Montana fishing report: Rivers are running high and fast

2014-05-29T00:00:00Z 2014-06-03T11:58:10Z Montana fishing report: Rivers are running high and fastBy JOHN LETASKY The Billings Gazette

Lake trout fishermen continue to have luck at Buffalo Bill Reservoir in Wyoming and Fort Peck Reservoir in the dam area.

Closer to Billings, Cooney Reservoir reportedly was fishing well for perch and walleye.

The rivers are on the rise with temperatures climbing and snowpack melting. The best bet for river trout would be the edges, side channels or tail waters, but be careful of the high flows. Smaller creeks or tributaries could be a good choice, but may very well be fast and high.

There is a largemouth and smallmouth bass tourney May 31-June 1 at Hell Creek on Fort Peck Reservoir. For information call Benny Wiles at 406-629-0822. The TBF Invitational is May 31 at Yellowtail Afterbay Reservoir: OK-A-Beh for largemouth and smallmouth. For information, call Joe Taylor at 406-670-6235.

Ackley Lake: It is fishing well from the shore with bait and spinners. Boat fishermen are using leaded line or shallow trolling and doing well. Fishing is steady. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Bighorn Lake: The whole lake is down in preparation for runoff. Boaters can barely get in at Ok-A-Beh. The water is dirty at Barry’s Landing and fishing is slow. — Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.

Bighorn Lake, Wyo.: Catfishing has still been very good the past week. Better catches, though, are coming late in the evenings and after dark. Sucker meat, stink baits, and the Berkley catfish bait have all been taking fish. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Bighorn River: Flows remain constant at 8,500 cubic feet per second as of Monday. Water clarity is good downstream to the St Xavier bridge. From the bridge down to Mallards it is still fishable but somewhat murky. We are seeing consistent baetis and midge hatches, but with limited slack water dry fly fishing is still limited. Fishing remains very good, mostly nymphing. Wonder nymphs and black baetis (sizes 18-20) trailed behind pink or tan firebead sowbugs (14-16) have been the biggest producers. 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 has swelled in water volume since last week’s report. Nymph woolly buggers, San Juan worms, girdle bugs, bitch creeks and anything else big and nasty. Focus on the pools and you may have some luck. Until the water volume slows, dry-fly fishing will be very difficult. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Boysen Reservoir, Wyo.: Walleye are running in 30 feet of water. Try trolling planer boards at just under 2 mph in the Sisters area. For trout, use a split shot off the bottom from the bank in the dam area. Those fishing for trout from the bank are having to sort through some carp. — Boysen Lake Marina.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyo.: Anglers continue to have very good luck targeting lake trout. Jigging with a bucktail jig and sucker meat has been the presentation of choice. White tubes jigged erratically have also been producing fish. Trollers using downriggers and Dipsy Divers have been productive too, pulling mainly spoons. Anglers are taking a few fish off of a stick bait/lead core combination. Shore anglers are catching rainbows, mainly in the early mornings and late in the evening. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir: The rainbow trout bite has been good, especially on the north end of the reservoir. Shoreline anglers are having success at traditional access points using worms, spawn, PowerBait or while fly fishing with nymphs. Boat anglers are catching some rainbows on the north end of the reservoir while fly fishing near shore or trolling cowbells tipped with worms. The walleye bite is picking up on the south end of the reservoir trolling in shallow depths using crankbaits (green, silver or perch colored), worm harnesses or Slow Death rigs. Yellow perch are being caught from shore at the Silos or while searching for walleye. Boat access remains somewhat limited, but the reservoir is on the rise. — FWP, Helena.

Clarks Fork, Wyo.: It is big and as of Monday running 7,350 cfs going into Montana. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Cooney Reservoir: A lot of anglers were taking perch at Fisherman’s Point using worms. On the northwest end of the lake boat anglers are catching walleye in the late evening. — Cooney State Park.

Deadman’s Basin: From the boat a rainbow or brook trout-patterned spoon or a cowbell with a 3-foot leader and a crawler will work for trout or kokanee. The trout are in 15 to 25 feet of water in the morning and in 40 feet of water in the afternoon. Shore fishing is slow. The lake is full, however, the boat dock is not out. Due to high water, shoreline access is limited. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: The smallmouth bass action is good with fish running between 4 to 5 pounds throwing crankbaits and spoons into the points and rocks. Lots of northerns are being boated in 5 to 15 feet on jigs, minnows, worms or crankbaits. Lots of small walleye, with an occasional big one, are biting on jigs and minnows. Bottom bouncing a worm harness is starting to work. The big walleye are a little deeper in 20 to 25 feet of water. The water temps are 62 degrees and warmer the farther south one goes. — Rock Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: Fishing has been really good for lake trout. Walleye, northerns and smallmouth are starting to bite as the water temps are warming. For lake trout, fish the Haxby Point and Bear Creek Island areas. For walleye, Duck Creek is producing and some have been caught at Haxby Point and Skunk Creek. — Lakeridge Motel and Tackle, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay: Some bigger walleye were caught pulling worm harnesses. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek: The walleye are active at Timber Creek and the mouth of Hell Creek. On Saturday a handful of 9-pounders were caught. Use a jig and a minnow in 10 to 15 feet of water or pitch jigs towards shore in 4 to 5 feet of water. For northerns, the hot lure is a Five of Diamonds spoon pitched toward shore in the shallows. Smallmouth are being caught by walleye fishermen. The water levels are rising and the surface temperature is 62 degrees. — Hell Creek Marina, Jordan.

Gallatin River: It’s good for whitewater rafting. In Yellowstone National Park to the river’s headwaters, one might be able to find some good clear water for fly fishing. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir: Rainbows are being caught while trolling cowbells between Black Sandy and Hauser Dam. Riverside is producing a few rainbows as well while jigging with a worm. An occasional walleye is being caught around Devil’s Elbow, the El Dorado power lines and the Causeway while using jigs and leeches. — FWP, Helena.

Holter Reservoir: Rainbows are being caught on cowbells and silver- or perch-colored crankbaits from Split Rock to Holter Dam. A few walleye are being caught on bottom bouncers and leeches around Gates of the Mountains and Log Gulch. Perch are being caught in small bays. — FWP, Helena.

Lake DeSmet, Wyo.: The Buffalo Lions Club annual fishing derby happened over the weekend. Fishing was fair for trout. Walleye fishing is slow. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.

Madison River: The lower river is high and murky, but some golden stones are coming off. Crayfish and San Juan worms are working. On the upper river between Hebgen Reservoir and Quake Lake try big stoneflies. There is a moderate streamer bite. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Martinsdale Reservoir: Fishing has been adequate for trout. Try worms from shore. — Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.

Missouri River, below Holter: It is fishing pretty well. Nymphs and streamers are working. There are baetis and midges in the upper river and caddis down lower. The Dearborn is putting in mud, but it does dissipate downstream a couple miles. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Catfish action is good. For walleye and sauger, fishing is steady with minnows or crawlers. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Nelson Reservoir: Pull bottom bouncers with worm harnesses tipped with worms for walleye. A few were pulling crankbaits in the shallows and picked up both northerns and walleye. Fishing was decent over the weekend. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Rock Creek: It is blown out. Warmer temperatures have increased flows dramatically. An angler’s only bet is to either fish near Red Lodge, or the Main Fork, Lake Fork, or West Fork. Throw large stoneflies like a girdle bug, bitch creek or rubber-leg pattern. San Juan worms as well as dead drifting streamers can work. Dry-fly action is there if an angler can find pooled up fish and decent water color. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Shoshone River, Wyo.: The North Fork was 5,130 cfs on Monday and the South Fork was flowing at 1,430 cfs. The lower river is running 3,967 cfs. The river is high and muddy. East Newton Lake, West Newton Lake, Hogan Reservoir and Luce Reservoir are all fishing well. A damsel nymph, scuds or baetis would work. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Spring Creek: Use BWOs or black CDCs. It is fishing fair. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River: With a combination of warm weather and almost daily thunderstorms, runoff has now started in full force. There may still be some fishing up higher or on some of the smaller tributaries or side channels. Try big, rubber-leg patterns, a San Juan worm, or darker bugger patterns right on the edges. Use extreme caution as the river climbs and gets off -color. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Tongue River Reservoir: Everybody seems to be doing well for walleye in the shallows. Some nice crappie are starting to be caught and they are moving shallower. For walleye, jig a minnow or bottom bounce a worm harness with crawlers or leeches. For crappie, find a school and jig for them. The lake is close to full and rising every day. — Tongue River Marina.

Yellowstone River, Columbus: The river is totally blown, running high and dirty. It’s probably best to stay away from it until runoff subsides. Watch for large debris floating in the river. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Huntley: With the rising water, catfish action is good at night. Find backwater or slack water. If one fishes the main channel, target the edges. Sucker meat is the top bait. An occasional brown trout and some ling are also being caught. Trout and ling are feeding on cut bait. At Castle Rock Lake, a slip bobber with a minnow is working for largemouth bass and pike. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Yellowstone River, Intake: Paddlefish harvest season has closed at the Intake fishing access site and in the Yellowstone River and the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam. Catch-and-release for paddlefish is allowed only at Intake from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. through June 2. — Montana FWP.

Yellowstone River, Livingston: It is blown out. Anglers could seek out local lakes or watch for the ice to come off high-elevation lakes. For lakes, try small leech patterns or a chironomids. Flashy little beadhead nymphs would also take trout. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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