Montana Fishing Report: Trout bite picks up at reservoirs

2014-06-12T00:00:00Z 2014-06-12T06:03:05Z Montana Fishing Report: Trout bite picks up at reservoirsBy JOHN LETASKY jletasky@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Reservoir fishermen have been having luck trolling for trout at Ackley Lake, Deadman’s Basin, Martinsdale Reservoir and the three large Helena-area reservoirs.

Some of the area’s rivers dropped last week and offered a window of fishing. Keep an eye on river flows before venturing out, and always respect the water.

The lower Musselshell River has had some decent catfish biting in the Melstone area. And at Broadview Pond anglers are jigging for largemouth bass.

The Father’s Day Fish Derby is Sunday at Newlan Reservoir, at the Newlan Creek Reservoir fishing access site, for rainbow and brown trout. For information, call Gerald M. Zarr at 406-547-3802 or 406-547-3751. The Fresno Challenge is Saturday and Sunday at Fresno Reservoir for walleye, yellow perch and northern pike. For information, contact Steve Chvilicek at 406-262-3199. Also, on Sunday the Livingston Firefighters Annual Kids Fishing Derby is from 8 a.m. to noon at the Sacajawea Park Lagoon. For information, contact Jeff Schoenen (406-222-2061) or Jeremy Jacobsen (406-224-0542). The Savage Volunteer Fire Department Catfish Tourney is Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the Yellowstone River from the Sidney Bridge to Cottonwood Creek. For information, call Chuck Thiel at 406-776-3474 or 406-489-3930.

Ackley Lake: It is fishing pretty well from the boat or bank. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Bighorn Lake, Wyo.: Anglers venturing out are still catching a few catfish. Nighttime has been the best for larger fish. Sucker meat, PowerBait and stink bait have all been working with best results coming off sucker meat. Smallmouth bass are still biting well on the Montana side of the lake. Plastics and cranks are taking most fish. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Bighorn River: Flows have been dropping dramatically and as of Thursday flows will be at 5,070 cubic feet per second. Water clarity is good downstream to Mallards Landing. With the decreased flows there is a much greater opportunity for dry-fly fishing. We are seeing consistent baetis and midge hatches. Fishing remains fair, but will pick up as soon as the flows stabilize. 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: Although runoff continues, it has dropped this past week. Fish larger nymphs like rubber-legs, girdle bugs, San Juan worms, bitch creeks, oversized prince nymphs, hare’s ears and flashback pheasant tails. Dead drifting streamers can also work in faster water. The odds of finding slow enough water to present a dry fly is not as likely, although if one finds any pools or soft edges, attractor dries like a royal Wulff, trude or parachute Adams can all work, as could an X-caddis or smaller yellow stimulator. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyo.: Fishing continues to be slow because of snow melt runoff. Water coming down the Shoshone River has made water clarity very poor. If you do venture out, use caution as there is a lot of debris floating throughout the reservoir. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Boysen Reservoir, Wyo.: The water is clearing up. Fish in the Cottonwood area in 15 to 30 feet of water for walleye using a deep-diving white crankbait. The best trolling speed has been 1.6 mph. In the Sisters area, fishing is a little slower but the walleye being caught are in 35 feet of water. From the bank, fish the bottom for trout and use a worm. White is a hot color for all species. — Boysen Lake Marina.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir: The rainbow trout bite has been consistent throughout the reservoir. Shoreline anglers continue to have success 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 is heating up mid-reservoir and throughout the south end, trolling in 5 to 25 feet of water, using crankbaits (orange, green or firetiger) and worm harnesses. Yellow perch are being caught while chasing walleye. — FWP, Helena.

Clarks Fork, Wyo.: Mud, mud and more mud still. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Cooney Reservoir: The walleye are a little more aggressive. The walleye are running 14-16 inches. Most fishermen are jigging in 13 feet of water. Trout fishing is hit-and-miss with most anglers using downriggers. Fishing from shore has slowed down. A few perch have been caught. — Cooney State Park.

Deadman’s Basin: Troll cowbells with a Wedding Ring tipped with a crawler in 20 to 40 feet of water for trout and salmon. Action is slow on spoons and leeches. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: Doug Quast and Cody Martinez, both of Billings, caught the winning weight of 41.52 pounds for 10 fish at the Rock Creek walleye tourney over the weekend. Lots of small walleye were caught, along with some bigger ones. The biggest northern was 42 inches and the biggest walleye was 31.5 inches. Quast landed the biggest walleye. Worms and minnows were working well and action on leeches is picking up. — Rock Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: Fishing has been really good. Bear Creek, Duck Creek, Skunk Creek, Gilbert Creek, Bell Point and Sage Creek are the best spots for walleye, northerns and smallmouth. Jigs and minnows, Lindy Rigs and minnows or crawlers or leeches will work. The lake trout are 55 to 60 feet deep. Use an Evil Eye flutter spoon. Fish the face of the dam with Dardevle lures for northerns and smallmouth. — Lakeridge Motel and Tackle, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay: The Devils Creek area is fishing well using minnows or crawlers on a jig or Lindy Rig. Crankbaits are also taking walleye and northerns. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek: Walleye, northerns and smallmouth are all biting. Walleye and smallmouth are hitting jigs tipped with a worm in the shallow waters. — Hell Creek Marina, Jordan.

Gallatin River: It is still not suitable for fishing. One could try whitewater kayaking. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir: Rainbows are being caught while trolling cowbells or crankbaits around the Black Sandy/White Sandy area. The walleye bite is picking up with some action occurring in the Causeway and Lake Helena 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 or perch-colored crankbaits from the Oxbow to Holter Dam. A few walleye are being caught on bottom bouncers and leeches around Gates of the Mountains and the clay banks in the lower part of the reservoir. Perch are being caught throughout the reservoir in small bays. — FWP, Helena.

Lake DeSmet, Wyo.: A 17.75-inch trout was banked by Kirby Bachtold of Gillette, Wyo. A 17.5-inch brown trout was caught by Seth While of Sheridan, Wyo., on Sunday from the bank. Some other nice trout were also hitting. Worms, nitro green worms and marshmallows are all working. Rapalas have also been effective. Boat fishermen are taking walleyes on the south end of the lake and in the center of the lake. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.

Madison River: On the upper river big stonefly nymphs with a flashy dropper, such as a lightning bug or caddis, will take trout. Trout are chasing sculpin patterns. A standard Zonker would work. Salmonfly season is approaching. On the lower river, it is fishing great. Salmonflies should be appearing shortly. Golden stones and caddis are out. The streamer bite is good on overcast days. A golden chubby pattern would produce with a caddis emerger or rubber-leg below. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Martinsdale Reservoir: Anglers are doing well dragging cowbells with a two-way spinner. Shore fishermen are catching trout on plain crawlers. The upper Musselshell River is down enough, it should be fishable. — Ray’s Sport and Western Wear, Harlowton.

Missouri River, below Holter: The flow was 4,800 cfs on Monday. Trout are taking baetis patterns in size 16. Caddis would work. A zebra midge will work between the dam and the Wolf Creek Bridge. For nymphs, tailwater sowbugs are working, as are MFGs and micro mayflies, all in size 14-16. Purple chubbies are drawing strikes, as are black ants. For streamers, a Nick’s perch, Thin Mints and black woolly buggers are good choices. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Catfish action is good on cut bait or crawlers. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Nelson Reservoir: Fishing was excellent with lots of walleye boated over the weekend. Try the shallow waters pulling bottom bouncers and worm harnesses or crankbaits. One can also pitch crankbaits toward shore. Walleye, northerns and smallmouth are all biting. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Rock Creek: It continues to drop and the water is clearing. Trout will be holding in any pool, seam, or area that won’t blow them downstream. Try stonefly nymphs like girdle bugs, bitch creeks, and rubber-legs in fast water where trout get a quick look at food. A San Juan worm can also be effective during runoff. Dry-fly fishing is possible, although the right water will be tough to find. Early summer patterns like a royal Wulff, purple haze, caddis and smaller stimulators could all prove the dry-fly “naysayers” wrong. — East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.

Shoshone River, Wyo.: It is blown out. East Newton Lake, West Newton Lake, Luce Reservoir and Hogan Reservoir are options. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Spring Creek: It is fishing well. Dry flies are working, as are standard nymphs. — Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River: It has dropped and the clarity has improved on the lower river. Big rubber-legs would work. Or try San Juan worms or darker bugger patterns right on the edges. On the upper river, anglers should think about fishing larger stimulator or attractor dry flies with a dropper nymph in slower seam water and the edges. Toward Nye, bigger dry flies would work. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Tongue River Reservoir: Fishing has slowed down somewhat for walleye and crappie, although a 9.9-pound walleye was caught on a jig and leech Saturday. An 8-pounder was caught on Sunday. With temperatures rising, fishing should improve. — Tongue River Marina.

Yellowstone River, Columbus: It has come down, but is still running high and off-color. Avoid the main river and try a safe side channel. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Huntley: Catfish are taking minnows or cut bait. — Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Yellowstone River, Livingston: It is blown out. — 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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