Walleye fishing has improved at Cooney and Tongue River reservoirs, with reports of larger-sized fish caught at both last week.
At Fort Peck Reservoir in the dam area, some lake trout have also been caught and the bite is expected to improve as the water warms.
Trout action has been good for fly fishermen on the Bighorn River and for wade fishermen on the Stillwater. Fly fishermen should make sure to have some caddis flies handy. Keep in mind Mother's Day is May 12, so the Mother's Day caddis hatch should be approaching.
Ackley Lake: Fishing is steady. Bait fishermen are doing well. Fly fishermen are experiencing success tossing woolly buggers and leech patterns. -- Don’s, Lewistown.
Bighorn Lake, Wyo.: Use sucker meat fishing from shore in the early mornings for catfish. -- Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Bighorn River: Baetis (size 14-16) will work on overcast days. UV JuJu baetis, black Wonder nymph and a Downey’s baetis nymph will take trout. Midges and sowbugs are working as well. The flow was 1,850 cfs on Monday. -- Bighorn Fly and Tackle.
Boulder River: Try stonefly nymphs like North Fork specials, bitch creeks, Jimmy legs and girdle bugs with either a copper John, prince nymph, hare’s ear or pheasant tail as a dropper. It is not too early to start using a caddis pupa, March brown nymph or emerger. The warming trend last week will improve the dry-fly fishing. Dry March browns, caddis dry, as well as your standard attractor patterns like a royal Wulff, parachute Adams or royal trude are all on the table. A dry fly angler's best choices are still a BWO and midge cluster two dry fly combo. -- East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.
Boysen Reservoir, Wyo.: Walleye fishing is starting to pick up jigging with a Mister Twister tail, minnow or worm in 8-25 feet of water. -- Boysen Lake Marina.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyo.: Fishing is picking up for lake trout. Use a white deer-hair jig with sucker meat in 80 feet of water. A few rainbows have been picked up trolling a rainbow Countdown Rapala in size 7-9. -- Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir: The rainbow trout bite is in full swing and fish are cruising most shorelines throughout the reservoir. Shoreline anglers are doing well at most access points using spoons, worms, spawn sacks or various beadhead nymphs. Boat anglers have had some success trolling cowbells tipped with worms or crankbaits in 5-15 feet of water. Walleye anglers have started picking up fish throughout the south end when the wind allows. Trolling shallow with pink, orange or green crankbaits or worm harnesses has produced the best bite. -- FWP, Helena.
Cooney Reservoir: Fishermen are doing well with a 12- and 11-pound walleye taken over the weekend while trolling. Shore fishing for walleyes should pick up with crawlers. -- Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.
Deadman’s Basin: Fishermen are taking trout from shore using worms and marshmallows. -- Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: A 31.5-inch walleye was caught by a bank fisherman using smelt. Boat fishermen are using minnows. Male walleyes are running 20-24 inches in 4-10 feet of water pitching jigs with minnows. The water temps are 47 in the main lake and 52 degrees in the bays. A lot of northerns are being caught while walleye fishing. -- Rock Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: Anglers are catching some walleyes and lots of northerns. In the dredge cuts, a few big walleyes have been caught along with northerns. For walleyes, use jigs or Lindy Rigs and minnows. Lake trout are active in 35-40 feet of water. Use an Evil-Eye flutter spoon or deep-diving crankbait. Lake trout fishing will improve as the water warms. -- Lakeridge Motel and Tackle, Fort Peck.
Gallatin River: It was slightly off-color on Monday. Use a caddis pupa and stoneflies. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch will start in the next week or so. Crystal buggers are an option. Blue-winged olives are out in the afternoon. If fish are rising, try a caddis dry. -- Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Hauser Reservoir: Rainbow fishing is good at the Causeway Bridge while using egg sacks or black woolly buggers. Boat anglers are finding rainbows while trolling cowbells or light-colored crankbaits in the Causeway Arm and around Riverside. Lake Helena walleye fishing is good in the mornings before the wind picks up. Trolling perch, silver or blue crankbaits has worked best for walleye. -- FWP, Helena.
Holter Reservoir: Good rainbow fishing can be found while trolling perch, orange or silver crankbaits as well as cowbells tipped with a worm throughout the reservoir. Shore action is fair around Holter Lake Ramp and Log Gulch while using marshmallows, worms or egg sacks. Walleye fishing is slow. -- FWP, Helena.
Lake DeSmet, Wyo.: Walleyes are biting on worms while bank fishing. -- The Lake Stop, Buffalo.
Madison River: It is off-color as Ennis Lake turned over and muddied last week. With the dirty water, a San Juan worm trailed behind a crayfish is a good option. There is a lot of caddis activity. Try a caddis pupa. If fish are rising, try a caddis dry. -- Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Martinsdale Reservoir: Lake levels are low. Bank fishing is good using Power Bait, crawlers or marshmallows. The Musselshell River should be fishing well, although it is low, too. Elk-hair caddis, PMDs and streamers would work. -- Ray’s Sport and Western Wear, Harlowton.
Missouri River, below Holter: It is fishing well and the flow was 4,000 cfs on Monday with the temp at 44 degrees. Nymphs, baetis and streamers are working. Blue-winged olives and midges are throughout the whole river. -- Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Action is exceptional from Fred Robinson to Slippery Ann for catfish, walleyes, northerns and sauger. The paddlefish season started Wednesday. -- Don’s, Lewistown.
Nelson Reservoir: A few walleyes have been picked up bottom bouncing with crawlers. For northerns, troll a rattling crankbait. -- Westside Sports, Malta.
North Fork of the Shoshone, Wyo.: Above Newton Creek, anglers are catching trout with beadhead nymphs. Black woolly buggers are also working. -- Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Rock Creek: Try nymph fishing with beadhead nymphs including red or chartreuse copper John, Batman, blue or olive Montana prince, hare’s ears, holographic princes in red, and blue or silver lightning bugs. Dry fly fishing remains in sizes 14-16. Trout can be brought to the surface with a royal Wulff, royal trudes, purple haze, caddis, midges and BWOs. -- East Rosebud Fly and Tackle.
Spring Creek: It is fishing steady, with most action on nymphs. -- Don’s, Lewistown.
Stillwater River: There is decent dry fly fishing with caddis starting to show up and March browns still coming off. For nymph fishermen, try a hare’s ears, copper John or pheasant tail. There are lots of caddis nymphs in the rocks waiting to emerge. The river is low for this time of year, so floating is pretty tough. -- Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Tongue River Reservoir: Everyone seemed to catch fish at the multi-species fishing derby on Saturday. Quite a few walleyes were caught, along with some smallmouth. Try jigging with minnows or a crawler. A handful of perch and northern pike were also landed, with an occasional crappie mixed in. The best fishing was from boat. An 8-pound walleye was boated on Friday. -- Tongue River Marina.
Yellowstone River, Columbus: Nymph fishing is excellent with a hare’s ear, March brown nymph or any type of mayfly nymph pattern. There is some dry fly action with March browns and caddis. There is an occasional BWO. A smaller-sized parachute Adams will work well. -- Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Yellowstone River, Huntley: It is fishing well for catfish and smallmouth using minnows or crawlers. Catfish will also bite shrimp. The river is low and clear. -- Minnow Bucket, Huntley.
Yellowstone River, Livingston: There are good reports of golden stone activity underneath. There are tons of baetis out and a couple caddis and March browns have been sighted. Cold weather will knock the bug activity down and the best option will be nymphs. For streamers, fish olive and black patterns. Yellow is a good color in off-color conditions. -- Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.