Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 12.12.23
By angelamontana

Posted: December 13, 2023

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Hell Creek General Recreation Information (December 12, 2023)

Click here:  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (December 2, 2023)

Yellowstone fishing report

With this long fall, the fishing has been great on the Yellowstone. As it cools off and we move into more winter type patterns, slowing things down will help you increase success. Streamer fishing has been good, nymphing has been consistent, and on the right day fish will rise to dries. For streamers, we’ve been fishing Dragons, Dungeons, and Fresh Water Closures. Small sculpin patterns and buggers have also been working on indicator rigs or stripped. With the indicator rigs, trail that sculpin or bugger with your favorite little Baetis Nymph, Zebra Midge, worm, egg, or mop pattern. If you see fish rising they’re most likely rising to Psudeos, we like to keep small parachutes, sparkle duns, smoke jumpers, and film critics in rotation.

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry Fly

    Parachute Adams (12-18), Chubbies Pink, Olive, Tan (8-12), Morrish Hopper Pink, Purple, Tan, Brown (10-14), Thunder Grass Hopper Tan (10), Donkey Kong Hopper Tan (10-14), Fat Albert Pink (12-14)

  • Streamer

    Woolly Bugger (4-12), Mini Dungeon Black/ Natural/ White (6), Montana Intruder (4), Sparkle Minnow JJ’s, Silver (4-8), Double Gonga Black/Rainbow (4), Sculpzilla Black/ White/ Natural (4-8)

  • 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), Matt’s Shagadelic Mop Tan/ Brown/ Green/ Cheeto (10), Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)

Cooney State Park Information via FWP (December 12, 2023)

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Headhunters Fly Shop (December 7, 2023)

Missouri River Montana Projected Seasonal Flows & Fishing Report

Waters fluctuating as we move through the off season here on the  MO.

But, daily air temps crept over the 60F mark yesterday. And it was quite nice. Along with some SW wind. Lots actually.

Tons of anglers not he water yesterday with these quite seasonal uncommon conditions. Today, wind and cooler weather along with overcast skies.

Fishing Report? The Trout Spey rod the primary tool we saw out there yesterday. Lots of anglers swinging the 2 handed rod. And hook ups too!

You can pretty much stash the Scandinavian Lines til spring. Keep the Skagit line on your reel along with a Tip Wallet full of Skagit tips on your hip. Fished in a few water zones yesterday. Caught them near the surface with a Type 1 Tip. Just hovering within a couple feet of the surface. Yes, that worked. Also fishing a RIO Triple Density Tip the I/S3/S4. Also a 10′ IMOW 5×5 Light. And finally a 10′ T8 Tip. All of them garnered trout.

Were the trout hammering the fly? Nope. Soft takes and the fish was just on type of bite. But, lots of looks, several connected, and a several lost. You know, kinda just like fishing. Fish were on the strip, on the jig, on the swing, and on the dangle.

Spoke with Scumliner this week and his last swinging day(s) he found a similar plight of yesterday’s bite. Some runs the fish were active, others, not at all. Fish where you find them, move on when the fish do not seem amenable to your cause. Reluctant trout are out there. Water temps and flows are in flux. Keep that in mind.

So the upshot of this report is this: If the fish are there, fish them. IF you find nobody is home, keep moving.

The fish are holding in those deeper buckets as the water temps continue to fall. And I believe we will see this as we move into deeper winter. We think? Not much for precipitation in the long term forecast.

Water temps are 40F. Cooler as we move through this month.

Water flows are currently 4500cfs. In the parameters of normal flows for the fall and winter.

Shop today at your favorite Mo River Fly Shop. Call today get a package in the mail! Do it.

We Remember Pearl Harbor Day today. 

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (December 1, 2023)

⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️ SAFETY FIRST ⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️
❄️ Rodgers Lake- 3 to 4 inches of ice on certain areas of the lake. North end has a little better ice. Grayling and cutts biting small jigging spoons or pink or white small jigs with bait. ⚠️ Please be careful some areas of lake unsafe. ⚠️
❄️ Smith Lake- 2 to 3 inches of ice in areas, no reports of anglers on it yet. It’s still iffy.
➡️ Several small waters around the valley froze, but no reports.
➡️ other lakes to check- Lynch, Blanchard, Skyles, Dollar.
❄️ Flathead river- still good numbers of white fish, biting in upper section. Lower and near sportsman‘s bridge. Try for lake trout and white fish. Be sure to check the regulations.
❄️ McGregor Lake- rainbows and lake trout action is good trolling.

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (November 30, 2023)

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    • Flathead Lake – Lakers showing up shallow. We are hearing good numbers trolling Spinfish and Flatfish in around 35′-50′ of water.
    • Flathead River – Still some whitefish being caught. Both Old Steel and Columbia Falls have been a good bet to find some of those fish.
    • McWenneger Slough – Ice has capped over. No reports on thickness yet!
    • Smith Lake – 1.5″-2″ of ice. Be Safe! Scattered reports of a few perch being caught.
    • Rogers Lake – 3″-5″ of ice. Fishing for greyling has been good. There have been a few Cuts being caught in the morning too.
    • Dog Lake – 2″-4″ of ice. Good numbers of both perch and pike being reported.

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (November 27, 2023)

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

Fresno and Nelson Fishing Report by Brian Olson (December 7, 2023)

Fresno is 25% full and Nelson is 80% full, both are iced over. Some ice fishing is happening in the bays areas which have up to 4” of ice. There are still open spots on the main lake areas. I’ve heard of some northerns being caught. If you venture out on the ice be aware of the conditions. Good luck.

Happy December everyone. Things have been a bit quiet on the fishing report end for a bit, with a couple good reasons too. First, it’s late fall. We’re in that awkward phase before the really good winter fishing kicks off and after the bulk of the fall hatches have come and gone. Second, things have been BUSY around the shop. We had our annual Backcountry Film Festival (two nights this year!), the change of seasons and remerchandising of the store, and the busy Christmas season is right around the corner. Lots going on as we close out the year! 

The fishing of late has been characterized by two main things: it’s slow and it’s windy. Sure, you can still catch fish these days and have some really good days on the water, but you’ve got to work for it these days. Water temps are low, fish are sluggish, and there isn’t a lot hatching at the moment. Focus on the deeper, slower water and bring some weight. Keep adding it until you find fish or the bottom. 

The wind has been another key factor for anglers lately. It has been HOWLING. Sure, there are spots you can get out of it but if you aren’t after a couple mind clearing hours of being on the water the gale can make you rethink things. Be aware that you’ll be dealing with it on almost all of our local waters, and pack accordingly. 

This past week in the store Rob called this “low commitment season”. Meaning you can go out and hit the water with a low commitment, fish for a few hours or until you get tired of the wind, and come home without a worry in the world. During the summer it’s easy to talk yourself into the need to be out all day, or fish hard the entire time. Not so much this time of year. 

As far as reliable fishing goes, our go to options right now would be the spring creeks if you want to stick close to Livingston, the Missouri by Craig if you want to get the boat out, or the walk/wade section on the Upper Madison by Reynold’s Pass. If you can get a break in the wind you should be able to find midges around at all of those places, and likely not a lot of people. The spring creeks are all on their winter rates now, and a nice fire and warm lunch in a hut on Depuy’s is never a bad idea in the winter… 

If you do make it out, dress warmly and be careful out there. If you need the right gear to keep you warm, dry and comfortable stop in. We’ll make sure you get what you need. Or break out the vise and start working on the winter’s fly tying. There’s always lots to do! 

We know this time of year can be incredibly busy, hectic, and even stressful. If taking a couple hours to stand in a river helps with that, go for it. If you can’t make it out fishing with all the holiday activities and family in town, you’re not missing out on much. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is the slowest period of the literal entire year for fishing – but it will improve before long!

Stay tuned. 

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Bighorn Angler (December 6, 2023)

The Bighorn has finally cleared and fishing is great!  A few folks around, but not too bad.  Our Bighorn Brown Trout are in full spawn mode so please stay off the redds!

Nymphing with BIG Sowbugs, Squirmies and Orange Scuds are still about all you need.

We’ve seen some BIG fish showing up to chase the streamer.  The Rusty Trombone has been hard to beat most days and any similar Olive/copper flash buggers.  White has been a good choice as well.

Georgetown Lake Ice Fishing Report via H&R Tackle (December 10, 2023)

*ice report*
Georgetown Lake, MT
8″ good ice! Piney Campground and beyond.We didn’t go far out but dude had 4 wheeler and trailer farther out in the bay! Close to a dozen decent rainbows between the two of us!
We still have a few final preparations to make before we are good to go, but we are going to try to be parked at the dam next weekend 16th,17th and sat 23rd and sun 24th.
Please stop and check us out! Free coffee opening weekend!
First 10 base setup rentals get *FREE* pistol grip 20″ detachable rod/reel combo! Please message me for reservations or weekday rentals! We are super exited to get started! Hope to see you guys soon!

Upper Madison River Fishing Fishing Report via Bozeman Fly Supply (December 2, 2023)

The Upper Madison has been fish well lately with the cooler temps. Although streamer fishing has slowed down, the nymphing has been great. A prince nymph as a point fly to a small baetis pattern has been our rig of choice, but a woolly bugger or worm has been a good point fly as well. If you want to streamer fish, think low and slow, the Cousin It sculpin has been a good fly slow stripped or dead drifted. If the fish are being picky on the nymphs, just add more weight and drop your tippet sizes down to 5x and 6x. A good drift is the more important than fly choice on the Madison in the winter. There has also been some decent dry fly fishing on overcast days, watch for noses during the warmest parts of the day and before dark. Small Baetis, midges, and psudeos have been the ticket. Size 18-22 parachutes, cripples, and sparkle duns have been netting some fish!

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry Fly

    Parachute Adams (16-20), Purple Haze (18-20), Chubbies Pink, Tan, Royal (6-16), Morrish Hopper Pink, Tan, Purple, Brown (10-14), Water Walker Peanut, Royal, September Stone (6-12), G’s Ant Acid (14-16), Elk Hair Caddis Tan, Olive (12-14), X-Caddis Tan, Olive (16-18), Missing Link Caddis Dark, Olive (16-18)

  • Streamer

    Woolly Bugger Black/Olive (6-12), Mini Loop Sculpin Olive, Natural (6), Mini Dungeons Yellow/White/Black (6), Baby Dragon Sculpin/Black/Yellow/Whitey (4), Sparkle Minnow Smoke/Sculpin/Brown (2-8) Heisenberg Black/ Olive/ White (6), Kill Whitey Black/ Olive/ White (4)

  • Nymph

    Pats Rubberlegs Black/Coffee, Olive, Black, Orange (4-12), Rainbow Warrior (16-20), Copper John Red/ Copper(16-20), Pink/Natural Quilldigon (14-18), Lightning Bug (16-18), Lil Spanker (16-20), Machines (16-20), Juju Baetis (16-20), $3 Dips (14-18), Steel Worm (6-8), Matt’s Shagadelic Mop, Eggs

Missouri River Fishing Report via River’s Edge (December 11, 2023)

4160 CFS @ Holter – The Missouri has been fishing great, and with some sunny weather in the forecasts, could be a treat. Nymphing has been great below the dam, mainly on midges, scuds, and leeches. Fish are still rising, so for those with a dry fly itch, bring your midge boxes and a few small BWO patterns. Streamers swung or stripped work too!


– Roe Peach #14
– Miller’s +1 Light #18
– Tailwater Sowbug Rainbow #16
– Sprout Midge Black #18
– Skiddish Smolt #4

Hyalite Fishing Report via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (December 9, 2023)

A.P.: Their cruising shorelines should be able to catch some below any dam with cut bait

Canyon Ferry Fishing Report via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (December 6, 2023)

C.K.: They’re cruising shorelines should be able to catch some below any dam with cut bait
J.A.: Caught one in 4 feet of water Sunday
C.M.: Went down the other night and got one. Typically am getting somewhere in the 40-50 fish nights but not right now. Same time as I always do. Water is cold obviously and they are letting a little more water out than usual. Saw on burb swimming the shore line or I should say chilling. I touched him with my rod tip and he didn’t even move. The one I caught put up no fight. I assume next week they will be more active

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