Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 5.25.23
By angelamontana

Posted: May 25, 2023

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.

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Canyon Ferry Fishing Report via MTFWP (May 22, 2023)

Rainbow action has slowed down as they are heading away from shore.  A few are still being caught from shore on the north end of the reservoir at Shannon while using worms or powerbait.  Boat anglers are finding walleye but not much for rainbows.  The walleye are being caught around Goose Bay and on the south end of the reservoir out in the middle in 15 to 20 feet of water.  Trolling bottom bouncers with green or chartreuse spinner blades, jigs or crankbaits all seem to be producing walleyes.  Carp are in full spawn mode and provide great action for bow-fishing or traditional methods.  Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena

Friends of Hell Creek Update (May 22, 2023)

J.G.: Walleye fishing is getting better every day, a lot of nice fishing caught. Slow presentation with a jig and a minnow is working best .02 to .03 mph seems to be the ideal speed. The walleye’s are not real aggressive on the bite so you need to have a sensitive touch. Best walley so far this week was 14lbs plus.
Several northerns in the low 40″ range.
Also picking up a fair amount of bass.
Water temps are all over the place but high 50’s to 65 degrees seems to be the consensus.

Hell Creek General Recreation Information ( May 25, 2023)

Click here:  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (May 22, 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

  • Dry Fly

    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)

  • Streamer

    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)

  • Nymph

    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 and Nelson Fishing Report via Brian Olson (May 18, 2023)

Fresno is full of water and surface temp mainly in the sixties. The water is stained. Walleye fishing is good in 5’-15’ of water using crank baits and jigging. Nelson is 85% full of water and riding. Surface temp is mainly in the sixties. The water is clear. Walleye fishing is good in 6’-12’ of water. Most presentations are working but jigs with live minnows seem to be the best after fish are located. Both reservoirs have shown that specific colors seem to be most effective, so don’t be afraid to try multiple colors until you find what they like. Use your electronics to find fish or troll until you get bit. Good fishing.

Cooney State Park Information via FWP (May 25, 2023)

Holter Fishing Report via MTFWP (May 22, 2023)

Rainbow fishing has been consistently good from shore and boat at the Gates of the Mountains while using egg patterns, black and red leech patterns, Power Bait, night crawlers, spawn sacks or various spinners. A few perch are being caught from the Log Gulch docks while pitching small green jigs tipped with crawlers. Boat anglers are finding good numbers of rainbows on the lower end of the reservoir while trolling orange or yellow crankbaits, Thomas lures, Crocodiles or cowbells and wedding rings with lead core line. A few walleye are starting to be picked up in the Canyon while vertical jigging with various hair jigs or Mister Twisters tipped with leeches.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Headhunters Fly Shop (May 19, 2023)

Weekend Fly Fishing Report Montana’s Missouri River

Writing this report not he porch here at Headhunters of Craig and the smoked smells of Izaaks Restaurant wafting though the fishing ‘burb of Craig are making me hungry. Check out the menu of BBQ and steakhouse classics and take a hard look at the fresh sheet with Chef John’s culinary brain at work on the daily special menu. Have Scotty pour up a House Margarita chased with best in local Montana brews on tap and in the bottle.

Water levels higher than last week, but about the same as the two previous to that. 7500cfs at press time with the tribs relatively clean and spilling little to hardly noticeable changes in color at their confluences. Dearborn at 842 and softly falling. Little Prickly Pear at 263cfs falling 100cfs this week.

Anglers stacked on the upper river. Les as you head downhill. Saturday and Sunday Amy be challenging out there with unknown water changes coupled with maybe the first weekend of non angling rec floaters. Nevertheless it will be quite busy out there.

Mostly nymphers as we continue with displacement traffic as the remainder of the state is not terribly fishable. Save for the many spring creeks and upper ends of historically cleaner flowing resources we are the relief valve for the entire state. Some strippers out there with the occasional swinger mixed in for good measure.

Beyond 6K Mo River flows can make difficult on the wade fish gang. Currently above that thresh-hold. BE careful stepping into the waters here this spring. Not uncommon these flows, but for some new, and some old, anglers here Be Safe is the theme.

Boat anglers new to the river can be fooled by the power of this visually docile river. Life jackets within reach is a great idea. Not a and idea to don them if you encourage safety. Not nasty out there at these flows, but Being Safe is the primary goal of every day. Coming back to the dock is good.

The dry fly anglers finding them when the sun is locked from the water. Clouds are good.

Busy out there. Be Cool man.

Open daily 7am.

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (May 23, 2023)

♦️ Rodgers Lake- Excellent grayling fishing, try small spinners or wet flies near south east shoreline. Few nice cutthroat biting also.
♦️ McGregor- Rainbows hitting trolling shore lines with flicker Shad’s and small flatfish. Small mouth bass also hitting well on tube jigs.
♦️ Bitterroot Lake- Good salmon bite jigging south end 50’ of water. Also try trolling late evening for big rainbows with plugs or flies.
♦️ Lower Stillwater- Excellent perch and pike hitting.
♦️ Thompson River- Trout action has been with flies. Try royal wulff or purple haze. Small spoons or spinners work well.
♦️ Middle Thompson- Very good bite on pike. Try large spoons and plugs. Also few nice salmon on west end.
♦️ Lake Mary Ronan- Good salmon bit jigging near Camp Tuffit, also perch hitting.
🔹 ♦️ Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend 🔹♦️

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (May 18, 2023)

  • Flathead Lake – Lakers still being caught in Hatchery Bay down to Caroline Point. Water levels are coming up. Most of the boat launches should be accessible.
  • Flathead River – Water levels are still running between 25,000 and 30,000 cfs. The river is dirty, fast, and high. Not very fishable currently.
  • Blanchard Lake – Lots of crappie with a few reports of bass and pike being caught mixed in.
  • Church Slough – Pan fish bite remains consistent. Also hearing the pike starting to get more active and feeding on dead bait.
  • Echo Lake – Bass are starting to move. Good numbers of smallmouth being caught on craw imitation soft plastics.
  • Lower Thompson – Largemouth bass being caught near the shorelines in the early morning along with good numbers of pike. Try around downed trees or other structures for those bites.
  • McGregor Lake – Rainbow fishing remains pretty good. Try fishing 5′ – 15′ deep with crawfish imitations. A few lakers being caught between 80-100′ down using white tubes or hair jigs.
  • Smith Lake – Pike are feeding on dead bait or spinners. Good chances and a great place for success.
  • Ashley Lake – Salmon bite seems a little slow but finding decent numbers off the west shore. Try using small glow hooks. You can also use Hali jigs tipped with corn or maggots.

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (May 2, 2023)

-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.

We look forward to hearing from you.  406-295-4872

Happy Saturday everyone! This late May is feeling a lot more like summer than last. We’ve got a slew of 80-degree days in the forecast and the high country is melting out. We find ourselves squarely in the midst of runoff at this point, with the “will we get a window?” attitude of the last few weeks long gone.

Taking a look at the Snotel map might cause some alarm, but don’t get too worried yet. There is still snow in the mountains, it’s just coming out a little faster than usual. This does mean that our runoff might end a bit earlier than normal, but it’s really too early to say that for certain.

One more note before we move on to the good stuff – the smoke in the air over the past week is from Alberta. As of right now we don’t have any major fires here in Montana and the smoke is forecasted to largely blow out over the next few days.

On to the fishing!


Up, up and away! Watch the USGS gauge here. About all you can do at this point besides take a stroll in Sacajawea Park and enjoy the view.


The Upper Madison River has continued to fish well these days, but you can expect some reduced clarity as things keep heating up. Below Quake to the West Fork should be about the cleanest water in the system, and will provide good dry fly action through the walk wade section on a few Baetis left and caddis. If you’re after fish looking up, afternoons and evenings are going to be your best bet. Soak up the long days!

The rest of the river down to Ennis Lake has been fishing well, and as waters rise focusing on things like big stoneflies, worm patterns, and streamers will produce fish.

The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the Lower Madison River is still going strong, with solid dry fly action taking place most days. If you aren’t seeing fish rising fish a caddis pupa under a bobber or swing an emerger/pupa double rig and see what happens. Swung emergers can be deadly in the early stages of a hatch.

The Lower Madison is also the closest clean water out of Bozeman and as such it gets busy. Especially on weekends. Bring your patience, be kind to all, and enjoy the river.


About the only clear water on the river is above Taylor’s Fork to the park boundary and even that is running pretty high right now. Most of the river is muddy, and the lower you go the muddier it gets. Our suggestion? Wait it out.


The spring creeks are a bastion of clear water and picky fish in the midst of the mud these days. Calendars are filling quickly, so if you want to fish them from now until late summer book it now. You’ll still find Baetis around as well as caddis in the afternoons, but PMDs are on the faint horizon…


We are one week away from Yellowstone National Park’s fishing season opener! Fishing in the park is open the last Saturday in May (May 27 this year) til October 31. Remember you do need a separate park fishing permit, which you can buy online here.

Lots more to come as we get closer to the opener! Stay tuned.


Livingston is buzzing these days. We’re expecting a busy summer with the North Entrance to Yellowstone back open and lots of people already in town. There are tons of events going on now through the summer, and lots of great places to eat, drink, and be merry in our lovely town.

If you’re interested in a trip to Livingston or Montana in general this year, we would urge you to book lodging and transportation as early as you can. Things book quickly these days! Have questions about guided fly fishing trips or anything outdoor related, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

While our rivers are rising and we find ourselves in runoff, many of us are shifting toward hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Be sure to check out our weekly(ish) Trail Reports for the latest on what’s happening around Livingston.

Our shop is full of everything you need to get out and enjoy Montana, with the service and knowledge to make the most of it. Fly rods, flies, terminal tackle, apparel, bikes, hiking gear – you name it. We hope to see you in the store sometime soon. Stop by and tell us a fishing story!

Tight lines this week.

Castle Rock Reservoir via Castle Rock Live Bait Shop (May 22, 2023)

I heard trolling around with a crawler harness was good for Walleye today.

Hauser Fishing Report via MTFWP (May 22, 2023)

Shore anglers are catching rainbows at Riverside and the Causeway while using Power Bait, night crawlers and marshmallows or spinners. Boat anglers are finding most rainbows while trolling cowbells with a wedding ring or orange crankbaits between Black Sandy and the Powerlines. The walleye bite on Lake Helena has been good, and most are being picked up while trolling perch-colored crankbaits and bottom bouncers with various colored walleye spinners or floating jigs tipped with crawlers.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Bighorn Trout Shop (May 25, 2023)

Water flows are at 3,100 cfs. Fishing has been slow overall. Don’t expect to catch large numbers of fish, although the size of the fish is impressive. The best action occurs from late morning through early afternoon, and if you get in the right hole, you can do well. Baetis nymphs and midge pupa patterns are the most productive, but scuds and sowbugs are working as well. There are a few dry fly opportunities (2:00 to 5:00 PM) but the fish can be selective. A double-fly rig with a larger Baetis Sparkle Dun up with a Student or some other emerger pattern below has been working. Streamer fishing has been slow but should pick up as water temperatures slowly rise.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report via Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing (May 25, 2023)

This Yellowstone River fishing report is valid from May 8 through approximately June 25, when we expect spring runoff to begin fading.

Blown out due to an early surge of spring snowmelt. It may drop into some sort of ship midweek, but it’ll only remain there for a couple days. Fish stonefly nymphs, big San Juan Worms, and maybe dark streamers fished primarily on a dead-drift in good lanes.

Once the river blows back out again, there might be brief clear windows through mid-June, but only during cold spells of several days (preferably without rain). Most of the time, the river will be shot due to the melt. We expect spring runoff to end a bit earlier than we did a few weeks ago, since it started early. Look for the Yellowstone to begin dropping into shape around June 25 to July 1.

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