Salmonflies are working their way upriver above Ennis on the Madison, which is expected to trigger a giant hatch of drift boats and rafts in the coming weeks.
The Madison attracts big numbers of fishermen anyway, but the salmonflies on this river are a huge draw and a special treat for anglers. To avoid the crowds, fish up above the hatch with big, dark stonefly nymphs or hit the tail end of the hatch area. The trout will still be looking up for big dry flies.
Good insect hatches are also being reported on the Smith River, the Missouri and the underwater bite remains strong on the Bighorn.
Walleye anglers have been plagued by strong winds that have made getting out on the water difficult in the past week, but are catching fish when they can get out on Fort Peck, Nelson and Canyon Ferry reservoirs.
Here's the weekly Gazette fishing report:
Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains: Action on lakes is picking up. Mystic Lake is fishing well. It's been hit and miss with storms. — Mike Segota, Suds n' Bugs Fly and Tackle, Columbus.
Ackley Lake: Water levels are high. Fishing is off a little bit. — Charlie Pfau, Don's, Lewistown.
Bighorn Lake: Perch are biting fairly well on small minnows, with some nice ones being caught. A 17-inch crappie was caught in Black Canyon. Smallmouth bass are biting well. Bass are keying on crayfish. Only a few walleyes being caught. — Will Suralski, Minnow Bucket, Huntley.
Bighorn River: Fishing is good with dun-colored and tan Ray Charles in size 16 to 18 and a size 20 midge pupa in red and black. No major hatches coming off. Streamers are also working. Sowbugs and scuds always work. — Tom Osen, Bighorn Fly and Tackle.
Boulder River: Yellow and green stimulators and big nymphs are producing like beadhead copper Johns, beadhead hare's ears and stonefly nymphs. — Shelley Yeager, Rainbow Run Fly Shop.
Castle Rock Lake: Bluegills are up in the shallows. Fishing is good for bluegills and walleyes. — Scott Lundin, Osprey Realty.
Canyon Ferry: Most walleye action has been off pond 4 and pond 1 in 12-15 feet of water. Bottom bouncers with a crawler harness has been working best. People are also doing well trolling cranks off Hole in the Wall. Rainbow fishing has been good trolling cranks between Hole in the Wall and White Earth. The Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival is this weekend, so recreational boaters might want to avoid the Silos. — Eric Roberts, FWP, Helena.
Cooney Reservoir: Anglers are doing well when they can fish. Winds have slowed them down. Leeches are your best bet. Bank fishermen are doing well in the evenings. — Scott Lundin, Osprey Realty.
Deadman's Basin: Fishing is good. Rapalas are working well and bank fishing with worms is good. No reports of tiger muskies being caught. — Garlynn Buffington, Super D, Ryegate.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: A lot of small walleyes being caught on worm harnesses. The Montana PikeMasters are holding a pike tournament on June 24-25. For entry info, contact the marina at (406) 485-2560. — Jane Bowles, Rock Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Dam area: Fishing is really good when the wind quits blowing. Fish are in 12 to 25 feet of water and everything is working. Jigs, bottom bouncers, Lindy rigs are all producing. The river is fishing good in the evenings for sauger and walleye. Lake trout are down 70 to 80 feet and biting well on Evil Eye flutter spoons. — Gene Moore, Lakeridge, Fort Peck.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek: Walleyes are biting well with some big ones being caught. Jigs and minnows are producing. Anglers have had a lot of wind to contend with. Spinner rigs are also starting to work with leeches and crawlers. — Jenny Hilderman, Hell Creek Marina.
Fresno Reservoir: Northerns and walleyes are being caught. A lot of small northern pike. Not great numbers of walleyes. A lot of wind. — Howard Stromberg, Stromberg Sinclair, Havre.
Gallatin River: Although not quite as high as it was, the Gallatin is still pretty off color except for the creek inlets. If you really want to fish this thing you are going to need to go above the Taylors Fork and hope for the best. — Kris Kumlien, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Hauser Reservoir: Rainbows are being caught in the Causeway or near the El Dorado powerlines in the morning. The rainbows have moved to deeper water and anglers are having success while trolling deep-diving Rapalas or spinners. Shore fishing has been slow. — Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena.
Holter Reservoir: Rainbow fishing is fair in the Split Rock area. Most rainbow action has been from trolling deep with cowbells and a wedding ring tipped with a crawler. Shore fishing has been slow. The walleye bite is picking up around shoreline and bay areas. Jigs and leeches are working best. — Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Madison River: Salmonflies are working their way upriver above Ennis. Fishing is good beneath the surface with big dark stonefly patterns. Hatch is done on the lower Madison. — Kris Kumlien, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Missouri River, Below Holter: Hare's ear parachutes in 16 and 18, PMDs, CDC parachutes, baetis are all producing. Beadhead pheasant tails and MFGs are also producing. PMDs are hatching hot and heavy. Caddis are also on the water. — Joan Stocker, Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Some paddlefish are still being caught. Water is flowing muddy and a bit high. — Charlie Pfau, Don's, Lewistown.
Nelson Reservoir: Jigs and worm harnesses are working. Leeches and crawlers are the best baits. Walleyes are being caught here, there and everywhere. Bring your mosquito spray. — Melissa Lundstrom, Westside Sports, Malta.
Smith River: Golden stimulators and golden stones are working. Brown and lime drakes are also fishing well along with a variety of underwater fare. Caddis are also hatching. Bugmeisters in 10 and 12 are another good choice. — Joan Stocker, Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Spring Creek: Beadhead princes, hare's ears, copper Johns and San Juan worms. A little baetis hatch is coming off on the lower creek. — Charlie Pfau, Don's, Lewistown.
Stillwater River, Lower: Fishing is good with small streamers, red and yellow stimulators and golden stones. Bitch creek nymphs are also producing. — Mike Segota, Suds n' Bugs Fly and Tackle, Columbus.
Stillwater River, Upper: It's fishing good with beadhead red copper Johns, beadhead princes, stonefly nymphs and for dries, caddis and yellow and green stimulators are producing. Golden stones and yellow sallies are also working well. — Shelley Yeager, Rainbow Run Fly Shop.
Tongue River Reservoir: If the weather settles down, the crappies will start biting again. Walleye fishing is spotty. — Will Suralski, Minnow Bucket, Huntley.
Yellowstone River, Columbus: It's clearing around the edges. Muddler minnows, black and olive woolly buggers and rubber-leg patterns are working for fly fishermen.
Yellowstone River, Huntley: Smallmouth bass are starting to bite with fish up to 2 pounds being caught. Floating a worm is a good tactic. Catfish action is steady. — Will Suralski, Minnow Bucket, Huntley.
Yellowstone River: Livingston: Won't be fishable for a couple of weeks yet. — Kris Kumlien, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Bighorn Mountains creeks: Beadhead nymphs are producing as are Panther Martins and Rooster Tail spinners. Halfbacks and stimulators are other good fly choices. — Sheri Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo, Wyo.
Boysen Reservoir: Walleye fishing is good. Work the weeds with crankbaits. Flame Rip Shads were the crankbait of choice in a tourney held last weekend. A 9.94-pound walleye was the biggest and was caught by Terry Meyers and Lonny Alksinitis. First place went to Ray Rintamaki and Pat Brown, of Lander, with a total weight of 35.38 pounds. — Collette Hackett, Boysen Lake Marina.
Buffalo Bill: The lake is fishing well with trolling the best tactic. Anglers have been catching a lot of lake trout in the upper 10 feet of water while fishing for rainbows. — Robert Crooks, www.stillwatertrout.com.
Clarks Fork: Dropping but still pretty off color. — Robert Crooks,
Keyhole Reservoir: Walleyes are hitting on bottom bouncers and worm harnesses. Crappies are biting well on little jigs and tails or jigs and little minnows. Big spoons are taking pike. — Dennis Tebeau, Keyhole Marina.
Lake DeSmet: Fishing is slow. Trout are very deep. — Sheri Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo.
Muddy Guard reservoirs: On No. 1, midge pupas, olive scuds and copper Johns are good fly choices. On No. 2, silver Panther Martins and Jake's Lures and Rooster tails are good lure choices. — Sheri Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo, Wyo.
North Fork Shoshone: Still high. Runoff appears to have peaked and things will only improve from now on. — Robert Crooks.
Shoshone River: River is high but fishable. Water clarity is margina. — Robert Crooks,
Tie Hack Reservoir: Renegades and irresistibles are good fly patterns these days. Adams are also taking some trout. — Sheri Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo, Wyo.
Gazette outdoor editor Mark Henckel can be contacted at 657-1395 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.