Montana fishing report: Madison River action sizzles
The entire Madison River is fishing well this week and salmonflies and golden stones are hatching in Beartrap Canyon, according to Montana Troutfitters.
Fishing also remains good on the Bighorn River, with decreased flows creating more chances for dry-fly fishing.
The American Bass Anglers’ Yellowtail Ok-A-Beh Invitational is Saturday and Sunday. For information, call Benny Wiles at 406-629-0822.
Ackley Lake: It is fishing well from boat or shore. Bait and hardware are producing. Fly fishermen are doing well in the evenings. — Don’s, Lewistown.
Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh: There were some walleye hitting about 8-feet down along canyon walls close to the marina using cut bait. Bass are hitting worms about 10-feet down, both in Box Canyon and at Mile Marker 2. Scuba divers said there are tons of ling 40-feet down along canyon walls from the marina to Box Canyon. A couple guys hooked trout trailing two worms. — Ok-A-Beh Marina.
Bighorn Lake, Wyo.: Anglers are still picking up a few cats though fishing has slowed down a little bit from previous weeks. Look for most fish to hit on sucker meat or stink bait. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Bighorn River: Last Friday, flows were dropped to 4,984 cfs and they should remain stable at that level for the forseeable future. Water clarity is good downstream to Mallards Landing. With the decreased flows there is a much greater opportunity for dry-fly fishing, mostly during the evening hours. We are seeing consistent baetis and midge hatches. Fishing remains good. Fly patterns remain the same as last week. Wonder nymphs and black baetis (sizes 18-20) trailed behind pink or tan firebead sowbugs (14-16) have been the biggest producers. Also try smokejumpers in red, olive and black (18-20) trailed behind an Adams parachute (14-18). As usual, also have some black, cream or red midge pupae (18-20) on hand. — Bighorn Fly and Tackle Shop, Fort Smith.
Boulder River: It continues to drop. It is still high, fast and tough to fish although the water clarity has improved. The upper reaches of this river can be fished. Use larger nymphs like girdle bugs, rubber-legs, and bitch creeks. Smaller nymphs could also be effective in the water slow enough to get a decent drift in. Those patterns include hare’s ear, pheasant tails, caddis pupa as well as varied prince nymphs. Streamer fishing is also there using basic woolly buggers in black, olive or white. Streamers can be retrieved or dead drifted for best results. Dry fly fishing is tough. However, if one finds a pool or water that would allow for a decent presentation, fish Wulff, trudes, purple haze, X-Caddis or smaller yellow stimulators. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.
Boysen Reservoir, Wyo.: Guys did alright in the Western Wyoming Walleye Circuit tournament over the weekend. Troll crankbaits for walleye. A spinner with a worm or leech could also produce. — Boysen Lake Marina.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyo.: Fishing conditions continue to be very poor from runoff. The lake is dirty with a lot of logs floating in the reservoir. If venturing out, use caution. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir: The rainbow trout bite slowed a bit. A few shoreline anglers caught fish at traditional access points using worms, spawn or PowerBait. Boat anglers are catching some rainbows trolling cowbells tipped with worms in 5 to 20 feet of water. The walleye bite has been good mid-reservoir and fair throughout the south end. Trolling in 12 to 30 feet of water, using crankbaits (orange, green or firetiger) and worm harnesses, has been producing fish. A few yellow perch are being caught while chasing walleye. — FWP, Helena.
Clarks Fork, Wyo.: It is still running high and dirty. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Cooney Reservoir: Fishing was pretty slow over the weekend, although fishing pressure was light thanks to the weather. The anglers catching fish were using leeches at night. — Cooney State Park.
Deadman’s Basin: Boat fishermen are catching a few average-sized trout. — Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: Brandon Rolandson of Miles City landed a 32.5-inch walleye and Todd Klepplid of Circle brought in a 32-inch northern. The two big fish were caught at the Wade Sukut Memorial Tournament. Lots of walleye and northerns were caught, along with some smallmouth. The water temp is 61 degrees. The target depth for walleye and northerns is 5 to 25 feet. Fish the rocky points for bass. The PikeMasters northern pike tourney is this Saturday and Sunday and spots are still available. The meeting is Friday at 7 p.m. at the marina. — Rock Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: Fishing has been pretty good. Lake trout are 50- to 60-feet deep and hitting Evil Eye flutter spoons. Walleye, northerns and smallmouth fishermen are doing well. Bear Creek and from Duck Creek to the Pines is producing. Worms, minnows and leeches are all working on either worm harnesses or jigs. A few guys are using crankbaits. — Lakeridge Motel and Tackle, Fort Peck.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay: Here and at Devils Creek, Lindy Rigs, bottom bouncers or crankbaits are all attracting fish. Crawlers have been the best live bait, but leeches are starting to work. — Don’s, Lewistown.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek: Walleye are hitting jigs tipped with worms, minnows or leeches in 12 feet of water. Hit the main lake points. Pitch crankbaits or spoons for northerns. Firetiger is a good pattern. For spoons, use a five of diamonds or red and white. Smallmouth are being caught by walleye fishermen. — Hell Creek Marina, Jordan.
Gallatin River: It is shaping up. Some colder nights have helped drop water levels and clear the river. The bug hatches have tapered off because of the colder weather. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Hauser Reservoir: Rainbows are being caught while trolling cowbells or crankbaits around the Black Sandy area. Rainbows are being caught from shore on worms below Canyon Ferry Dam and around York Bridge. Some walleye are being caught in the Causeway while using bottom bouncers and leeches or worms. A few walleye are being caught from the Causeway Bridge on leeches. Most walleye are small. — FWP, Helena.
Holter Reservoir: Good rainbow fishing continues for those trolling cowbells throughout the reservoir. A few walleye are being caught on bottom bouncers and leeches around Gates of the Mountains, Cottonwood Creek and the clay banks in the lower part of the reservoir. Small perch are being caught throughout the reservoir in small bays and around the boat docks. — FWP, Helena.
Lake DeSmet, Wyo.: Fishing is good around the monument and in the bays. Some 17- to 19-inch trout have been caught. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.
Madison River: The lower river is fishing great. There is more than 2 feet of visibility. Nymph rigs are working the best. Try a yellow sally or caddis. The streamer bite is OK. There are reports of golden stones and salmonflies in Beartrap Canyon. On the upper river, action is excellent. Nymphs are working the best. Big, black rubber-legs are the go-to bug. Flashy droppers are working. For streamers, anything black in a bigger size near the bank will draw interest. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Martinsdale Reservoir: Anglers are doing well using little cowbells and worms. Bank fishermen are also doing well using worms and marshmallows. — Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.
Missouri River, Below Holter: Up by the dam use a zebra midge. Purple para Wulff (size 18), BWO para Wulff (16-18) and double duck caddis (14-18) have been working. Cluster midges (14) are also tempting trout. A challenged baetis (18) and snowshoe caddis (14) will draw strikes. Czech nymphs, MFGs, assassin and Quasimodo are all working. For streamers, Thin Mints, hula dancers and Nick’s perch in little olive patterns will take trout. San Juan worms are effective. Below the Dearborn, an orange stimulator doesn’t hurt. A purple chubby Chernobyl (12) will hook fish. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Catfish action is steady with cut bait or crawlers the top bait. — Don’s, Lewistown.
Nelson Reservoir: Fishing was awesome over the weekend. Some nicer walleye are being caught in the deep water. Most walleye are running 15 to 20 feet deep and the best method is worm harnesses. The northerns are thick. Spinner baits are working for smallmouth in the shallows. — Westside Sports, Malta.
Rock Creek: Though it remains in full-blown runoff, this stream has continued to drop over the last couple of weeks. The persistent angler can find fishable water. Bread and butter nymphs like a Batman, blue Montana prince, psycho princes, hare’s ears, flashback pheasant tails, as well as silver lightning bugs can all work. Larger stonefly nymphs and San Juan worms can also be effective in fast water. Woolly buggers and streamers in general can also work in bigger, faster water. For dry-fly fishing try smaller attractor patterns like a Wulff, purple haze or royal trude in slower water. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.
Shoshone River, Wyo.: Runoff conditions continue. Pack some baetis and damsel nymphs and try East Newton Lake, West Newton Lake, Luce Reservoir or Hogan Reservoir. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Spring Creek: It is not gin clear, but is fishing well on wet or dry flies. — Don’s, Lewistown.
Stillwater River: The river shot up and added some volume and color over the weekend, then came back down a bit. It’s still running about 1,000 cfs above normal with some color. Try the smaller tributaries or side channels using rubber-leg patterns, the San Juan worm, or darker bugger patterns right on the edges. A big stimulator/attractor, dry-dropper setup may work in some of the softer water. The river is very swift and cold so use caution. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Tongue River Reservoir: Fishing is steady with a lot of crappie and walleye being caught. The crappie have moved into shallow water. The walleye are as shallow as 5 feet. For walleye, jig with live bait. Walleye are running up to 4 pounds. For crappie, a small jig and tube body will work. Quite a few smaller smallmouth have been boated. Northern pike fishing has picked up. — Tongue River Marina.
Yellowstone River, Columbus: The river remains totally blown, running high and dirty. With the exception of a safer side channel, it’s probably best to stay away until runoff subsides. Watch for large debris floating in the river. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Yellowstone River, Huntley: Minnows and cut bait are working for catfish, which are running 1 to 5 pounds. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.
Yellowstone River, Livingston: It is still running high and muddy. An experienced oarsman might be able to use a big, flashy streamer. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.