Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 3.20.24
By angelamontana

Posted: March 20, 2024

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Hell Creek General Recreation Information (March 20, 2024)

Click here:  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Castle Rock Ice Update via Castle Rock Live Bait Shop (March 17, 2024)

Shared by Shane Amber Rasmussen: There can be some nice ones out at Castle Rock.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (March 20, 2024)

As we move into March, the fishing over on the Yellowstone will start to pick up! Just check the wind forecast before venturing out to the river. 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 (March 20, 2024)

Tongue River Reservoir Lake Update by Tongue River Reservoir State Park (March 20, 2024)

On Sunday, the lake was 80-90 percent ice covered. With the strong warm winds Monday and Tuesday, all the ice disappeared. Both ramps are open for boating🚤now. There may be some ice at the far south end still. There is a chance of snow showers this weekend at the reservoir. Water temperature at the ramp is 45 degrees. Marina is closed until April 5th. Be safe!

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Yellowdog Fly Fishing (March 20, 2024)

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

The weather in Craig is looking really nice this week with high temperatures around 60 degrees this weekend. Fishing has been good and will only get better with the spring like temps and warming water. Midges have been out and trout have been eating them on the surface. A Peacock Cluster or Griffiths Gnat will usually trick the rising trout. Nymphing has been good and should get better with the warmer weather. Scuds, sowbugs, and midges are the aquatic 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.

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (March 16, 2024)

🎣🎣 Chancy and Dave’s Fishing Report 🎣🎣
🔹 Ashley Lake- Good ice still 10-11”, lots of salmon 7-11” size, few nice perch.
🔹 Bitterroot Lake- Nice salmon still biting, some fish up to 20”. Ice is still good 8-10”.
🔹 Lower Stillwater- Lots of ice, good perch 8-12” range, some pike.
🔹 Rodgers Lake- good ice 12 to 14″ early morning or late evening for Grayling, few nice cutts.
🔹 Crystal Lake – salmon out from boat launch, good ice.
🔹 Lake, Mary Ronan – 12 to 14″ of good ice, lots of perch up to 1 pound fillet size 8 to 12″ also.
🔹 Smith Lake- good ice some nice perch up to 14″, lots of small pike.
🔹 Little McGregor Lake -rainbows 12 to 14″, few brookies lots of small perch.
🔹 Upper Thompson Lake- nice perch, 10 to 12″, few rainbow and pike.
🔹 Koocanusa– Rexford open, fishing good trolling PlugIt tackle, temp still cold, 34 to 36°, try near dam area also for rainbows.
🔹 Lake – Delta still good, Deb Fishing, 5 to 50 feet of water.

Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (March 8, 2024)

Warming weather has ice conditions changing daily, check as you go!

  • Lake Mary Ronan – 14″ of ice. Perch fishing has been good. You will need to get deep, around 30′ down.
  • Smith Lake – 12″ of ice. Reports of good pike action. Lots of fish between 18″-24″. Best luck with jigging spoons and dead bait.
  • Rogers Lake – 10+” of ice. However, the bite is extremely slow.
  • Blanchard Lake – 12″ of ice. Hearing about a few pike being caught using tip ups. Also, some reports of crappie using small tungsten jigs or Gitzits.
  • Loon Lake (Ferndale) – 6″ of ice. A really good rainbow bite this last week. Also a few perch being caught as well in 20′ of water.
  • Lower Thompson – 8″ of ice. Slow salmon bite, but a good pike bite in deeper water. Try using tip-ups for the best chance.
  • McGregor Lake – 8″ of ice. Still a few lakers being caught in morning around 60′-80′ down. Try setting a JawJacker using small tungsten jig for those lakers.
  • Ashley Lake – 7″ of ice. There has been a really good salmon bite around 50′ down. Mostly using Hali Jigs off the West shore.
  • Bitterroot Lake – 8″ of ice. People have been finding some salmon on the South end in deep water. Use a heavy glow weight and hooks with maggots or corn to get down to depth.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (March 18, 2024)

A few kokanee are being caught while jigging Hali or Sweedish Pimple type ice jigs tipped with maggots or corn in 20-35 feet of water. Not many anglers heading out onto the ice anymore. There is around 5-6 inches of ice left and it’s going away fast.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Georgetown Lake Ice and Fishing Update (March 13, 2024)

D.S.: Fished comers today 18-20” with 12”snow cover the slush has firmed up able to walk on snow without falling through! It helps when it was -13 today! Bite was steady all day!

A.M.: Ice is good bout 18 inches …fish are being really picky small jigs with single maggot was working pretty good

Blackfoot River Fishing Update (March 16, 2024)

B.G.: fished the blackfoot for 4 hours and didn’t net a single fish while my buddy caught probably 8😣😣😣 one of them days! lol it’s just nice to get out tho and enjoy that beautiful scenery

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (March 18, 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 (March 14, 2024)

Fresno is 26% full. Inflow 193 cfs and outflow 93 cfs. Nelson is 78% full inflow 133 cfs and 0 outflow. I have no current fishing reports as ice conditions are deteriorating. Both reservoirs are ice covered but the shorelines are melting. Be safe if you venture ice fishing.

Canyon Ferry Fishing Report via FWP (March 18, 2024)

Rainbows are being caught around the Silos near shore in 8-10 feet of water while using white or pink glow hooks or jigs tipped with worms, maggots, or shrimp.  Duck Creek is producing rainbows and perch in 35-45 feet of water.  Stay away from the pressure ridges on the south end of the reservoir and be careful when accessing the ice as it is getting soft and pulling away from the edges.  There is 10-12 inches of ice around the Silos, Duck Creek and Confederate. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena

The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks have really picked up in the past week or two, with lots of fresh eyes moving in from the Yellowstone, and some more diverse bug life! Midges are still the main course, but we’ve also been seeing some small BWO’s in early afternoons. Try nymphing a small leech with a midge/scud if surface action is slow.


– Balanced Leech Bruised #10
– Firebead Ray Charles Pink #16
– Barr’s Emerger BWO #18
– Sprout Midge Grey #20
– Morgan’s Midge #20

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (March 20, 2024)

Flow Data: Bighorn River near St. Xaiver, MT

The Bighorn is fishing well with great flows, water temps, and clarity. There have been a few BWO’s and midges hatching and the occasional fish slurping them down on the surface. Flies to use to trick these risers include but are not limited to the Quill Gordon BWO and BWO CDC Biot Comparadun. 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. Nymphing has been the best strategy to catch fish so far this winter. 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.

Holter Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (March 18, 2024)

Rainbows are being caught in open water at the Gates of the Mountains area from shore and by boat while using night crawlers, spawn sacks, power bait, marabou jigs and leech pattern flies. The Lower end of the Reservoir has unsafe ice that is receding from the shorelines and not many anglers have been heading out onto the ice.   Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Salmon Lake Ice Report (March 13, 2024)

S.B.: Over 24″

Upper Madison River Fishing Report by River’s Edge (March 15, 2024)

842 CFS @ Kirby – The Upper Madison has been decent, but with how the forecasts are looking, could be spectacular this weekend. Water temps have crept into the low 40’s, which means we could see some Skwala action. A great rig is a skwala dry, with a BWO nymph or hares ear 6-18″ below. If nothings going on, a bobber rig with a stonefly and a worm.


– Mini Loop Sculpin Natural #6
– Hi-Viz Griffith’s #18
– Hi-Viz Micro Chubby Peacock #16
– Hares Ear Jig Pink #16
– TJ Hooker Black/Brown #8

Headhunters Fly Shop Missouri River Fishing Forecast (March 6, 2024)

Open daily here in downtown Craig Montana. Always.

Headed into the month of March and we are damn excited. More fishing as we move toward the summer. The sun is out longer, the air temps are reaching higher, the fish are happier.

Spring brings new products into the store and the most celebrated so far this spring has been the Orvis Helios fly rod. Yes, we too have them in stock. Come and check it out and cast the latest version of this top performing model. In stock today!

Check out our super cool sticker selection crafted in house and otherwise. New bobbers in store. Soft goods including the best in Skwala Waders, Raingerear, and Outerwear. Super warm and comfy Orvis Bootfoot waders!

And as always lots of new fly patterns at your Missouri River Fly Superstore! The best in selection as we stuff the bins full of your fav’s for the upcoming season. All the coolest new Euro patterns, expanded streamer and trout spey flies, and the best in technical dry flies on the banks of the Montana’s Missouri River.

Water temps around 35F. Water flows 3730cfs. Approx. 70% of YTD snowfall.

Swingers and strippers are getting them on leeches. Flashy bigger flies as well. Sink tips and Skagit Tips are the key to getting to the depths and locations that the winter trout are located.

Rule #1: If the trout does not see the fly, he does not eat the fly. The fish has gotta see the fly!

Many disregard this essential rule in fishing. Often.

Don’t forget about the deal, where the target must see the food source. It is cold, fish do not live on the rip rap banks in the winter. They do not live anywhere near the good looking water. Not even close to that spot you caught the biggest hopper eater of ’23. It is winter. The water is cold. The fish are not terribly active. It is not summer and do not apply warm weather techniques during the winter session if you want to catch trout regularly.

Decent midge fishing this February and March. Better than average. Clusters, small singles, droppers. Can be frustrating attempting to tangle with these non-conformist type of rising and feeding trout. Generally seems to be not one repeatable action from any of these winter midging trout. Come on by and we will get you square for the day ahead.

Nymphers are dunking the Zebra midge on all flavors, tiny Euro midge patterns, Amex, Rainbow Czech, Bubble Yum, Firebead Ray Charles, Tailwater Sow. Nymphers still concentrating on slower deer darker buckets. Or you can fish the faster stuff for fun and may pick one up. Not the water where you want to focus on the catching part. Deeper, slower, darker. Repeat.

Many like to fish the faster waters of winter. Many like to play the Lotto. About the same kind of thinking gets you to fishing in quicker paced waters. Sure, fish away. Spend lots of money on the Lotto. Get after it. Row up the quicker water and do it again. Buy more Lotto tix. Or, fish the waters that more fish live and recreate in. Slower, deeper, darker. But, do what you wanna do man. Simply parameters for catching more fish presented here.

Happy here in Craig. See you soon. Open daily. Lots of fly lines in stock and ready to mate with your fly reel(s). Come in and see the new Helios.

Your Trout Spey Fly Shop in Craig Montana.

Hauser Reservoir Fishing Report via FWP (March 18, 2024)

Rainbows are being caught in open water at the Causeway, York Bridge and Riverside while using leech pattern flies, spawn sacks, power bait and marabou jigs. A few Ice anglers are still fishing on Lake Helena and out from Black Sandy, but the ice is going away fast.  Chris Hurley, FWP, Helena

Flathead Lake Boat Launch Update (March 17, 2024)

T.J.: 2-3ft of water off Somers dock today. West shore your best bet for big boat.

Newlan Ice Report (March 18, 2024)

L.S.: Good ice as of yesterday, driving on it no problem.; 16 inches as of Sunday

Lake Frances by Valier Ice Update (March 17, 2024)

R.S.: 16 inches of ice starting to honeycomb edges are melted was on it with 4 wheeler Thursday fishing was slow.

(Click here for image licensing information)
New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing