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Some waters might be pretty crowded through the weekend as anglers celebrate the Fourth of July holiday through the weekend.

Just remember — no fireworks are allowed at state fishing access sites, campgrounds or forests.

Instead, spend your time fishing.This week’s report offers plenty of hot spots to fish in Montana. Here are some places to explore as you celebrate Fourth of July week:


Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains Snow levels are at the 10,000-foot range. The Forest Service is still clearing trails. There have been lots of bear sightings, so use caution. There is very good fishing on the East Rosebud drainage. Early morning fishing has been very good. Adams, mosquitoes and caddis will work fished on the surface. Fishing flashy buggers in the afternoon has been productive. Late evening fishing has been very good using those same dry flies. — Jim Yeager, Outdoor Supply of Columbus.

Bighorn Lake: Barry’s Landing They are catching small fish, up to about 11/2 pounds. Most of the fish are 8-12 inches and being caught by jigging. We haven’t heard of too many big fish caught. Anglers are fishing in the middle of the lake and using leaded line and crankbaits in 30 feet of water. — Tom Canape, Laurel Sport Center.

Bighorn Lake: Ok-A-Beh On Monday, fishing was lousy because it was so hot. On Sunday, they were catching a lot of walleye in the Slide area. In the end of Black Canyon where the fast water meets the slow water, they are catching a lot of trout. At the end of Big Bull Elk Creek they are catching a lot of walleyes. Use worm harnesses and crankbaits for walleyes. Jigs are also working for walleyes. — Jeanne Torske, Ok-A-Beh Marina, Fort Smith.

Bighorn River PMD nymphs in size 18 are working. The cfs is right around 1800. The water is warming up a little bit, and is about 45 degrees, so the fish are fighting a little harder. The river is starting to moss up a little more below Three Mile. Below Three Mile, it is almost strictly dry fly fishing. A Bowen Spinner and a little baetis sparkle dun are working. — Chance Carlson, Bighorn Fly and Tackle, Billings.

Boulder River It is clear and dropping every day. The lower end gets a little cloudy, but is not unfishable. Basic attractor patterns are working. Small hoppers should be effective before too long. Caddis and stimulators will also work. — Glenn West, Rainbow Run Fly Shop, Billings.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir Fishing is pretty poor for trout, walleyes and perch. Trout fishing has slowed down with the heat and walleye fishing is just really bad. — Terry McArdle, Townsend Marine.

Cooney Reservoir Over the weekend there was so much activity with the jet skiers and boaters that fishing was tough during the day. However, night anglers are using floating lights and catching some good trout. Use night crawlers and leeches. The walleyes being caught are small. Try crankbaits in 20 feet of water. — Tom Canape, Laurel Sport Center.

Deadman’s Basin Last week they were jet skiing and fishing in little boats, so there is still enough water to have fun. There hasn’t been much for crowds, though, so finding a place to camp should be easy. Anglers in little boats are still doing fair. — Bob Rogers, Super D, Ryegate.

Fort Peck Reservoir: Big Dry Arm Fishing is not too bad. We’re getting a lot of guys fishing the mudlines and doing pretty well. On nicer days, people are trolling in 15-plus feet of water. On cooler, cloudy days, people are catching fish in less than 15 feet of water. Quite a few of 4-7 pound walleyes were caught. If an angler finds a weedbed, they’ll catch northerns. — Tren Schriver, Rock Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir: Dam Area Fishing is good. Walleyes are biting in 7-20 feet of water with jigs and minnows or jigs and leeches. There is good lake trout fishing in 75-110 feet of water. The lake trout are running up to 20 pounds and biting on squids, flashers and flutter spoons. There are some good northerns coming out of the dredge cuts and the lake. Smallmouth fishing is picking up, too. — Gene Moore, Lakeridge Motel, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir: Fourchette Bay One guy from Malta came in and said they caught the heck out of the northerns. They were pulling crankbaits. The group caught eight northerns with the smallest being 8 pounds and the biggest 16 pounds. — Robert Twiford, Malta Marine.

Fort Peck Reservoir: Hell Creek Fishing is starting to pick up. There are good quantities of nice-sized walleyes being caught. Plugs, bottom bouncers and jigs are working. Fish in 10-30 feet of water for walleyes. Anglers are catching northerns off the bank. — Greg Osborn, Hell Creek Marina, Jordan.

Gallatin River Salmonfly action is pretty much done. A tremendous caddis hatch is coming off and also some yellow sallies. Larger caddis up to a size 12 would work. Tans and olives would be your best bet. Have those in sizes 12-18. A little yellow stimulator in size 16 or 14 would match the yellow sallies. — Sean Blaine, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir Since the weekend, fishing is pretty poor. As far as daytime fishing goes, it is pretty slow. — Terry McArdle, Townsend Marine.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir Kokanee fishing is slow with a few being caught in the early morning hours. The best bet for kokanee is trolling cowbells with a wedding ring and maggot combo. — Troy Humphrey, Helena Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Holter Reservoir Walleye fishing continues to be very good around Cottonwood Creek and Oxbow Bend. Orange or green jigs with a leech or worm harness seem to be producing the walleye, especially in the evening. Perch fishing is good in these areas, as well. Rainbow fishing is fair with a few being caught while trolling near Split Rock or Cottonwood Creek in deeper waters. Try trolling cowbells for some rainbow action. — Troy Humphrey, Helena Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Madison River: Ennis Caddis are working early in the morning until about noon. In the afternoons, fish wet nymphs. Right at dark anglers are switching to dry flies. Mostly attractor and caddis patterns are working in the evenings. — Glen Gallentine, The Tackle Shop, Ennis.

Madison River: Lower The water has been really warm. Fish early mornings, late afternoons or early evenings for the best results. It seems like right before dark is the best time to fish. Caddis and PMDs are the best flies. Caddis (14-16) in olive and tan colors will work. The X caddis is my favorite. A Spent Partridge caddis will also work. — Sean Blaine, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Madison River: Upper It is still fishing really well. Right now the salmon fly hatch is just finishing. Small caddis and little golden stones are coming off. — Bob Jacklin, Jacklin’s Fly Shop, West Yellowstone.

Martinsdale Reservoir They are catching a few from smaller boats. From shore, anglers weren’t having any luck over the weekend. — Mint Bar, Martinsdale.

Missouri River: Below Holter It is fishing well and was running at 3030 cfs Tuesday. Caddis and PMDs are on the water. Elk-hair caddis (12-16) and PMD transitional (16-18) should work. Try PMD parachutes (14-16), MFGs and Super Flash pheasant tails in size 16-18. — Garry Stocker, Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Musselshell River: Lower There is enough water to fish. The water is clearing up. One kid came in the store with a 4-plus pound smallmouth bass. — Tracy Goffena, Roundup General Store.

Nelson Reservoir Fishing is good. Some are using crawler harnesses and some are jigging. One angler caught a 30-inch walleye jigging with a crawler last week. Some are pulling crankbaits. — Robert Twiford, Malta Marine.

Smith River It is unfloatable with 97 cfs of flow Tuesday morning. — Garry Stocker, Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Spring Creek It is running fairly well. They are still using olive caddis, olive midges and olive caddis emergers. — Charlie Pfau, Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River: Lower It’s at the 1700 cfs range and dropping. The river has some color from the Rosebud, but is in good shape. Dry fly fishing in the morning has been very good. Try Jack Cabes, caddis and stimulators. During the heat of the day, go deep with caddis emergers, pheasant tails and gold princes. Fireman’s Point down to the Yellowstone has some great bugger fishing in the evening. — Jim Yeager, Outdoor Supply of Columbus.

Stillwater River: Upper It is clear and the volume varies about an inch a day. Royal Wulffs, humpies, stimulators and Jack Cabes have been working all day. Nymphing with hare’s ears, pheasant tails and Copper John reds has been working during the day. In the evening, there are good caddis hatches. — Glenn West, Rainbow Run Fly Shop, Billings.

Tongue River Reservoir Most guys aren’t catching any walleyes. Anglers are catching crappies by the thousands. Every sixth or seventh crappie is a keeper. Anglers are also catching plenty of smallmouth, with one over 5 pounds. An occasional northern has been caught. — Rex Martin, Quik Sak, Sheridan.

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Yellowstone National Park Things are slowing a little bit on the Madison River and Firehole. The best fishing is in the evenings with rusty spinners and small caddis on the Madison. — Bob Jacklin, Jacklin’s Fly Shop, West Yellowstone.

Yellowstone River: Billings Catfish are really biting well around Custer. Fish the Yellowstone River or the Bighorn River for good numbers. The bait of choice seems to be larger minnows or cut bait. — Will Suralski, Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Yellowstone River: Columbus Plan on getting on the river as early as possible, because fishing will slow down by mid-afternoon. Warm water temperatures have caused trout to move into the riffles. Early morning action is good with big attractor dry flies. Jack Cabes and big stimulators are taking some nice rainbows. Stripping or dead drifting buggers has been very effective. Nymph fishing has been fair with the bigger nymphs, bitch creeks, golden stones and size 8-10 princes. — Jim Yeager, Outdoor Supply of Columbus.

Yellowstone River: Laurel Fishing is dead. — Tom Canape, Laurel Sport Center.

Yellowstone River: Livingston The river is fishing fairly well. The flow was 4400 cfs Tuesday. We’ve seen a number of caddis anywhere from size 14-18. Some little yellow sallies are on the water, as are golden stones. The middle of the day is pretty good and in the evening the fish are rising on the smaller caddis. — Eric Adams, Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop, Livingston.

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Bighorn Mountains/Cloud Peak Wilderness Area The wilderness lakes and Tiehack Reservoir are all fishing really well. Use bubble and flies on the lakes. Even the guys fly fishing from shore are getting into fish. Anglers fishing worms off of bobbers are doing good, too. The creeks are low, but are fun to fly fish. — Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishin’, Buffalo.

Bighorn River There is a lot of moss in the water. As a result, it’s hard fishing. But the fish are in there and they are hungry. Drifting night crawlers or fly fishing is the best because of the moss. — Ken Johnson, Canyon Sporting Goods, Thermopolis.

Boysen Reservoir Fishing has been decent. The Governor’s Cup was last weekend. An 11-pound walleye was the biggest fish caught during the event. One 9-pounder and a couple 7-pound walleyes were caught. Anglers were pulling plugs, such as Shad Raps, Wally Divers and Frenzies. The fish were suspended in the middle of the lake. Anything flashy could work. Green, red or blue, all matched with silver, are good colors. Before the Governor’s Cup, a 15-pound, 3-ounce, walleye was caught by Brian Creamer of Thermopolis. — Troy Hackett, Boysen Lake Marina.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir It is fishing well. Throw gold and silver spoons and Rapalas. — Scott Aune, Absaroka Angler, Cody.

Clarks Fork It is fishing well. On the upper end, use attractors, caddis and PMDs. On the lower end, use stoneflies, PMDs and caddis. — Scott Aune, Absaroka Angler, Cody.

Keyhole Reservoir They are still catching mainly walleyes and northerns. Guys are throwing big Rapalas from a boat into the bank and bringing them back. There is also plenty of crappie being caught. — Rex Martin, Quik Sak, Sheridan.

Lake DeSmet Anglers are catching plenty of rainbows. Try tossing marshmallows, worms or Power Bait from the bank. Some are bank fishing and others are pulling cowbells, Rapalas or streamer flies from a boat. — Rex Martin, Quik Sak, Sheridan.

Middle Fork Powder River The water is really low. It is a hot, hard hike and there isn’t much water in the river. — Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishin’, Buffalo.

North Fork of the Shoshone It is fishing really good. There are caddis, yellow sallies and flavs are on the water. — Scott Aune, Absaroka Angler, Cody.

Ten Sleep Creek The creek is fishable. Most of the rest of the smaller creeks look like it is August. Anglers are using an assortment of stuff, like irresistibles, humpies, caddis and mayflies. Paint Rock Creek is fishing good and anglers are doing well using a Rio Grande HW, H & L Variant and caddis flies. I haven’t seen any hoppers while I’ve been fishing, but I’m fishing hopper patterns with good success. — Melanie Stine, The Outdoorsman, Worland. The Billings Gazette Fishing Report runs each Thursday in The Billings Gazette, MontanaFlyline and the Gazette Online. For comments or questions, contact Gazette outdoor editor Mark Henckel at (406) 657-1395, or

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