feathers is a full-service Bozeman fly shop and Montana fly fishing outfitter. Yellowstone River fly fishing trips are available year-round with our Bozeman fly fishing guides.
Upper Yellowstone River Webcam – Located above the river in Gardiner, Montana.
Lake Mary Ronan- good ice, little slushy in some spots. Perch bite is good near Camp Tuffit or white rock Bay 20 to 30’ of water. Salmon good early morning midlake 35’ of water.
Bitterroot Lake- lots of salmon hitting early morning, 6 AM to 10 AM. Try 100 to 130‘ of water at 30 to 40’ down. Hali jigs or Swedish pimples working well. Also try north and at the same depth.
Dickey Lake- a little slow, but good fish up to 14 inches, few nice rainbows close to shore.
Lower Stillwater- few good perch, try upper end near islands in 12 to 15 feet of water. Pike fishing try tip ups with smelt.
McGregor Lake￼- try bucktail jigs or tube jigs with cut bait. Try 80 to 120‘ of water for lake trout. Rainbows try to shallow 8 to 12’ of water with woolly bugger jigs.
La￼ke Five- lots of small salmon and a few nice perch.
Rodgers Lake- ￼ early morning for some nice cut throat, and Grayling. Try small black ratso’s.
￼ Flathead Lake- Painted Rocks below West Shore State Park is fishing well 150 to 180‘ of water, also try delta in 30 to 60’ or 80 to 120’ with big tube jigs.
Good luck to all of the participants of the McGregor Lake Fishing Derby!
kokanee action has picked up recently while using pink or green ice jigs, Halis or dodgers tipped with red maggots or corn in 20 to 45 feet of water. A few perch are being found while using smaller jigs and maggots near the bottom. 16-20 inches of ice has been reported. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
- Lake Mary Ronan – 10 inches of ice. Fresh snow on top of layered slush. Perch are still being caught around 30′ along with a few salmon swimming through.
- Smith Lake – Plenty of ice. Still some smaller pike being caught off jigging spoons or hanging dead bait.
- Bitterroot Lake – 8+ inches of ice. Salmon bite starting to pick up around 40′. Grab some pink flashers paired with glo hooks for a good start.
- Rogers Lake – 10+ inches of ice. Slow bite but still picking up a few trout in the early hours with grayling still biting throughout the day.
- Ashley Lake – 8+ inches of ice. Still good limits of 7″-8″ salmon. The Zimmer Tackle Wannabe jigs have been working well.
- Swan Lake – 9+ inches of ice. Layered snow on top. Try pounding bottom with tube jigs and heavy weights around 80′-100′.
- Middle Thompson Lake – 9+ inches of ice. A few reports of salmon being caught along with lots of perch and a few pike.
- Whitefish Lake – 9+ inches of ice. Lakers being caught around 100′ using tube jigs. Still hearing reports of whitefish in the early and late hours of the day.
- Echo Lake – Lots of small perch being caught. For the Whitefish and Kokanee towards the middle being caught in 50′-70′.
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 2023 Ducks on Ice event was a huge success thanks to DU volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. In just its third year, the tournament raised the bar yet again for attendance and fundraising. And a hearty congratulations to the big winners! Becky Anderson’s 11.36 lb. whopper not only took top honors in the walleye category, it was also the heaviest fish caught in the competition. But, she wasn’t the only Anderson to walk away a winner. Caleb Anderson hooked the smallest fish prize, while Conrad Zuelke was the champion of the youth category. Rounding out the winner’s circle was Peter Reisenauer’s 1.27 lb. perch. Well done everyone! We’ll see you on Montana’s Canyon Ferry in 2024!
It’s finally above zero! It’s been a wild temperature swing this past week. Winter has reminded us all that there is still a lot of it left this year. Great for skiing, great for next summer’s water, not so great for cabin fever. Ha.
Our snowpack in the area is now officially above 100% in all the drainages affecting us and our little corner of heaven. Across both Montana and Wyoming, the numbers are looking good. Especially after last year, when our snowpack was looking abysmally bad at this point. Things are looking up!
Regarding fishing, this report is also going to be short and sweet. Kind of the pattern for this time of year I suppose. The main issue is the fact that it was so damn cold for most of the week, and now it’s feeling really pretty nice out there. Any new slush, ice, and ice jams is going to be working loose with these higher temps and moving downstream.
We’ve been saying this all winter long, but no trout is worth dying or getting seriously injured for. Be super careful around any kind of ice, slush, or anything else floating down the river. Don’t be a hero, don’t take any chances. There are sure to be some weird ice jams and hazards as things melt and loosen up.
If you are able to find a safe spot to fish, midges are on the menu. Look for them midday, and if you can find a calm spot out of the wind you are likely to see some heads. Dry fly fishing in February? Yes please. Otherwise, fish a midge nymph behind a bigger point fly in the deep, slow water and see what’s happening.
With March on the horizon we’re allllllllmost thinking about more traditional spring hatches and streamer fishing. Not quite yet though. If you are feeling the itch to fish something bigger, swinging streamers wouldn’t be a bad option. Be a lot better option here in a few weeks, just saying.
In the meantime, it’s a great time to tie flies! We’ve got a great selection of basics, essentials, and a few speciality things. Tools, vises, instructional books and the knowledge and stories to boot. Might as well fill some boxes before spring!
Come on down to the shop this week to hear a fish story, share a fish story, and find all the outdoor gear you could want or need – whatever your pursuit is.
Tight lines this week!
We are past the half way point on winter. The days are getting longer and with each day hope and excitement grows. Soon we will be showing off Montana, floating wild rivers and having fun.
We are really excited about a few great things in our world. First is the ever expanding inventory of on line flies. We are working to have our extensive fly selection completely available to the at home customer. Take a look and check back often as we are continually adding flies.
Second, is the completion of the Tackle Shop Anthem. This is a project we have been working with Rusty Fox Media for almost a year. We are excited how the full length video turned out. Stay tuned to social media for short reels in the next few weeks. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Our snow pack is still holding steady above 100% of normal. This is great news and hopefully the trend will continue in the late winter and spring. A great water year with cold clean water all summer ensures plenty of dry fly days. Think hopper fishing.
If you have not booked your guide trips for this summer now is the time. Our most popular guides schedules are starting to fill up. If you want a specific guide on a specific day give us a call. We love connecting returning guests with the guides that ignited their passion for Montana.
March is almost here and the Spring Guide Trip Special is about to kick off. If you have never fished the Madison River in the spring you are missing out. It is our guides favorite time to fish. When fish come out of the winter cold they are hungry. Come and experience spring in Montana with us.
Each day going forward the excitement builds on a new season. We look forward to welcoming you back to Montana. Please let us know how we can help.
Good Fishing and God Bless……
Rainbows, perch and walleye are being caught in 15 to 20 feet of water out from the Silos. The rainbows are being caught on silver and pink or red jigs with worms or maggots. Walleye and perch are being caught while using pink, red or yellow Hali jigs or spoons with red hooks tipped with nightcrawlers, perch eyes or maggots. An occasional ling is being caught along with the perch and walleye on the bottom. The Duck Creek to Confederate area has slow fishing overall. 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
Current Conditions 3/5
Quite a bit of ice and slush on the river with the frigid temperatures but a high near 40 again on Sunday. When the ice and slush clears a bit fishing will pick up once again. Your best bet will be going into the canyon, the closer to Big Sky the less slush and ice. 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 Giffith’s 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.