Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 2.15.24
By angelamontana

Posted: February 16, 2024

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Hell Creek General Recreation Information (February 15, 2024)

Click here:  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (February 15, 2024)

Winter is here but on the right day the Yellowstone can fish well, just 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, or egg. A larger Hares Ear Nymph has also been getting bit. If you see fish rising they’re most likely rising to midges. 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 (February 15, 2024)

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Yellowdog Fly Fishing (February 15, 2024)

Flow Data: Missouri River below Holter Dam near Wolf Creek, MT

The fishing can be great on the MO through the winter with the water near the dam usually fishing the best. This winter storm is hitting the Craig area and temperatures are not expected to get above freezing until next week. Once the weather clears fishing should be good once again. Scuds, sowbugs, and midges are the bug imitations to use throughout the winter. Tailwater Sowbugs, Pill Poppers, Manhattan Midges, and Amex are a few of our favorite winter Missouri Nymphs. A worm in wine or red will also trick MO fish this time of the year. Missouri fish hold primarily in the water that is moving at a walking pace and sometimes even slower when the water is this cold. Swinging can be a good option all winter long with small buggers or streamers. You may see some trout rising but the midge hatches are not usually great until late February. If you do encounter risers, a peacock cluster is the best way to fool these fish.

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (February 7, 2024)

🎣🎣Chancy and Dave’s Fishing Report🎣🎣
Crystal Lake- Good salmon bite early mornings in front of the boat launch, a few rainbows.
Ashley Lake- Salmon action is good, lots of small fish. A few nice perch. Ice is good
Lake Mary Ronan- 8-12” of good ice. Little slushy on top. Good perch bite 22-30’ of water. Salmon bite try shallow. A few rainbows.
Lower Stillwater- Lots of ice, good perch action, using small JT tackle ice bugs.
Mcgregor Lake- Nice rainbows 6-12’ of water. Try 80-100’ of water for lake trout. There is 5-7” of ice.
Lower Thompson- 8-12” of ice. Lots of eater size perch, few salmon and pike.
Loon Lake (Bigfork)- Good trout early morning, a few big perch.
Upper Thompson- Nice perch in middle lobe, a few big pike in upper lobe.
Bitterroot Lake- 6-8”of ice, be careful on south end with pressure ridges. Early morning good on north and south end good for nice salmon.
Lots of upcoming derbyies-
Free Lake Mary Ronan- this weekend
Thompson Chain of Lakes- February 17 and 18th
Mcgregor Lake- February 24 and 25th

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (January 26, 2024)

-No new report-

Carry Safety Gear and Always Check Your Ice

  • Church Slough – 4-6″ of ice with lots of slush. Some good pike on tip-ups. The pan fish bite has been better in the evenings.
  • Smith Lake – 10+” of ice. Good amounts of smaller pike. For the best results try Lindy Flyers or Buckshot spoons.
  • Rogers Lake – 10+” of ice. A few Greyling being caught in the morning hours using Ratso’s and blue Forage Minnows.
  • Lower Stillwater – 9″ of ice. Hearing mostly a few pike mixed in with good perch fishing. Try fishing in the 12′-15′ depth range.
  • Loon Lake (Ferndale) – 6″ of ice. Lots of rainbows biting in 20′-25′ of water. Try using JT Tackle Ice Bugs for some great bites.
  • Upper Thompson – 7″ of ice. Good eater perch being caught in about 10′ mixed in with some good pike fishing.
  • McGregor Lake – 5″-6″ of ice. Still seeing good Laker action in 80′-100′ of water, using hair jigs or spoons. The Zimmer Glo Grubs or Flathead Tackle glow heads have been good options.
  • Ashley Lake – 5″ of ice. Reports of decent salmon bite on the west shore using KB Tackle or JT Taildraggers.
  • Bitterroot Lake – Good salmon bite early in the morning. Get out where the depth is 100′-120′. Try using KB Tackle or JT tail draggers suspended at 40′-60′.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (February 12, 2024)

Kokanee and perch action has been hot while jigging Hali or Sweedish Pimple type ice jigs tipped with maggots or corn in 20-40 feet of water. Kokanee can be anywhere from 10 feet below the ice to the bottom and perch are right on the bottom. There is 12-15 inches of ice with slush on top.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Nelson Reservoir Ice Report via MT Fishing Addicts 2.0 (February 13, 2024)

J.O.: Avoid this area on Nelson reservoir, close to 2ft of ice on most of the lake, but unfortunately we found a gas pocket just big enough to swallow a ranger it’s about 6 feet wide and 10 feet long. There was a skim coat of ice with snow on top so no visible warning signs. People had tip ups, wheeler and sxs tracks all around it, a couple sets within feet of the pocket. Big man was definitely watching out for us

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (February 15, 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 (February 8, 2024)

Fresno is 22% full. Fish the basin area of the lake for best results. The dam portion is fishing the best. Try tip ups with salted minnows and/or jig. Nelson is 75% full. Walleye and perch fishing is good in the deeper basins. Northern fishing is good in the shallower areas. Tip ups with live minnows are working and use small jigs for perch. Both reservoirs have lots of ice and are now snow covered. Beware of conditions caused by warmer temps especially near the pressure ridges. Be safe and good fishing.

Canyon Ferry Fishing Report via FWP (February 12, 2024)

Rainbows and walleye are being caught out from the Silos in 20-25 feet of water while using silver spoons or yellow jigs with worms or maggots.  North of the Silos towards Hole in the Wall anglers are catching rainbows, walleyes, and perch in 35-40 feet of water on fire tiger or pink and orange jigs with maggots or worms.  Burbot are being caught on tip-ups at night or early morning in 35-40 feet of water.  There is 15-16 inches of ice from the Silos down to the ponds, 15 inches of ice around Duck Creek and Confederate and there is 5-7 inches of ice on the north end of the reservoir.  Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena

Bugs continue to fly at the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks, and although small, fish are still rising! Midges have been the staple the past few months, and will be even more so until we hit BWO’s in March/April. A great rig we have been using is a larger midge dry, with zebra midge or PT 6-12″ below, or a heavier rig with a leech and a scud.


– Sprout Midge Grey #20
– Thin Mint BWO #18
– Ray Charles Dead Tan #18
– Morgan’s Midge #20
– Balanced Leech Black #10

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (February 15, 2024)

Flow Data: Bighorn River near St. Xaiver, MT

Fishing the Bighorn will be tough with the cold weather this week but should improve when the storm passes on Sunday. Once the weather is bearable nymphing will be the best strategy to catch fish after the cold weather. Scuds, sowbugs, worms, and midges are Bighorn winter fare to imitate. Ray Charles, Pill Poppers, Tailwater sowbugs are great choices followed by a Manhattan midge or Zebra Midge. When none of these smaller flies seem to be working a Wire Worm or a Squirmy Worm will trick a few trout. Small streamers swung or fished deep and slow can pick up fish as well. In the event that you find fish rising to midges a Peacock Cluster or Griffith’s Gnat will fool a consistently rising fish with a good cast and presentation.

Holter Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (February 12, 2024)

Unsafe ice conditions have been reported. No fishing report.   Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Uppr Madison River Fishing Report by River’s Edge (February 15, 2024)

864 CFS @ Kirby – The Upper Madison has been fishing well as expected this time of year, and should only get better until runoff. The walk/wade section has been most productive, especially around $3 and Raynolds. Midge hatches are mildly consistent, with some good dry fly action on those calm, overcast days. For bobbers, a prince nymph and a midge.


– Zebra Midge Black #18
– Mr. Rubberlegs Prince Nymph
– Para Hi-Viz Emerger Grey #16
– Mini Boogieman Olive #6
– Glo Bug Light Roe #14

Missouri River Fishing Report via House of Fly (January 24, 2024)

Location: Missouri River

Flows: CFS/4500

Temperature: 33 Degrees below Holter Dam

Flows have been dropped and the daily high temps have moved up as much as 80 degrees from earlier lows. My vehicle registered 50 degrees by Prewit Creek on Sunday. Daily highs for the next week are projected to remain in the 40–50-degree range. The river is icy cold and still ice locked in the lower canyon, but very fishable from Holter Dam to the Mid Canon reach. These temps will keep chiseling away at the ice and lower reaches should be fishable soon. For now, it is best to focus up high and if you are wading, keep an eye upstream for floating ice. I enjoyed a fantastic session of swinging flies on Sunday in spring like temps and without wind. I had my chosen run all to myself and a couple eagles who wistfully watched me releasing healthy rainbows and one feisty brown.

Trout Spey: I found some success swinging with a Skagit head and an intermediate tip, but the fish were in slow enough water, that I was still dragging bottom in spots.  I switched to an integrated Scandi line with a 13’ leader and my swing was better, and the catch rate improved.  One of the keys to success with the Scandi set up is fishing a fly with enough weight to hover above the bottom. If you want the fly to get deeper, keep your rod lined up with the line on the water. If you need to elevate the fly, you can mend up our downstream to tension the leader and lift the fly. Often lifting the fly in a jigging motion will trigger a bite. Sometimes, the fish will also eat the fly when you release tension and allow the fly to drop. It is a fun process selling the fly and figuring out what it takes to trigger the bite. My favorite flies are balanced leeches and small minnow imitations like the Fly Project Bam Bam. If the fish get plucky and are hard to hook, you can try dropping a soft hackle or unweighted micro leech off the weighted fly. That will often seal the deal.

Dry: A fair number of midges out there and a few fish paying attention.

Nymph: Running longer leaders with split shot is the 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, Jig Thin Mint 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 down and move them slowly.

There is a rare opportunity for excellent winter fishing right now. If you need any help dialing in your set ups and approach, we are here to help you. Tight Lines!

Hauser Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (February 13, 2024)

A few perch, walleye and Burbot are being caught in Lake Helena, the Causeway arm and out from Black Sandy while using white, pink, or green jigs or cut bait near the bottom. A few rainbows are being caught below Canyon Ferry Dam in open water and out from Black Sandy while using nightcrawler and marshmallows or various jigs. There is 10-15 inches of ice at the Causeway, 12 inches of ice on Lake Helena, and 10 inches of ice out from Black Sandy.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena        

ok-a-beh report via Montana Fishing Addicts 2.0 (

J.V.: I know Barry’s landing was wide open the other day so the rest should be. It has to be bitter cold for some time to freeze there. I’m in Hardin and it hasn’t been very cold here.

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