The cool weather that has been moving across the state has slowed the runoff and allowed for more days of fishing on the state's blue-ribbon trout streams.
As a double plus, the cooler weather has brought rain and even snow in some places. On many rivers in the state the Mother's Day caddis hatch is upon us, so fly fishermen can feast in that knowledge.
The general fishing season will open May 17 in Montana and last until Nov. 30. Anglers can look forward to fishing many of the state's smaller creeks and streams.
On another note, walleye action is reportedly picking up at Fort Peck Reservoir.
Here's The Gazette's weekly Fishing Guide:
Montana Ackley Lake — The water has come way up and it is just brown. Fishing is slow. — Dave Snyder, Don's, Lewistown.
Bighorn Lake — The lake was at 3,577.7 feet Tuesday morning. We are 2 feet, 5 inches from fishing. The flows are 1,446 cfs in and 1,204 cfs out. With a little warm weather the reservoir could fill up quickly. — Scott Lundin, Osprey Fin/Feather Supply, Billings.
Bighorn River — The cfs at the Afterbay was 1,303 Tuesday and at St. Xavier it was 1,310. For dry flies, use parachute Adams (size 16-20), CDC BWO (16-18) and Griffith's gnats (16-20). For nymphs, use BWO Wonder nymphs (16-18), black quill nymphs (16-18), olive pheasant tails (16-18) and thread-midge larva (18). — Justin Wiseman, Bighorn Fly and Tackle, Billings.
Boulder River — The upper end is low and clear. The lower end is still stained from rainwater. It has a lot of caddis and baetis on it. Beadhead princes, rubber-legged hare's ears and beadhead pheasant tails (sizes 14-16) will work. — Jim McCall, Rainbow Run Fly Shop, Billings.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir — Rainbow fishing has been hit and miss throughout the reservoir for shore and boat fishermen. Most of the bank action is around Shannon and Cave Bay with worms and marshmallows or flies. Walleye fishing remains slow. — Eric Roberts, Steve Dalbey, Helena Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Castle Rock Lake — People that are fishing are reporting it's kind of slow. The water should warm up with warmer days. — Scott Lundin, Osprey Fin/Feather Supply, Billings.
Cooney Reservoir — The water has cleared some. As of Tuesday it still hasn't gone over the spillway. We need the water and weather to warm up to go fishing. Some people are starting to try leeches and reporting fair results. — Scott Lundin, Osprey Fin/Feather Supply, Billings.
Deadman's Basin — The cold weather slowed fishing down a little bit. Try worms and marshmallows. — Bob Rogers, Super D, Ryegate.
Fort Peck Reservoir: Big Dry Arm — The marina will be open Thursday for the duration of the season. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. One guy in the Tough Man fished the Big Dry Arm and had good success on walleye Saturday. — Bill Schriver, Rock Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir: Dam Area — The Big Dry Arm is still producing some nice big walleyes. Use jigs and minnows. Try pitching into shore and pulling it back in 7-18 feet of water. Lindy Rigs with bigger minnows are also working. The lake trout are biting at Grave and Bell points, Bear Creek and the face of the dam. Fish anywhere from 20-35 feet deep. Use deep-diving cranks and Evil Eye flutter spoons. A handful of salmon were caught last week and they ran from 5-8 pounds. — Gene Moore, Lakeridge Motel, Fort Peck.
Fort Peck Reservoir: Fourchette Bay — Walleye fishing is pretty good. Try jigging with a minnow. Use a slow presentation. The water is 54 degrees at Timber Creek and is 58 degrees at Fourchette. — Robert Twiford, Malta Marine.
Fort Peck Reservoir: Hell Creek — Fishing is good. Walleye fishing is hot, smallmouth is outstanding and northern fishing is good. Jigs and minnows are working. Fishing by the narrows would be good. The water temperature ranges from the upper 50s to low 60s in the narrows. Around Timber Creek it is in the mid 50s. In Hell Creek the temps are in the upper 40s to low 50s. Watch the weather, the Hell Creek Road has a couple of bad spots that were recently worked on and haven't been graveled yet. — Joe Herbold, Hell Creek Bar, Jordan.
Fresno Reservoir — Nobody has been out due to the poor weather. — Howard Stromberg, Stromberg Sinclair, Havre.
Gallatin River — It is pretty off-color. Fish above the Taylor's Fork. — Josh Stanish, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Hauser Reservoir — Cold weather has kept most anglers home. Those out reported fishing is slow. A few walleye are being caught at the Causeway, but walleye fishing remains very slow after the spawn. For rainbows, try from Riverside to Hauser Dam and fish worms, spinners and spoons. — Eric Roberts, Steve Dalbey, Helena Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Hebgen Lake — Fishing is good when the weather is decent. The fish being caught are healthy. Try fishing black buggers and purple or black leech patterns (size 6). — Jonathan Heames, Jacklin's Fly Shop, West Yellowstone.
Holter Reservoir — The number of rainbows cruising the shorelines declined the past week. Some large rainbows are being caught at the boat ramp at Log Gulch and at Departure Point and at Black Beach. Worms and spinners are working, along with black woolly buggers. — Eric Roberts, Steve Dalbey, Helena Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Madison River: Ennis — There is some caddis action on the lower Madison. Use a peacock caddis and trail a soft-hackle pheasant tail. The caddis action should hit the upper stretch soon. Use nymphs on the upper end, like big streamers and woolly buggers with a dropper. There is some midge and baetis action. Try a little parachute Adams (size 18) or a light caddis. A Griffith's gnat will pick up fish. — Glen Gallentine, The Tackle Shop, Ennis.
Madison River: Lower — It is starting to fish real well. We are seeing baetis and caddis. If we can get warm weather, the Mother's Day hatch should blow up here. — Josh Stanish, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Missouri River: Below Holter — It was running 4,200 cfs Tuesday. It is fishing all right. There are some baetis. Use a parachute Adams and parachute baetis. Nymphing has been good, too. Use pink scuds, lightning bugs and MFGs. — Garry Stocker, Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River: Fred Robinson Bridge — I heard the paddlefish are running good. Some guys even caught them right at the bridge. — Robert Twiford, Malta Marine.
Missouri River: Williston, N.D. — The number of paddlefish caught was slightly more than 300 by Tuesday. The largest paddlefish taken weighed 95 pounds. Most of the action is either at the pumphouse on the Missouri or at the confluence of the Missouri and the Yellowstone. — David Pederson, Scenic Sports, Williston, N.D.
Musselshell River: Lower — The river is pretty high and the water is starting to clear up. The fishing should be OK. They aren't letting water into Deadman's now. — Tracy Goffena, Roundup General Store.
Nelson Reservoir — It is still kind of slow. Anglers caught some fish Saturday when the weather was beautiful. Anglers jigged with minnows Saturday. Use a slow presentation. The walleyes are 15- to 16-inch males. The water temperature is 58-60 degrees. Any day, fishing should take off. — Robert Twiford, Malta Marine.
Rock Creek — At Red Lodge the cfs was 54 Tuesday. For dries use Royal Wulffs (size 14-16), humpies (14-16) and caddis (14-18). For nymphs, use anything beadhead. — Justin Wiseman, Bighorn Fly and Tackle, Billings.
Spring Creek — There has been so much moisture and rain, the creek is high, fast and muddy. A few guys are using Panther Martins and Mepps and doing OK. — Dave Snyder, Don's, Lewistown.
Stillwater River: Lower — Fishing is very good. We're getting a great afternoon caddis and March brown hatch, which lasts well into the evening. The Rosebud might be dumping a little color into the river, but it is still very fishable. Nymphing is good. Use a Copper John, pheasant tail and gold princes. Below Fireman's Point, bugger fishing has been fair. — Jim Yeager, Outdoor Supply, Columbus.
Stillwater River: Upper — It is clear and has actually come down a little due to cold weather. There has been a ton of caddis, March browns and baetis. Dry fly fishing has been really good. Also, beadhead droppers have been working. A beadhead prince, March brown spider and hare's ear (all in size 14-16) will work. — Jim McCall, Rainbow Run Fly Shop, Billings.
Tongue River Reservoir —Crappie action is really good. Most people in boats are limiting out. Try jigs and minnows for all species. The store and campground are fully operational. Blair Gustafson of Sheridan, Wyo., caught a 9 1/2-pound, 30-inch long walleye on a Ugly Bug and a minnow. Larry and Lynn Deeds of Sheridan, Wyo., caught 5- and 6-pound walleyes using worms and minnows. Jay and Beth Manthei of Sheridan, Wyo., limited out on crappie using minnows. — Keith Cooley, Tongue River Resort Marina.
Yellowstone River: Billings — Anglers can catch all the catfish they want. Target the diversions. Some guys are using large minnows. Others are reporting real good luck on fresh- cut bait. A few ling and walleyes are being caught. — Scott Lundin, Osprey Fin/Feather Supply, Billings.
Yellowstone River: Columbus — It just cleared up, so fishing should start getting good. March browns and caddis are coming off and trout are starting to look up. Fishermen using bigger nymphs and buggers are doing good hitting the bank. — Jim Yeager, Outdoor Supply, Columbus.
Yellowstone River: Livingston — Fishing is good. The Mother's Day caddis hatch has kind of been slowed by the colder days, but the colder days have kept the river fishable. There are also good numbers of March browns and baetis on cold, overcast days. — Alex Nixon, Dan Bailey's Fly Shop, Livingston.
Northern Wyoming Bighorn River — The river is clearing up. Anglers are doing fairly well with crawlers. BWOs are coming off and anglers are starting to use parachute Adams. San Juan Worms are also taking fish. Panther Martins are working. — Ken Johnson, Canyon Sporting Goods, Thermopolis.
Boysen Reservoir — The trout are pretty cooperative for boat and shore fishermen. Anglers are catching a few walleyes. Use jigs and minnows or jigs and crawlers for walleyes. Fish the bays where the water is a little warmer. Most of the walleyes are in 3-5 feet of water. — Gary Hackett, Boysen Lake Marina.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir — It is still fishing very good for rainbows and cutbows. It has been rainy and cold and the weather has been chilly, but that hasn't affected fishing. Try Rapalas. For springtime lake trout, use jigs and sucker meat. — Denny Benson, Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Clarks Fork — In the Canyon Stretch, this weekend was clear and fishable. Use stonefly nymphs and trail a smaller nymph. — Johnnie Stafford, Absaroka Angler, Cody.
Clear Creek — Through town it is up, but it is still clear. Use a small Panther Martin or Mepps. Bait in the holes will also work. — Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishin', Buffalo.
East Newton Lake — Fishing is getting better. The rainbows have just about wrapped up their spawn and the fish are feeding more actively. Blood midges, or any midge pattern in size 16-18, will work. If there is a wind chop late in the evening use a streamer. — Johnnie Stafford, Absaroka Angler, Cody.
Healy Reservoir — Guys are fishing in float tubes and doing well. Try midges in the evenings. Little black gnats and little black stoneflies are working. Woolly buggers and beadheads are still producing. — Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishin', Buffalo.
Keyhole Reservoir — Fishing has been pretty good. The Wyoming Walleye Circuit is having a tournament here Saturday and Sunday. The water temperature is just over 50. Quite a few northerns, some healthy walleyes and nice crappies are being landed. — Dennis Tebeau, Keyhole Marina.
Lake DeSmet — The water is coming up and people are starting to launch their boats. The fish are ranging from 15-17 1/2 inches off the South Dam. Use beadhead nymphs or bait off the bottom. — Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishin', Buffalo.
North Fork of the Shoshone — The river has cleared and where it is open to fishing is fishing well with big stonefly nymphs, yuk bugs, halfbacks and girdle bugs. Black woolly buggers are also taking fish. Fishing will be day to day due to weather conditions. — Johnnie Stafford, Absaroka Angler, Cody.
Ten Sleep Creek — It has come up a little bit but is fishable. Fish above Canyon Creek. Nymphs are working good. Try a girdle bug or bitchcreek. Paint Rock Creek has come up a little, but it is still fishable. At Paint Rock, use Rio Grand King hare wings. — Melanie Stine, The Outdoorsman, Worland.
Tiehack Reservoir — It is starting to open up. It would be a good time to fish off the dam with worms. — Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishin', Buffalo.
For comments or questions, contact Gazette outdoor editor Mark Henckel at (406) 657-1395, or firstname.lastname@example.org