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.
B.R.: I was there last weekend, it’s, clear of ice. I wouldn’t trust harpers though.
T.Y.: Was there today. You can fish from shore in quite a get places but I would say it is still about 75% covered.
C.N.: It’s open, was over that way the past two weekends and ice is off the lake.
The rainbow trout action continues to be great on the north end of the reservoir from shore as they are cruising the shorelines. Rainbows are being caught while using leech patterns, San Juan worms, egg sacks, worms or spinners. A few rainbows are being caught around Hole in the Wall by boat anglers trolling spoons or crankbaits. An occasional walleye is being picked up from shore and boat around the Silos while using chartreuse jigs and worms. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
April 25 update: The bay is finally open! The main lake is starting to break up, but there is still a lot of ice out there.
Hell Creek General Recreation Information ( May 1, 2023)
Spring is here and with spring comes warmer temps and more water. This being said, even though the water will have some color the fish are happy and still feeding. The further up Paradise Valley you go the clearer the water will be. Streamers are a great option right now as well as nymphing larger stoneflies, worms, eggs, and any of your other runoff favorites. If you get cleaner water on any particular day, there could also be some dry fly action on midges and smaller baetis. Caddis, march browns, and more baetis are on the way as we warm up as well so don’t discount caddis pupa patterns and bigger mayfly nymphs as well! 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 Black/Rainbow (4), Urchin Bugger (4), Sculpzilla Black/ White/ Natural (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 (10-18), Jigster Baetis (14-18), Prince Nymph (10-18), BH Hare’s Ear (12-18), Sizzlin’ Hot Spot Squirrel (14-16), Zebra Midge (16-22), San Juan Worm, Matt’s Shagadelic Mop Tan/ Brown/ Green/ Cheeto (10), Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)
Fresno is full of water. Surface temp mainly in the forties. The clarity is stained. There was some floating ice Tuesday morning but it later disappeared. Fishing for me on Tuesday and Wednesday was slow. The few fish and bites I got came from 5’ – 10’ of water. I was throwing Gulp minnows on 1/8 oz jigs.
Nelson ditch, again, is flowing, the reservoir is 68 % full. As of Wednesday at 4 pm, it was still iced over. It’s probably open now with yesterday’s wind.
Good numbers of rainbows are being caught while fly fishing from shore at the Gates of the Mountains, the BLM boat ramp, and Log Gulch. Leech patterns, egg patterns, and San Juan Worms have been popular. Using Power Bait, night crawlers, spawn sacks or spinners is also producing some nice rainbows. Boat anglers trolling crankbaits or bottom bouncers and Wedding Rings on the lower end of the reservoir are picking up rainbows as well. Not many walleyes have been reported yet. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Water temps climbing as well as the water flows from most every creek, river, stream in the state.
May is here, spring has arrived, we hope, and do not see temps drop below the freezing level for the next ten days!
Spoke with the dam knob controller last week. Water projections for the month and summer will arrive in my email box later this week. But, the early word is that the river will be in the 5K-10K range for the next 6 weeks. High and mid level snow still not he ground. The 40’sF temp at night will keep the snow melting through the next ten days at least. It is coming.
A reminder to those new to the Mo that the run off does not deter our fishing here. Can it limit the portion of river we fish because of a bit of mud tossed from the two local trips? Yes. Does that mid go away as the river flushes itself out? Certainly. Can you fish green water below them here? Yes, for generations.
Bobber Lobbers like 5′-7′ from Indi to split. Heavy pink Pill Poppers, Worms, Bubble Yums, Amex, Rainbow Czechs, , larger PT’s and Euro slender bodied nymphs get those flies down there. If you like the sink rate of said Euro Style nymphs, we got lots of them!
Second/bottom flies that have been popular are the Zebra of lots of darker colorations, BWO nymphs, un-weighted worms, sows galore, and pink.
Look for that medium slow or medium speed waters along with the back end tailouts in the deeper darker water.
Streamer anglers have been using the heavier deep tips to get to the action. Lots of cool Streamer Fly Lines at HH of Craig. Big selection. Certainly the largest fly line selection in the Trico county region! Honest. Well over 1000 fly lines in stock at your Fly Line Leader on the banks of the Mighty Mo!
Don’t forget about the Headhunter Fly Line for Dry Fly Fanatics! Selling tons of them still as the shine has not won off this highly acclaimed dry fly specific fly line created by the Headhunters Team for your dry fly successes! Come in today and try this dry fly gem out!
A bit tougher out there with the additional water. Many finding them in a spot, then not for the next couple. Keep in the mind that 2K cfs is 50% more water for them to hide in. Think like a trout, like a predator, like a hunter gatherer and capitalize. Don’t think like a silly human. Humans wrangle in their prey at the grocery store. Pretty far removed from predator behaviors.
Dry flies can cover the waters after lunch. Early morning too. Meaning day break. But the best sessions are later in the day. Longer. Midge is the primary bug not he water. The primary eater too. BWO’s not he back burner. Lower down the river the anglers are beginning to see success with the larger olive bugs. Water temps that are rising are helping the bugs along.
Swingers? Find your center river bar and find the correct depth. Skagit Style? Yes. The beauty of the Skagit System is that you can find your depth and achieve it every swing. Want to learn more about this highly entertaining technique? Come by the shop and we can start you down this life learning path.
Flies galore at Headhunters. We built our reputation on a complete and procured fly selection for this great Montana resource. Missouri River Fly Central here on the Mo.
Spring Shop Hours currently 7-7 daily. When the fishing dictates we change again open later we certainly will adapt. Shuttles daily including the Dearborn.
See you in downtown Craig. Happy May Day!
Swan Lake- Open water- catching pike on the south end, also few lake trout near river.
East Bay- Flathead Lake- Good perch numbers starting to hit, try Gitzits or small tube jigs with bait.
Thompson Chain of lakes- All open, try middle and upper for bass and pike.
Loon Lake (Ferndale)- Good trout action on power bait or fly fishing using leech patterns.
Flathead Lake- Trolling the delta or dead bait fishing 30-50’ water is good. Try Woods Bay Point early morning trolling flat fish. Jigging deep near Painted Rocks doing well early morning.
Dickey Lake- Open water, catching a few nice salmon.
McGregor Lake- Open water- catching a few rainbows and lake trout.
Koocanusa- water warming up, catching rainbows and bull trout. Try using Dave’s PlugIt plugs or large trolling flies.
- Flathead Lake – Delta is turning off with muddy waters pouring in. Try Somers Bay side down to Hatchery Bay or Angel Point. Eastbay has been producing some good perch too!
- Flathead River – Water levels are rising, and water is getting murky.
- McWenneger Slough – After an early winter die off fishing has been slow, but still catching a few small perch and pike.
- Church Slough – Crappie have been biting along with a few perch and pike.
- Echo Lake – Small mouth are starting to bite. The cold water has the fish a little sluggish, so use slow moving baits to get a bite.
- Lower Thompson – The lake is open. Reports of a few salmon being caught off the launch in about 30′-40′. Bass have been holding in deeper water, so fish slow for a bite.
- McGregor Lake – Ice is starting to break apart should be open in about a week.
- Smith Lake – Weedy and cold, but still finding a few pike off the dock.
- Swan Lake – Ice is breaking up. Not able to launch a boat quite yet.
-No new report-
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 Friday again everyone! It’s a beautiful day out there and we’ve got a pretty awesome string of weather coming up. Spring fishing is in full swing, as well as some dirty waters already. The big question around here right now is whether or not the Mother’s Day Caddis will be making an appearance before the river blows out. Read on to find out…
First, a look at snowpack. Our area snowpack remains well above 100%. At this point it all depends on how quickly it comes out. We’ve got highs in the mid to high 70s coming next week, and that will undoubtedly push a lot of mud into our local freestones. Everyone in Park County is understandably jumpy after last year’s flood, but we aren’t worried about that just yet. The Yellowstone has a longgggggg way to go before that becomes an issue.
Here’s what’s happening:
The Yellowstone River has a good bit of color in her today, and that is expected to continue. Flows have come up 500cfs over the last four days to right around 2,300 today. As noted above, a long way to go before flood stage. Visibility was <6” or so this morning, and that will continue to worsen as the nice weather moves in and more snow melts.
Caddis are on everyone’s minds and sadly we aren’t overly optimistic about a great hatch this year. We had two days of water temps at or near 54 degrees this week, but the chilly weather yesterday and big pushes of snowmelt are driving it back down into the 40s. The Mother’s Day Caddis need stable temps of at least 55 to have a decent hatch. You should be seeing a few of them fluttering around here and there, but for a good fishable hatch? We shall see.
If we do get a window of clear water, a big stonefly or dead drifted streamer with a caddis pupa behind it is what we’d be fishing. BWOs are still around, and a larger caddis pupa with a baetis nymph behind it isn’t a bad idea at all. You might see some fish eating dries, but as visibility decreases, so will dry fly opportunities.
As the river comes up and gets dirtier bigger flies come into play. Start talking streamers and everything thinks fall, but don’t overlook spring. You can have some of the best streamer days of the year in conditions like this.
Being a tailwater, the Madison River is reasonably clear these days. On the Upper Madison, you will find some dirty water below the West Fork, but above that and further down mid-valley or so to the lake you can have some really good days. Please watch your step – the rainbows are spawning out of Ennis Lake this time of year, and their redds can be found in gravely areas. Don’t walk through them, don’t fish the redds, just leave them alone and let them do their thing.
Mother’s Day Caddis is a big deal on the Lower Madison as well as the Yellowstone. While the Yellowstone is likely going to blow out, the Lower is all set to have a great hatch this year. It’s still a bit early but we’d definitely be thinking about putting a caddis pupa on. Fish the buckets, fish the rock gardens. Remember that Mother’s Day Caddis are quite a bit smaller and darker than summer caddis. If you don’t have a dedicated pattern, a small black elk hair caddis works great.
The Gallatin River is on its way up as well. It’s still fishable, but the tributaries are going to be pumping some mud and dirty water into the system over the coming week. Fishing can be really good in the “spring green” conditions we have lately. There is plenty of access in the canyon to go explore a bit. Water temps are still quite chilly, so focus on the deeper and slower water with small stoneflies, caddis pupa, and general attractor nymphs like perdigons, copper johns, princes, and hare’s ears.
Down in the valley fishing is going to be better. Do a little walking away from access points (legally of course) and find a quiet spot for the best results. If you want to fish streamers on the Gallatin, we’d be doing it down here. The lower river can be pretty fun in the spring!
The Spring Creeks remain your best option for dry fly fishing. Midges, BWOs, and caddis are all on the menu. Look for risers and until you find them do some creeping on the banks and tight line nymph to big fish. While you could bobber fish these, sight nymphing is a lot more fun.
The fish are picky, the bugs are prolific, and the water is clear. Worth the rod fee to get in? Absolutely.
LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP
You can tell a busy tourist season is on its way – Livingston is definitely getting busier these days! There is a lot to love about our town, and it just gets even better as the weather improves and we can all get outside again.
The shop is continuing to shift over to our spring and summer lineups of gear. We’re getting new apparel, technical gear, flies, rods, reels, wading boots and more constantly! Come check it out before you go enjoy the beautiful spring weather.
We’ve also been busy booking guide trips for the coming summer. We could have an epic water year with great fishing all summer long! If you’re interested in coming to Montana to fish, we’d love to talk to you.
Tight lines this week!
Beautiful day out here. My friend.Tyler out there caught a couple bass and some pike. Gonna grab a boat and head out after supper ourselves to see if the evening bite is good.
9:40am 51.8 water temp on Castle Rock. Nice sunny day calm breeze so far.
A few rainbows are being caught at Riverside, Devil’s Elbow, York Bridge, and the Causeway area while using egg or leech pattern flies, Power Bait, night crawlers, spawn sacks or spinners. A few walleye are being picked up on Lake Helena while pulling bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Water flows have come up to 6,000 cfs. Fishing has been fair on nymphs. It’s typical spring fishing: because of the cold water, 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, Baetis nymphs and midge pupa. San Juan Worms have started to work with the higher water. The best fishing has been mid morning through early afternoon. Not many dry fly opportunities out there because of the flows, but there are a few places you can find a fish up. Mainly midges hatching, but there are a few Baetis in the afternoon. 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.