Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 1.9.24
By angelamontana

Posted: January 10, 2024

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Hell Creek General Recreation Information (January 9, 2024)

Click here:  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (January 6, 2024)

With this slow start to the winter, fishing has been good on the Yellowstone. But watch for slush. A safe place to avoid slush is fishing around the various creek confluences on the river. 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, Hum Dingers, 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. A larger Hares Ear Nymph has also been getting bit. If you see fish rising they’re most likely rising to midges or psudeos. Griffiths Gnats, small Purple Haze, and Buzzball midges have all been successful when there is fish rising.

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry Fly

    Parachute Adams (16-20), Purple Haze (16-18), Griffiths Gnat (16-20), Buzz Ball (16-14)

  • 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 (January 9, 2024)

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Headhunters Fly Shop (January 4, 2024)

Water temps below 36F. That’s cold. Fish don’t wanna move too far in those temps.

Flows are below 5K. 4840cfs. Quite normal for the winter months.

Wade anglers around. Mostly above Craig.

Boat anglers around. Mostly above Mid-Canon.

Catch rates better than winter averages. Snow rate lower than average as well.

Lots of stippers and swingers. Maybe outnumbering the Indi-crew.

Goldeneye’s are here in numbers. Shuttle Jimmy and SOL speaking about it today. When they arrive, winter is finally on its own doorstep. Historically. White late this winter season for the arrival of said bird.

Fewer Marsh Hawks and Rough Legged Hawks so far as well.

Cooler temps as we move through the weekend. Snow threatened. A skiff maybe.

Will winter arrive? The winter of ’19 had some parallels to the current campaign. That year winter did not arrive until late January. February and March brought us much greater that normal snowfalls and frigid air temps. Average high temp for February 2019 was -6F. The average high temp! 18′ of ice on the river at Mountain Palace. Significant sub surface structure changes with the gravel migration due to the icebergs!

Every winter is normal here. So many varieties in the Rockies. This year is no different.

What will happen? Just like the question from fishing guests “How is fishing gonna be today? My answer is this “I only know what happened yesterday. We won’t know how it was today, until tomorrow.”

And so it goes…

16th Annual Poplar River Ice Fishing Contest (February 3, 2024)

Handkerchief Lake Fishing Report via Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp (January 7, 2024)

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (January 4, 2024)

🔹 Lower Thompson- 3 to 4 inches of ice, few nice perch, 15 to 20 feet of water, look for pike in bays.
🔹 Middle Thompson- Froze, 2 to 3 inches of ice. No reports.
🔹 Upper Thompson- 4 to 5 inches of ice, good numbers of decent perch, and a few pike.
🔹 Church Slough- 4 to 5 inches of ice. Catching pike, bass and crappie.
🔹 Lake Five- 3 to 5 inches of ice. Catching small salmon, and a few trout.
🔹 Van Lake – 4 to 5 inches of ice, some nice rainbows.
🔹 Beaver Lake- 4 inches of ice. A few salmon and rainbows.
🔹 Loon Lake (Bigfork)- 3 to 4 inches of ice. A few nice rainbows and perch.
🔹 Blanchard Lake- 4 to 5 inches of ice. Small crappie and perch, also a few pike.
🔹 Echo Lake- 4 inches of ice ⚠️ be careful in the middle of the lake ⚠️ A few bass and white fish.
🔹 Island Lake- 6 inches of ice. Lots of small perch, and a few pike.
🔹 Lower Stillwater- 8 inches of ice, good numbers of perch and pike. A few lake trout.

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (January 5, 2024)

  • Carry Safety Gear and Always Check Your Ice

    • Church Slough – 3″-5″ of ice. Be careful if planning to go out! Lots of small pan fish and some good pike on tip ups being reported.
    • Lone Lake – 4″-5″ of ice. A few good eater perch being caught using small tungsten’s and plastics.
    • Smith Lake – 6″-8″ of ice. The Perch bite has been slow, but lots of small pike using jigging spoons and waxies.
    • Rogers Lake – 6″-7″ of ice. Still a good Greyling bite using small black and purple jigs paired with maggots.
    • Dog Lake – 6″-7″ of ice. A few good pike being caught on tip ups with dead baits.
    • Lower Stillwater – 7″ of ice. Lots of pressure but still finding good perch around the islands in 20′ of water. Also hearing about the occasional pike being picked up off the bottom.
    • Loon Lake (Ferndale ) – 2″-4″ of ice. Still some thin spots towards the middle. Decent rainbow bite and few perch being caught around 25′-30′.
    • Upper Thompson – 5″ of ice. Good perch bite on small jigging spoons and waxies. Good pike bite as well.
    • Middle Thompson – Capped over no reports on thickness yet.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (January 8, 2024)

A few Kokanee are being picked up while jigging Hali or Sweedish Pimple type ice jigs tipped with maggots or corn in around 30 feet of water. A few perch are being caught while using the same equipment near the bottom in 8 to 10 feet of water. There is between 7 and 9 inches of ice. There is a pressure ridge which separates the reservoir into two areas.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Manuel Lisa Ice Report via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (January 6, 2024)

M.L.: Manuel Lisa ice free (CLICK HERE)

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (January 2, 2024)

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 (January 4, 2024)

Fresno is 24% full. The main lake has about 4” of ice and should be building with the cold front. Geese and ducks are keeping some water open so beware. Tip up fish and jig on points from 15’ to 25’ for best results. The annual ice fishing tournament is to be held on Jan. 28. For info call the Fresno Tavern. Nelson is 79% full. My reports tell me there is 7” of ice on the main lake. Beware of gas pockets. Northerns are being taken in the bays. Walleye and perch are being taken in about 25’ of water. Nelson annual ice fishing tournament is Jan. 28. For info contact the Sleeping Buffalo or Malta Chamber. On both reservoirs use the maps and fish near the structure. Do not depend on ice reports, test it for yourself. Be safe and good luck.

Canyon Ferry Fishing Report via FWP (January 8, 2024)

Rainbows and a few walleyes are being caught between the Silos and Pond 4 in 10-15 feet of water.  Jigs or ice flies seem to be working best in red, pink or orange colors with mealworms or maggots used for bait.  The walleye are being caught on the bottom while the rainbows are suspended.  There is 5-6 inches of ice from the Silos down to the ponds and around Duck Creek.  The ice sheet ends around White Earth, so mid to north end of the reservoir are still open water.  Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena

1030 CFS @ Corwin – The Yellowstone has been tough recently due to ice buildup and the unspoken “W.” Nymphing can be ok-good in the deeper runs with stoneflies, worms, or jig streamers dead-drifted. Surface activity has been pretty slow, but midges are starting to show more and more. Streamer fishing has been ok with smaller sculpin patterns.


– Epoxyback Stone Brown #10
– Mini D&D Grizzly #4
– Jim Dandy Worm Brown #10
– Shop Vac #16
– Chicago Overcoat Sculpin #6

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (January 9, 2024)

Flow Data: Bighorn River near St. Xaiver, MT

The Bighorn has improved significantly the past week. Nymphing will remain the most effective method to catch fish after the weather improves with caddis pupa, midges, scuds and sowbugs under an indicator. And worms. San Juan worm season is back on the Bighorn. The best nymphs have been Pheasant Tails, Jigged Hares Ears, Pill Poppers, and tungsten bead Tailwater Sowbugs. Not many fish have been spotted rising. If you do find a consistent riser make sure that you make the first cast count. A Peacock Cluster of Griffith’s Gnat or Small Purple Haze will be great options. Streamer fishing can produce good fish but requires covering a lot of water and fishing hard. Sparkle Yummy’s, Black Peanut Envy’s, and Articulated Thin Mints are some of our favorite streamers to fish.

Wadworth Park – Ice Report via Montana Fishing Addicts 2.0 (January 9, 2024)

R.M.: 2-5″ on Wadworth. LOOK OUT FOR THE SPRINGS AND GAS POCKETS. Ice was breaking in some areas and not safe. Safe ice in some spots. Bring a spud bar

Holter Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (January 8, 2024)

There is no safe ice. Fly fishing from shore at the Gates of the Mountains is producing some big rainbows while using pheasant Tail and Prince Nymphs.   Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Madison River Fishing Report by River’s Edge (January 6, 2024)

864 CFS @ Kirby – The Upper Madison has been fishing great, but weather might make the upcoming week a bit tough. Streamer fishing has been good with white/olive/yellow patterns slowly stripped or underneath a bobber. Nymphing has been splendid in the wade section using a small rubberlegs/worm trailed by a midge/BWO. Get out there this weekend!


– Jig Wonky Worm Red #10
– 20 Incher #10
– Copper John Black #18
– Mini Ice Pick Tan/Pearl #6
– Hi-Viz Griffith’s #18

Missouri River Fishing Report via House of Fly (January 4, 2024)

Location: Missouri River

Flows: CFS/4500

Temperature: 35 Degrees below Holter Dam

Annual Slay Day: We had a crew out fishing on January 1st. Fish were caught on a variety of nymphs including the Tailwater Charlie, Mo Zebra, UV Tungsten Sow, Bubble Yum, Pill Popper and some egg patterns. All winter-time standby flies. A fair number of midges were present. Hopefully we will see enough to bring up some heads later this winter.

Quite a few anglers have been fishing in the past month. Most are wading, but a few are still floating. Currently, all the boat landings are snow and ice free.

Trout Spey: Now is prime time for swinging. Buggers like the Thin Mint are always on the menu along with Balanced Leeches in dark colors. The Foxxy Clouser, Flare-A-Bou, Trout Spey Bugger, Trout Spey Intruder, Montana Intruder, Mini Montana Intruder, Bald Eagle, Pocket Rocket and many more will find connections. As fish tank up, Scandi set ups with leechy tung head flies will work for fishing the soft inside zones. Swing Skagit tips for streamers over the buckets, deeper runs and shelves. T-8 tips in 5/5 and 10’ or the OPST tips in the Riffle (S2/3), Run (S4 or S6) and Bucket (S9) Series will cover all bases.

Dry: A few midges out there. Not much dry fly action to speak of.

Nymph: Running longer leaders with split shot is the winter norm. Sow Bugs are the primary standby imitation throughout the winter months. Some are fishing their sow behind a worm. Others drop a Zebra Midge off their sow bug. Running a double sow bug rig with beaded and non-beaded versions is also popular. If you want to get technical, anglers find success short leashing midges (flies 2-3′ under Palsa Tab indicators) in the slow edges, channels and back waters.

Streamers: Smaller weighted streamers like Flash N’Grabs, Flare-A-Bou, Chicago Overcoat, and the She Demon Bugger will provide action. Cold water slows things down. Whether you choose a floating line or a sink tip, get them deep and move them slowly.

Willow Creek Arm via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (January 7, 2024)

R.M.: Willow Creek Arm is finally iced over. We didn’t venture too far away from boat ramp and Campground but we found a pretty good consistent 7″ with 5-6″ in some spots and 8″ in some within 200 yards of shore. With it being Tiber, watch for those methane pockets. Don’t need anyone going in this year. We had tons of flags out with every bait you could think of for 8 hours and had a single flag on a small sucker

Hauser Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (January 8, 2024)

 A few rainbows, walleye, perch and burbot are being caught in Lake Helena and from the Causeway to the powerlines while using various jigs or ice flies tipped with crawlers or maggots and while using cut bait. There is up to 6-7 inches of ice on Lake Helena and in the Causeway Arm. Watch out for spring holes and pressure ridges on Lake Helena. There is NO ICE at Black Sandy, Devil’s Elbow, York Bridge, and Riverside. Those boat ramps are still open.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena    

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