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 with your report.
T.M.: Edges are opening up as of Sunday, road is fine, but I’m sure that will change by tonight/ tomorrow. Beach is soft, stay off with a vehicle
M.B.: The Yellowstone is good right now before spring high water. I’ve caught them from Billings to Sidney.
D.H.: Was by there Sunday and people were ice fishing the edge
P.A.: It’s not gone but I was out Saturday the only place you could safely get on the lake was redlodge camp ground everybody elsde left early in the day probably for good reason because me and my buddy both broke through up to our knees at shore getting off that evening,still around 18-20 inches out in the center with a vicious 5-7 inch slush layer all over the lake , I say Saturday was the last day for cooney
Hell Creek Recreation Information ( April 12, 2023)
J.G.: Looks like this may be the last weekend for ATV and side by sides. Losing the shore line, ice is still good but won’t be able to drive on.
Madison Adventures: Five keepers for the smoker! 59 minuets, it was on fire! Released four others. Ice is 38” with a 7” snow layer on top! Hebgen lake!
Spring here in Southern Montana and that means Yellowstone river will be picking up! 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
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)
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)
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)
D.W.: out of duck creek,marina bay froze solid still,corps shut down the flat lake boat ramp to ice access this weekend due to all the water that has ran out on the ice there
shoreline was getting soft on Saturday but ice on the main was still over 2 feet,mid 60’s and close to 80 on Tuesday makes me think you’ll need some planks to get on the ice by mid week
5 for ’23
- Clean your fly lines. #1 tool to get you to float higher! Mend easier. Cast farther! Do you change your oil frequently, enough? New tires on your ride? Do you wear clean underwear? Do you wear a t-shirt 22X between cleanings?
- Buy/replace fly line. You like new socks? Remember that feel of new socks? Imagine a new fly line? Ohh, so sooo sweet! New fly lines make all of us smile!
- Check your medical kit in your boat/car. Updated medical kits are important for you and your friends. Seriously, check on this one and update if needed.
- Photograph fishing license/cell phone. Buy a new license this year. Montana licenses expire the final day of February. Get a new license and take a phot with your phone. Then, you will always have it.
- New Anchor Rope. Attention boat owners. How about a new anchor rope? Look at your current one and make the decision. New ropes feel better on your hands. New anchor ropes do not have flies attached to them. New anchor ropes hold better. Diameter, etc.
Koocanusa- Rexford boat launch is open, also Peck Gulch and the dam. Rainbows and bull trout are hitting, try Dave’s plugs in salmon colors or dark colors, flies on planer boards also doing well.
Flathead Lake- Good numbers of lake trout off of delta, painted rocks, blue and yellow bay. Try jigging 150-200’ in the bays. At the delta fish shallow 30-60’ with tube jigs and dead bait.
Ashley Lake- still has good ice, lots of smaller salmon.
Bitterroot Lake- still has good ice, still catching salmon.
Lower Stillwater- lots of ice, still catching good perch.
Lake Mary Ronan- lots of good ice, good numbers of perch.
Swan Lake- good ice, catching nice lake trout
FREE SPRING FISHING EXPO APRIL 15th
Where: at Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp
FREE Lunch provided at 12:00
Heated tent and plenty of chairs
Ice conditions will be changing rapidly, start using your spud bars and safety picks!
- Flathead Lake – Jigging Lakers off the delta between 40′-60′ has been productive. You can also give trolling between 80′-100′ a shot. We’ve heard some success there also.
- McWenneger Slough – Starting to break up not safe!
- Church Slough – Starting to see open water, not safe!
- Echo Lake – Shorelines are starting to break away and get soft be very careful!
- Ashley Lake – 10+ inches of ice. The salmon fishing has been good between 30′-40′ down. Perch bite has also been good around 20′.
- Bitterroot Lake – 10+ inches of ice. Salmon bite has been OK off the Lions camp. The fish seem to be suspended around 40′-60′.
- McGregor Lake – Springs are starting to eat away at the shoreline but still good ice just offshore. Reports of the lakers still being caught around 100′ down.
- Lower Thompson – Shorelines are starting to get soft near moving water or springs so be careful. Still hearing decent perch bite along with a few pike coming in the reports too.
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
Happy Easter Weekend everyone! We hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and enjoys the time with family. We’ve finally gotten out of our wintery pattern and things are feeling a bit more springy! Walking around town, you can even see tulips and spring flowers trying hard to poke through and buds are starting to swell on trees and bushes. Won’t be long now!
Our snowpack is still holding VERY well. Our figures for the region around here are all well above average and we are all waiting to see how it comes out. The higher temps forecast for early next week are prompting some concerns about flooding, we shall see what shakes out.
How’s fishing? Picking up! Here’s what is going on:
**UPDATE Monday 4/10** The river is muddy through the valley and will be getting dirtier lower as the Gardiner and other tribs continue to pump mud out as things melt. The Shields is also dumping muddy water into the river. Stay tuned to our social for more.
The Yellowstone has been really picking up and we are seeing some very nice fish coming out. With water temps slowly coming up the fish are getting a lot more active, and their menu is increasing. We’ve heard reports that Baetis are out in good numbers on the cloudy and warmer days, which is awesome. You can still find midges as well, but after a winter of fishing them it’s nice to see some mayflies around!
Baetis nymphs and midge nymphs are the droppers of choice, but be sure to hang them behind something larger. Dead drifted streamers and Zurdle Bugs make a great choice. We are expecting the clarity to go down in the coming days with the warmer weather and some melting snow, so having something that stands out in the murk is imperative. The wind has been blowing pretty darn stiffly on these warmer days, but finding the quiet places is worth the effort.
Spring is a great time on the Madison River. Things are really picking up on the Upper Madison. The dry fly fishing has been getting better, with the walk wade section up high offering lots of action. If you are floating, be sure to check to make sure that boat ramps are clear of ice and snow. Keep a rod rigged for BWOs and midges, and a nymph rig with a big prince, rubberlegs or wooly bugger with a baetis nymph behind it.
The Lower Madison is entering one of its best times of the year. Spring is when the fish start getting active and are hungry and feisty, and before the water temps get too high and the “tube hatch” starts. Warm Springs to Black’s Ford is an awesome quick float, and can be stretched out to a full day if needed. Walking up Bear Trap can yield some really good water if you don’t mind walking. The trail is very popular and quite busy, so be patient and kind with all.
The Gallatin River down in the valley is still a bit of an icy mess, and there is good potential for flooding down low as stuff warms up and starts melting. Fishing in the valley can be good as things warm up, just be careful and aware of your surroundings and what you’re getting into.
The Canyon is still fishing reasonably well below Big Sky, and is a lot of fun. With the end of the season at Big Sky in sight, we expect more people will be headed up that way instead of fishing the Gallatin, so you might have some peace and quiet. Fish the deep and slow water, as water temps haven’t started bouncing back yet. Double nymph rigs with a bigger point fly like a Prince, Hare’s Ear or smaller rubberlegs with a Zebra Midge or Rainbow Warrior behind it.
Spring rates on the spring creeks take effect April 15th, so get in the last of the cheaper winter rates while you can! Even though spring rates are bumped up from the cheap winter rates, it is discounted from peak season and the fishing has been really good. We’re hearing reports of good midges still midday, and BWOs are out in force if the wind isn’t blowing. Cloudy days are best for dry fly anglers, and even though it’s early season the fish are ALWAYS picky. Bring fine tippet, small flies, and lots of patience. If you’ve wanted to go dry fly only for big, picky trout in Montana, here is your chance.
LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP
It’s a great time of year in Livingston! We’re melting out and things are coming back to life. It seems like things are slowly getting busier around here, though we are a long ways from peak summer traffic. All through town and our region there is live music, good food, local beer, and great local businesses who need and appreciate your patronage.
We are still getting in new spring and seasonal apparel and gear almost every day, and we have what you need to stay warm, dry, comfortable, and successful no matter what you are doing in the outdoors. Now is a great time of year to be planning your trip to Montana and if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our staff is here to help and we always enjoy talking trip plans.
If you’re looking to get into fly fishing and casting this year, keep an eye out for some casting classes that will be announced soon! Coming in June, these are sure to fill up fast. Call the shop if you’re interested.
Tight lines this week!
On the right day the Yellowstone is a good option this time of year. With the ice off the river and cooler temperatures at high elevations keeping runoff at bay, this can be a productive window to fish. Focusing on the upper sections of the river through Paradise Valley has been the most consistent and a better option than downstream of Livingston. Cloudy days are seeing baetis and midge hatches provide some opportunity on the dry. On warmer days we’ll start to see some of the lower elevation snow add a little color to the water, which can make for some great streamer fishing, especially on overcast days. When nymphing focus on the tailouts just beyond the deeper runs with stonefly and baetis imitations. If you’re throwing a streamer start looking for the deeper pockets, and if there’s a little color coming into the water look for the seam along the color change.
The Months Ahead:
Conditions will largely depend on temperature and runoff. Typically we should continue to have a good window of fishing through April and early May. Be sure to check the hydrographs before heading out, especially after warmer days as this can cause the river to bump rapidly. Typically when high temps rise to the upper 60s or warmer some of the lower elevation snowpack will melt rapidly and can result in rising flows and reduced visibility. Cold snaps will quickly bring the river back into shape so just be sure to watch water levels and weather patterns as spring progresses before opting for the ‘Stone.
Saturday 4.8.23 1:30 A little more.open water on the rock side. Boat ramp.about to bust open. (CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO)
D.W.: Ice was 8” thick at 1:30 pm at Canyon Ferry, Silos Friday, April 7. There was a current underneath the ice south to north. Before we headed in at 4:30 PM those thickness was 5 inches 400 feet offshore. 60 feet offshore the ice was 3 inches thick 40 feet offshore we broke through into 3 1/2 to 4 feet of water. Made it to sure OK. Had fun taking pictures and laughing about the ordeal. Open water further out. Maybe tomorrow you can cast offshore. Ha ha ice fishing done there for the season.
Water flows are at 4,000 cfs. Fishing has been fair to good on nymphs. It’s typical spring fishing: the water is very cold. One day the fish are on the feed, the next day they’re hard to come by. We’ve been catching fish on scuds, sowbugs, and midge pupa. The best fishing has been midday and early afternoon. When the wind cooperates, we’ve seen a few fish rising on midges and Baetis. Streamer fishing has been tough because of the cold water, but you can get a few out of the big, deep holes if you use a full-sinking line.