Montana fishing report: Lake trout action picking up at Fort Peck

2014-05-15T00:00:00Z Montana fishing report: Lake trout action picking up at Fort PeckBy JOHN LETASKY The Billings Gazette

Lake trout action gained steam last week on Fort Peck Reservoir in the dam area.

Fort Peck also offered hot fishing for walleye in the Fourchette and Big Dry Arm areas and action was picking up in the Hell Creek section. The northern bite was reportedly decent throughout the reservoir.

On the lower Madison River, the Mother’s Day caddis hatch is winding down, but anglers can still use caddis pupa and caddis emergers.

The paddlefish season begins on Thursday on the Yellowstone River below the mouth of the Bighorn River and Missouri River downstream of Fort Peck Dam. A yellow paddlefish tag is required. The harvest target is 1,000 fish. Anglers can access the Glendive Chamber of Commerce website at or call the FWP Region 7 office in Miles City at 406-234-0900 to find the current number of harvested paddlefish at Intake fishing access site.

The general fishing season for rivers and streams in Montana opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 30.

Ackley Lake: It is fishing OK from the bank. The spawn is over. Boat fishermen are doing fair trolling hardware. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Bighorn Lake, Wyo.: Anglers targeting catfish were rewarded with good catches last week. Water levels are low , which makes finding the fish easier. Cut bait, Gulp, and PowerBait have all been producing. Anglers going at dusk and fishing at night have been doing better for the larger cats. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Bighorn River: Flows remain constant at 7,500 cubic feet per second. With the rain/snow we received last week, Bighorn Access downriver is quite murky. We are seeing quite a few baetis hatches, but the fish are not keying in on them yet. Fly patterns have not changed much over the last four to six weeks. Fishing remains very good, mostly nymphing. Patterns producing fish have continued to be San Juan worms (size 4-8) in worm brown or fluorescent orange trailed with a sowbug pattern. Mostly Ray Charles, firebead Ray Charles or firebead soft-hackle sowbugs (14-18) in colors dun (gray), tan and pink. Also taking fish as trailers are zebra midges or midge larvae (18-20) in root beer, red and black. — Bighorn Fly and Tackle Shop, Fort Smith.

Boulder River: The lower stretches are still fast and off-color. Find fishable water upstream. Recommended nymphs right now include, red, chartreuse, or purple copper John, as well as Montana princes, psycho princes, silver or red lightning bugs, hare’s ears, pheasant tails, caddis pupa, March brown nymphs, or a girdle bug, rubber-leg, black North Fork special, or a bitch creek. Dry fly fishing will be a little spottier, although, it’s a good bet to fish either March brown dries, tan X-caddis, midges, BWO, or classic attractors like Wulff, trudes, purple haze, or a parachute Adams. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Boysen Reservoir, Wyo.: Fishermen have been jigging with minnows in 7 to 12 feet for walleye. Trout fishing in the bays is still good from shore. — Boysen Lake Marina.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyo.: Jigs tipped with sucker meat have still been the best presentation for lake trout. The target depth seems to be around the 60-foot mark. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir: The rainbow bite continues to be consistent throughout the reservoir, especially on the north end. Shoreline anglers are having success at traditional access points using worms, spawn, PowerBait or while fly fishing with various nymphs. Boat anglers are catching some fish on the north end of the reservoir while fly fishing near shore or trolling cowbells. No report for walleye, yellow perch or ling. Boat access remains limited, so proceed with caution. — FWP, Helena.

Clarks Fork, Wyo.: It is still dirty. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Cooney Reservoir: Boaters have been doing fairly well for walleye. Shore fishing is OK for trout. The water has muddied up with recent wet weather and spring runoff. — Cooney State Park.

Deadman’s Basin: Fishing is slow. — Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: Lots of walleye have been boated, including a 13-pounder on Sunday. Firetiger, chartreuse or lime green would be good colors for jigs. The northern bite is hot on crankbaits and pitching spoons to shore. A few smallmouth are being caught. The water temps are being reported as high as 54 degrees. — Rock Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: Some lake trout were caught last weekend in 16 to 20 feet of water using Hot Lips. Those using downriggers fished in 55 feet of water using Evil Eye flutter spoons. Northerns and a few smallmouth are biting, but walleye fishing is still slow as water temps are cold. Walleye fishermen should use Lindy rigs or jigs with minnows. — Lakeridge Motel and Tackle, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay: At Fourchette and Devils Creek, boat fishermen are doing extremely well for walleye in 10 to 15 feet while jigging, using Lindy Rigs or trolling. Northern fishing is good to excellent in the shallows. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek: Walleye fishing is picking up in the bays in 10 to 12 feet of water. A few smallmouth have been caught. Jigging with a minnow is the best tactic for walleye and smallmouth. Northern pike fishing is pretty good pitching crankbaits or spoons. Most of the fish are being caught in the bays where the water is warmer. — Hell Creek Marina, Jordan.

Gallatin River: It is blown out. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir: Shore fishing is best from Black Sandy to the dam and the Riverside area while using worms. Boat anglers are finding rainbows while trolling cowbells or crankbaits around Black Sandy and the Causeway. Drifting jigs and worms has been producing rainbows below Canyon Ferry Dam. Some walleye are being caught in Lake Helena when the wind is calm. — FWP, Helena.

Holter Reservoir: Really good rainbow fishing can be found while trolling orange or green crankbaits throughout the reservoir. The hot spot is from the Oxbow to Holter Dam. Shore fishing for rainbows has slowed down considerably. Walleye fishing is slow; however some perch are being caught in Log Gulch Bay. — FWP, Helena.

Lake DeSmet, Wyo.: Fishing has been good when it’s not windy. Cutthroat and rainbows are biting from the boat. Shore fishermen are taking fish, too. Worms are the best bait. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.

Madison River: The lower river is fishing well. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch is winding down, but one can still use caddis pupa and caddis emergers and some dry flies. San Juan worms and crayfish will get anglers into fish. The streamer bite is slow. On the upper river, large black or golden stoneflies would probably work. Baetis and midge hatches are occurring. Caddis pupa and baetis midge nymphs should take trout. BWOs are working as a dry-fly option. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Martinsdale Reservoir: Most anglers are having good luck from the bank. — Ray’s Sport and Western Wear, Harlowton.

Missouri River, below Holter: It is fishing well, although water levels have been fluctuating. The flow was 9,160 cfs on Monday and the water temp hit 47. More and more BWOs should be hatching. MFGs would work as would pheasant tail nymphs and psycho MFGs. Green machines would also produce. For dry flies, parachute baetis and purple para Wulff will entice trout. Bat-wing emergers also have been taking trout. For streamers, a Nick’s perch, thin mint or skiddish smolt have been effective. On the three large Helena-area reservoirs, use leech or egg patterns. If fishing gets tough, put on a chironomid. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Catfish action is improving. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Nelson Reservoir: Fish are biting more actively on bottom bouncers and worms or jigs and minnows. Some people were fishing deep with a jig and a minnow and others were dragging bottom bouncers along the shorelines. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Rock Creek: It is still off-color and fast. Go upstream for clearer water. Try a hare’s ear, pheasant tail, copper John, prince, psycho, lightning bug, varied caddis nymphs, as well as larger stonefly nymphs like girdle bugs, rubber-legs, or bitch creeks. Dead drifting smaller woolly buggers works well in fast water. For dry flies try a caddis, March brown, Wulff, trude, smaller stimulator, purple haze, parachute Adams, or BWO. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Shoshone River, Wyo.: The North Fork was low and clear and fishable as of Monday. Big stonefly nymphs with a bloody Mary, North Fork special or epoxy stonefly dropper will work. The South Fork of the Shoshone is low and clear. The river through Cody is running at 3,500 cfs and unfishable. East and West Newton lakes are fishing well, as are Hogan and Luce. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Spring Creek: A few BWOs and March browns are showing. It is clear on the edges and corners. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River: There is some color and higher flows in the lower river. The water is lower and has been generally clearer above Absarokee. There have been some sporadic March browns and caddis, providing some dry-fly action. If there is an active hatch, try a smaller size Jack Cabe, the Trina’s carnage drake March brown, a parachute Adams, or purple haze patterns for the March brown. The San Juan worm and rubber-leg patterns like a prince, hare’s ear or Batman are working well for nymphs. Try soft-hackle patterns fished in the riffles if there is an active hatch. In off-color and/or high water, fish the edges with a San Juan worm or darker bugger pattern. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Tongue River Reservoir: Fishermen are taking walleye and crappie on jigs and crawlers or minnows. Darker colored jigs will work best. The fish are relatively deep. Smelt or cut bait would work for pike. — Tongue River Marina.

Yellowstone River, Columbus: Although flows dropped a bit with the cooler weather, the river is still running high and dirty. The upper river had a bit of clarity and could be streamer fished. That will only last until the temperature warms up and the flows come up again. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Huntley: Most of the action is on catfish. Fishing cut bait or minnows on the bottom is best for the catfish, which are biting light. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Yellowstone River, Livingston: There was 8 to 12 inches of visibility. Harrison Reservoir (aka Willow Creek Reservoir) and Ennis Lake are both fishing well. Use crayfish or leech patterns. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

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