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.
Rainbow trout are still cruising the shorelines and providing great action on the north end of the reservoir for shore anglers. The best rainbow fishing is around the Outhouse, Shannon, Chinamen’s and outside of Kim’s Marina 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. The south end of the reservoir is slow fishing with poor water visibility and a lot of debris floating in the water due to high runoff. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
May 5th: Decent walleye bite west near Fourchette and the narrows. Some smaller eating size walleye in Snow Creek, Sutherland, and Hell Creek. Northern are about done spawning and are starting to bite in the bays in shallow water. Lakers hitting from Hell Creek east in about 25 ft.
Hell Creek General Recreation Information ( May 11, 2023)
Spring is here and with spring comes warmer temps and more water. The river is big right now but the fish still have to eat! The further up Paradise Valley you go the cleaner 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. Stay out of the water, it is moving fast! 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. Water is stained temps in 50-60s. Walleye fishing is good. Jigging in 5’-10’ of water in gravel areas is working well. Crank baits are also working, when you catch one make multiple passes in that area. Kremlin and Kiehns Bay areas are holding fish. Nelson is 80% full and rising. Water is clear with temps in the 50-60s. Walleye fishing is good. Jig with minnows in 10’ in the gravel areas are working. Also minnow live bait systems are working. The island area and surrounding areas are holding fish.
Good numbers of rainbows are being caught while trolling red or pink crankbaits out from Split Rock. Shore anglers are catching a lot of rainbows at the Gates of the Mountains, the BLM boat ramp, and the Log Gulch boat ramp. The most productive flies have been egg patterns, San Juan Worms, and black and red leech patterns. Using Power Bait, night crawlers, spawn sacks or spinners is also producing a few rainbows. 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!
Echo Lake- Bass are moving up on shoreline pre spawn, look for good numbers of fish in bays. Bass jigs and jerk baits have been good. There is a few nice white fish I’m in the main lake.
Lower Stillwater- some nice perch biting at the west end, try slip bobber and live leeches.
Swan Lake- Good pike on south end on smelt or dead bait.
Dickey Lake- Salmon starting to hit mid lake jigging pimples.
Rodgers Lake- Good grayling action on small black flies or spoons. A few nice cutts.
Flathead Lake (East Bay)- Lots of smaller perch 7-10” range, a few jumbos.
Loon Lake (Ferndale)- Nice rainbows on shoreline, try small spoons or nymph flies.
Koocanusa- Rainbow and bull trout action good. Troll Dave’s plugs in purple colors or large trolling flies on planer boards.
Blanchard Lake- Lots of small crappie, few nice bass.
Fennon/Church Slough- Good bass and crappie action in both sloughs.
- Flathead Lake – East Bay is still producing good numbers of perch between 8″-10″.
- Flathead River – Water levels are rising above 30,000 cfs and pushing lots of debris downriver. Not good for fishing at this time.
- McWenneger Slough – We have gotten a few reports of pike and perch being caught in the early morning.
- Church Slough – The crappie bite has been picking up with the occasional pike being caught as well.
- Echo Lake – Both smallmouth and largemouth bass being caught. Best to try slow moving jerkbaits or soft plastics.
- Lower Thompson – Handful of reports of a few salmon being caught of the launch in 30′ of water in the later evening hours along with lots of perch!
- McGregor Lake – Good rainbow fishing using crawdad imitations along with a few lakers being caught of the lodge.
- Smith Lake – Pike are being caught off the dock using dead baits or slow moving baits. Can get a bit congested though.
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 Saturday folks, we made it another week. Spring is in full swing here in Livingston, with flowers blooming and leaves on the trees. We’re seeing more green than brown around town and the arrival of spring is a great breath of fresh air after that very, very long winter.
Spring is also bringing runoff, as it always does. We’re all a bit jumpy after this past year’s floods but we’ve got a longggggg way to go before that’s an issue. We’ve had some very warm days this past week which has spurred a lot of the mud currently in our rivers. Will the cooler weather this weekend and into next week give us a little window on the Yellowstone?? Read on to find out!
This time of year keeps the report pretty easy on the Yellowstone River: muddy. Visibility has been measured in single digit inches and flows have been steadily increasing over the past week or so. However – flows dipped this morning and looking at the forecast, we just might get a window of opportunity to get back on the river before runoff really gets cooking.
While it’s too early to say if this is going to happen or not on this venue, keep an eye on our social media.
While some of the tributaries on the Madison River are pumping some dirty water into the river, there is still plenty of visibility and fishing is pretty darn good. The Upper Madison might see some hatches of BWOs, midges, and even March Browns over this coming week so if you’re after dry fly action this is the spot.
As the Madison gets muddier over the spring, it might be time to break out the worm box. San Juan worms, wire worms, and the like can be highly effective as the water rises. Be sure to pinch your barbs and use as small a hook as you can get away with. Fishing it behind a bigger point fly like a rubberlegs or dead drifted wooly bugger is a great idea.
The Lower Madison is on everyone’s minds because of one thing: Mother’s Day Caddis. While the Yellowstone’s hatch is probably out for the year, it’s game on here soon for the Lower. We are all waiting with bated breath for reports that the hatch is in full swing, stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, fishing is definitely picking up.
Fishing a caddis pupa behind a crayfish, or a double pupa rig through the buckets would be an awesome idea. Keep a few dries in the box just in case, and be sure to go armed with some BWOs and March Browns as well. The Lower is going to be pretty busy, especially on weekends. As a tailwater it stays a lot more clear than our local freestones and when they muddy up, it pushes traffic to the clear water.
Be patient with people, walk a bit further or get up a little earlier than everyone else, and you’ll have a good day.
The Gallatin River has basically the same report as the Yellowstone these days: rising water and dropping clarity. It looks like flows are on their way down today, and time will tell if we get a window of opportunity but for now? nope .
PARADISE VALLEY SPRING CREEKS
The spring creeks are still a fantastic option. They’re entering the busy season so book your dates as early as you can. For dry fly purists this is the spot for spring midges, BWOs, March Browns and Caddis. Bring light rods, long leaders and plenty of patience.
LIVINGSTON AND THE SHOP
You can tell tourist season is ramping up! Town is getting busier and we are thrilled to see you all here. If you have a trip coming up this summer, now is the time to be making plans and booking things. It’s going to be a busy summer.
We’ve got everything you need to explore and enjoy Montana’s fisheries in our store, located right on Park St in historic downtown Livingston. You can’t miss us! We’ve got new rods from Winston, Sage, Burkheimer, Echo, Orvis and more as well as flies for every hatch and situation. Need to stay warm, dry and comfortable? We’ve got you.
If you’re wanting to learn to cast a fly rod this year or need a little brush up on your skills, check out our beginner and intermediate casting classes! Call the shop or stop in for more details. If you’re out fishing this week, we’d love to hear about it.
Tight lines this week!
We have changed our hours for the summer. I try my best to keep them. We invested in a water chiller and built a cold room in hopes of having minnows available in summer. My full time job often interferes, especially in extreme heat. Appointments can be made at www.castlerockbait.com or call/text 406-740-2313. If a time is not available on the website, I got something going on. I can always set bait out with notice. I do my best to accommodate my customers and I thank those who have understood over the last few years. If I ever retire, I can be more full time. Many of my vendor agreements require posted hours and a storefront,
Some nice rainbows are being picked up while trolling orange crankbaits in the Causeway arm and out from Black Sandy. Shore anglers are finding most rainbows at the York Bridge boat ramp while using San Juan worms or egg patterns. Using Power Bait, night crawlers or spinners at the Causeway Bridge is also producing a few rainbows. Walleye are being picked up on Lake Helena while pulling perch-colored crankbaits, bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses, or various jigs. Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena
Water flows have dropped to 4,500 cfs. Fishing has been fair to good 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. The best fishing has been mid morning through early afternoon. There are some dry fly opportunities out there now that the flows are decreasing. Midges are hatching with some Baetis in the afternoon. Streamer fishing has improved with the lower water.