Fishing report: Chinook salmon starting to bite at Fort Peck

2013-08-08T00:00:00Z 2013-08-08T14:02:48Z Fishing report: Chinook salmon starting to bite at Fort PeckBy JOHN LETASKY jletasky@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The chinook salmon bite is just starting at Fort Peck Reservoir in the dam area, with a 26-pounder being the largest caught so far.

Lake trout fishing also has been productive at Fort Peck in the dam vicinity and the Big Dry Arm section of the reservoir.

Grasshoppers are working on the Boulder River, Gallatin River, Madison River, Missouri River below Holter, Spring Creek and Yellowstone River. One could probably tie a hopper on and get a strike on plenty of other waters.

The John Arnold Fish Derby is Saturday at Hauser Reservoir for walleye and yellow perch.

Ackley Lake: It is fishing fair for shoreline bait fishermen and those trolling deep. Fly fishing is slow. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Bighorn Lake, Barry’s Landing: Use leeches or crawlers for walleyes in 25 feet of water. Most of the bigger smallmouth bass are in 25 feet, with the smaller ones in shallower water. — Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.

Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh: A few brown trout are being caught near the streams coming in. Try the Big Bull Elk Creek area, using an elk-hair caddis. Fish the wall in Dry Head Canyon 40 feet down for walleyes. A jig and worm will work in the Ok-A-Beh area for small walleyes. Trolling with a worm harness and bottom bouncer in the Slide Area has been productive for walleyes. — Ok-A-Beh Marina, Fort Smith.

Bighorn River: Water temps are finally beginning to warm up (45-48 degrees on Monday). Six to 12 miles down from Afterbay, there are some decent yellow Sally and PMD hatches. The most productive patterns have been a FoamWing yellow Sally trailed by a soft-hackle yellow Sally in sizes 16-18. Subsurface activity has still been very good with mostly sowbug or scud patterns. Ray Charles or soft-hackled Ray Charles with firebeads have been the best patterns. The most productive colors have been tan, Bighorn orange and dun in sizes 14-16. As for the trailer, use anything small and black, like zebra midges, black quill LBF, or UV JuJu baetis (all in 18-20). — Bighorn Fly and Tackle Shop.

Boulder River: It has the potential to fish well right now. To enjoy this time of year’s dry fly fishing, throw hoppers, pookies, tarantulas, PMD, PMX, stimulators, caddis, yellow Sally, green drakes and purple haze. Attractor dries, like Wulff, trudes and Adams, will work this time of year. Nymph fishing is there as well, using bugs like a hare’s ear, pheasant tails, psycho princes, blue or olive Montana princes, red copper John, olive and tan caddis sparkle pupa, and Batman. A hopper-dropper setup is ideal in low flows, as is a two-dry setup. A hopper and yellow Sally dry fly rig can be killer. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Boysen Reservoir, Wyo.: Crankbaits or worm harnesses with crawlers have both been productive for walleyes. A Slow Death hook with a crawler is another option. Catfish action is still good from shore. — Boysen Lake Marina.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyo.: Fishing is pretty good for rainbow trout trolling No. 7 Countdown Rapalas in perch patterns. A size 7-9 rainbow pattern would work, too. Troll leaded line, letting 2 to 3 colors out. Once located with a fish finder, a few lake trout in 60 to 80 feet have been caught while jigging. Use a deer-hair jig with sucker meat. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir: Fish are moving deeper with sustained warm water temperatures. Rainbow trout are being caught mid-reservoir to the dam trolling attractors tipped with worms, at depths around 25 feet. Or try using worms and/or marshmallows from shore. The walleye bite has slowed a bit, but fishing has been consistent throughout the reservoir. On the south end and around mid-reservoir, worm harnesses, crankbaits and Slow Death hooks continue to be the preferred methods. Vertical jigging, in 5 to 45 feet of water, from mid-reservoir to the dam, has also been producing fish. A few large perch are being caught. — FWP, Helena.

Cooney Reservoir: Smaller walleyes have been caught. A 5-pound trout was caught Sunday, but most are pan-sized. Nitro worms are the ticket for trout and walleyes. Corn is also working for trout. — Fort Gunnink, Boyd.

Clarks Fork, Wyo.: The river is in a transitional period from using dry flies to mainly nymphs due to the warming water temperatures. Fish the riffles or deeper water. A North Fork Special (size 10-12) will work. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Deadman’s Basin: Fishing has been kind of slow with a few small trout being caught. The water levels are dropping at the end of the boat ramp. Action at Lake Sutherlin has been good from the bank. — Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: Walleye fishing has slowed down a touch, but lake trout fishing is awesome. The York Island area is a good place. There are little walleyes being caught, with the larger ones fewer and far between. The walleyes are starting to target leeches. Northern pike and smallmouth bass are still biting. Billings’ Wendy Ruyz caught a 35.5-inch northern pike bank fishing over the weekend. The Fishin’ For the Cure walleye and northern pike tournament to benefit childhood cancer is Aug. 17. For information, call 406-599-8092 or the marina at 406-485-2560. — Rock Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: Lake trout fishermen are doing well in 85 to 95 feet of water using flashers and squids. Evil-Eye Flutter spoons will work, too. Chinook salmon fishing is a little slow, but a few have been caught. A 26-pound chinook salmon is the largest so far. Walleye fishing is good 35 to 40 feet deep down to the Pines. Smallmouth bass fishing is good off the face of the dam. Fishermen are hooking northern everywhere. — Lakeridge Motel and Tackle, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay: The Fall Classic Walleye Tournament is Saturday and Sunday at Fourchette Bay. For information, call Travis Scott at 406-366-5603. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek: The walleye fishing has slowed down, but northern pike and smallmouth bass fishing is still good. Pitch crankbaits for both. — Hell Creek Marina, Jordan.

Gallatin River: It is fishing well in the morning and evening. There are spruce moths in the canyon and hoppers in the valley. Ants are working well. A few yellow Sallies are hanging around. A rubber-leg nymph will work. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir: Rainbow fishing is fair in the early morning hours while trolling cowbells and worms around White Sandy and Devil’s Elbow. The rainbows are being caught in 25 to 35 feet of water. Shore fishing for walleye at the Causeway Bridge has been productive in the evenings. Bottom bouncing with leeches or trolling crankbaits in the Causeway and around York Bridge has produced good walleye results. — FWP, Helena.

Holter Reservoir: The rainbows have gone deep, but those trolling cowbells at 25 to 35 feet deep are finding good results in the mornings from Split Rock to Holter Dam. Shore fishing for rainbows is slow. Walleye fishing has been a bit slow, with some action occurring while using worms or leeches at 10 to 20 feet deep in bays in the lower reservoir and around Holter Dam. A good perch bite is happening in these areas as well. — FWP, Helena.

Lake DeSmet, Wyo.: Worms are the bait of choice for walleyes and trout. Fishermen are jigging for both species. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.

Madison River: The lower river is too hot to fish until fall, plus there are hoot owl restrictions in effect. The upper river is fishing well and would be fun to float fish. Action is primarily on nymphs, with princes and rubber legs working. Trout are eating hoppers and caddis in the evening. There is quite a bit of fishing pressure on the upper river. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Martinsdale Reservoir: Water levels are dropping due to irrigation. Try bait from the shore or cowbells from the boat. Some are using hoppers. — Ray’s Sport and Western Wear, Harlowton.

Missouri River, below Holter: It is fishing well, but it is kind of weedy. The cubic feet per second is 3,160 and the water temps are 65 degrees. Tricos are out in the morning, with some scattered caddis around. Hoppers are starting to work. Nymph fishing is good if one can avoid the weeds. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: The catfish bite continues to hold using traditional baits. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Nelson Reservoir: Fishing has slowed a little bit, but so has fishing pressure. Try bottom bouncing with crawlers for walleyes and run crankbaits for northern. — Westside Sports, Malta.

North Fork of the Shoshone, Wyo.: It is fishing really well and one can wade fish it. Stonefly nymphs are enticing trout, along with tan elk-hair caddis. Trout are keying on mosquitoes in the evening and hoppers during the day. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Rock Creek: This stream is fishing well from Joliet to Red Lodge. For the dry fly angler, throw hoppers, chubby, stimulators, caddis, yellow Sally, beetles, ants and attractor dries like a royal Wulff, royal trude or smaller Jack Cabe. The nymph fishing is there using beadheads like red or chartreuse copper John, blue Montana princes, hare’s ears, flashback pheasant tails, psycho princes, caddis emergers or pupa, Batman, girdle bugs and bitchcreeks. A dry-dropper or hopper-dropper setup is a fun way to fish this time of year without using an indicator. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Spring Creek: It is nymphing fairly well. Trout are also sipping hoppers and other assorted dry flies. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River: Flows have dropped to the 600 cfs range. The upper is bit too bony to float, unless one is an experienced oarsman with a light boat. Fish are taking the big dry fly and dropper nymph pretty consistently. PMX, fat Franks, stimies, and Jack Cabe; almost any big dry is working. For nymphs, standard beadhead patterns like copper John, hare’s ear, prince nymph and pheasant tails are good choices. Even if there is no surface activity apparent, one can probably get a strike on caddis. Some PMDs and drakes may be about in the a.m., so a parachute Adams, purple haze or PMD pattern will likely take fish. A PMD emerger fished in the riffles during the hatch will produce. The water temps are warming up as the day goes on, so afternoon fishing can be tough. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Tongue River Reservoir: Northern pike fishing is still on fire. Ten-year-old Lexie Morgage of Sheridan, Wyo., was trolling a Shaky Shad and boated a 42-inch northern pike Saturday. Bigger walleyes are being caught in deeper water, however, action is still slow for walleyes. Crappie fishing is starting to turn back on. Lots of nice smallmouth bass, some running up to 3 pounds, have been hooked. — Tongue River Marina.

Yellowstone River, Columbus: It has cleared and flows have dropped. Water temps are getting warm by midday, making fishing tough in the afternoon. This is especially true on bright, sunny days. Look for fish to move into the riffles and faster water. Although natural hoppers have yet to get going in large numbers, fish are starting to key in on large, dry hopper patterns. There should be some occasional dry fly action. Fish a hopper-dropper and work the inside riffle corners, fast bank water and riffles. Fat Franks, chubby Chernobyl, Yeti hoppers and more-or-less hoppers are good choices. For dropper nymphs, use princes, hare’s ears, and copper John. Streamers are an option first thing in the morning. Play and handle fish quickly due to the heat. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Huntley: Catfish action remains good with some bigger ones, running between 9 and 12 pounds, being caught. The smallmouth bite continues. If the water clarity changes due to rain, give it a day to flush through. A couple of walleye were caught in the Hysham area. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Yellowstone River, Livingston: Hopper fishing is the name of the game. Ants also are causing fish to look up. It is best in the early morning until noon. Fishing slows during the day and picks back up around 7 p.m. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

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