While runoff continues on many of the region’s freestone rivers, there are plenty of options for anglers to try their luck this week.
The big news is there is no longer a salmonfly watch on the Big Hole River, as the insects are now there.
Another river that is fishing well is the Bighorn. On the famed river, anglers are having success using nymphs and streamers.
And to top it off, on the whole Fort Peck Reservoir is fishing well.
Here’s this week’s fishing report:
Bighorn River — Flows are on the rise and the river is currently running at 8,250 cubic feet per second. The bump in flows has raised the water temps into the mid-50s, which has brought on some great fishing. Nymphing has been excellent, and the streamer fishing is really turning on. We don't expect flows to be up for a long duration. Best patterns this week include: Carpet Bug, Jellybean Sowbug, Softhackle Ray Charles, Wire Worm, Chenille 2 tone worm, Sparkle Minnows and any other Shiner type or white streamers. — Bighorn Angler, Fort Smith.
Big Hole River — The big bugs have arrived. There are salmonflies from Glen up to Lower Maiden Rock. In this stretch, there is consistent action on salmonfly dries. Fishing a bigger salmonfly dry alone or with a stonefly nymph dropper is a good bet. Clarity is around 4 feet and the flows are holding steady at around 2,600 cfs. As water temps continue to rise, expect more salmonflies from Maiden Rock upstream. Now is prime time to send your big foam bugs under the willows. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir — Rainbow trout are being caught from shore near the Silos and throughout the north end of the reservoir on jigs tipped with worms. Walleye and a few yellow perch are being caught throughout the reservoir trolling worm harnesses, crankbaits, and Slow Death rigs in 12 to 25 feet of water. Walleye and perch are being caught from shore throughout the reservoir with jigs tipped with worms in 10 to 40 feet of water. — FWP, Helena.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Crooked Creek — Anglers are experiencing success at Fishermen’s Point, Lost Creek, Ghost Coulee, Fourchette, and past Fourchette. The 16- to 24-inch walleye are in 8 to 11 feet of water. Pull a purple Smile Blade worm harness with purple beads and a bottom bouncer. Purple jigs with a green belly are also working. Crawlers are the best bait. A lot of crappie are also being boated while jigging. Drum are hitting bottom bouncers. Bank fishing for pike has slowed down. But, some anglers are reeling in catfish and crappie from shore. — Crooked Creek Marina.
Hebgen Lake — Boaters are still catching nice trout about 9-15 feet down in the water about 30-50 yards offshore. Gold/red or gold/yellow spoons are working well. The trout pattern spoon will work well also, as will night crawlers. Water levels have risen. It is now about two feet to full pool, easy to get into the lake and access good fishing spots. — Kirkwood Resort & Marina.
Ackley Lake — Big, musky lures by Mepps are working for tiger muskie from shore or boat. Some are trolling size 18 Rapalas. Shore anglers are using herring. A few fat trout have been reeled in. The tiger muskie derby is Saturday. Registration is onsite from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. To enter the derby, it is a $20 donation per adult and $10 per youth. The donation will go to the Ackley Lake Club. The Ackley Lake Club performs maintenance at the park. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Beaverhead River — Fishing is starting to become really consistent. There are PMDs and Yellow Sallies out. Pheasant Tail patterns will work. Sowbugs are good in the mornings. Worm patterns are a good bet. One can also try Split Backs. Poindexter Slough is fishing well for those who want to wade fish. — Frontier Anglers, Dillon.
Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh — Smallmouth bass are still biting. Try crankbaits and Gitzit Tubes. Some big crappie were being caught around the floating docks. — Scheels, Billings.
Boulder River — The river is quite high due to the warm weather, but the forecast this week calls for cooler temperatures. This cool down should allow the flows to decrease, hopefully enough to make weekend fishing available. Assuming the river clears and drops, large stonefly nymphs (rubber legs, Golden Stone, Prince Nymphs) and San Juan Worms should do the trick. — Sweetcast Angler, Big Timber.
Cooney Reservoir — The North Shore Boat Ramp and the Overlook are open. The Red Lodge Arm campground is partially open. The rest of the park is closed. Harvested walleye have been full of leeches. Perch are hitting by the Red Lodge Arm day use area and walleye are active near Fisherman’s Point. Trout fishing is slow. — Cooney State Park.
Deadman’s Basin — Action is picking up. Present worms or PowerBait from shore. From boat, try trolling a Panther Martin or Rapala and change colors until you find a pattern the trout are hitting. The basin is full. At Broadview Pond, some anglers have done well and others haven’t. — Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm — Anglers did well on northerns and walleye. Smallmouth bass are also biting. Worms or leeches seem to be the best bait. Anglers fishing for bass were trolling slowly. The walleye bite seems to be best the further north one goes from the marina. Some had success in the Spring Creek area. — Rock Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area — Lake trout action is really good in 70 to 100 feet of water. Walleye and pike action is a little on the slow side. Some walleye and northerns are being caught in shallow water to 25 feet of water. Try bottom bouncers and crawlers. You can also pull crankbaits or pitch jigs. Some smallmouth are being caught by pike and walleye anglers. Try fishing near the rock piles and pitch jigs; cast a crankbait or drop shot a minnow or plastic. — Lakeridge Lodging & Bait Shop.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek — It is fishing well. By Snow and Timber creeks, walleye, pike, and perch are biting. Most anglers are jigging. Minnows, worms, and leeches are all working. — Hell Creek Marina.
Gallatin River — It looks like chocolate milk, and we are probably still a few weeks out from prime time. If you do feel as if you need to be on the Gallatin, try big Woolly Buggers, big stones, or streamers worked tight to the banks in the soft water. Or, make the trek to the upper portions in the park. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Hauser Reservoir — Rainbows are being caught from shore at Riverside below Canyon Ferry Dam while drifting jigs with a worm. Rainbows are being caught around the El Dorado dredge piles while trolling cowbells. Walleye are being caught at the Causeway Bridge and in the Causeway on perch Rapalas or jigs with a leech. — FWP, Helena.
Holter Reservoir — Shore fishing for rainbows is slow. Boat anglers are finding rainbows while trolling cowbells around the Oxbow Bend and from Split Rock to the dam. Walleye are being caught on jigs and worms in the canyon in upper Holter around Mann Gulch and also in lower Holter around Indian Trail and the Boat Loft. Perch fishing has picked up around Log Gulch and the docks at the boat ramps. — FWP, Helena.
Madison River, Lower — The lower river has been on a steady rise the last couple of days. This will most likely make wade fishing a bit tougher than it has been over the last week with plenty of water coming out of the dam. For the week to come, it looks as though we will have a resurgence of summer weather, which should bring the caddis back. The fish will be feeding on dries more in the mornings and evenings, but along the banks there is action throughout the day with a small Chubby or a March brown. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Madison River, Upper — The upper river has been fishing well this last week with the fairly consistent flows. It's currently running at 1,900 cfs with water temps in the mid to upper 40s in the morning with a steady warming to the upper 50s by the end of the day. Down lower, fish your big stones, big caddis pupa, and streamers. Keep an eye out for caddis popping throughout the day and into the evening. An olive Elk-Hair Caddis will get the job done for the rising fish. The river is pretty muddy. Nymphing has been the most consistent producer with worms, stones, and smaller mayfly nymphs being the best options. There are also some caddis up this way, so keep an eye on the soft water and you may be rewarded with some great dry fly fishing. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Martinsdale Reservoir — Anglers continue to catch trout from bank and boat. Use cowbells from the boat. From shore, try crawlers and PowerBait. — Ray’s Sport and Western Wear, Harlowton.
Missouri River, below Holter — Nymph fishing has been effective. PMD and caddis are out, but the fish aren’t keying on them yet. The flow is 6,160 cfs and the temps are 58 degrees as of Monday. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge — It is dropping and just starting to clear. Catfish action is OK on crawlers, minnows, or stink bait. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Nelson Reservoir — It has been fishing well for walleye. A lot of northerns are being caught. Worms have been the bait of choice. — Westside Sports, Malta.
Rock Creek — With runoff in full swing, your best bet would be to focus on the water south of Red Lodge. The Main Fork, West Fork, and Lake Fork are all good options. Although the forks are high, there will be clean, fishable water. Recommended flies include a mixture of both dry flies and nymphs. San Juan Worms, stonefly nymphs, and attractor nymphs are all good bets. Attractor flies such as Purple Haze, stimulators, and Humpys will also get the job done. Extreme caution is still urged when wading. — East Rosebud Fly Shop, Billings.
Spring Creek — It is clear and fishing well. Yellow Sallies, Hare’s Ears, and Prince Nymphs are working. Hanson Dam is producing trout on a regular basis. Use crawlers and PowerBait. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Stillwater River — Flows have been fluctuating in response to weather patterns. When the river is on the drop below the 4,000 cfs range, it’s still on the high side and swift, but the upper river has generally been clear enough to fish. Fish the very edge seams. Nymphing continues to be the best option. Use black, brown and coffee rubber leg patterns (Girdle Bugs and Pat’s Rubber Legs), or a San Juan Worm as well as similar colored stonefly patterns and a beadhead trailer fly (Prince Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Batman or Pheasant Tail). In off-color water, use a color contrast of darker patterns like black Buggers or the Grinch either dead drifted or stripped. It’s also time to start fishing big dry flies like a Chubby or PMX with a beadhead dropper in the softer inside water. The river will likely continue to fluctuate in response to temperatures and rain events for a while yet. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Tiber Reservoir — It is fishing well for walleye and perch. The walleye are in the drop-offs where the edge of the grass is near the shorelines. Bottom bouncing a crawler is effective. Perch are being caught along with the walleye. — Ru’s Tiber Marina.
Tongue River Reservoir — A lot of largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught. Jigging a worm, minnow or leech has been producing bass. The water was muddy but is slowly clearing up. Water temps are rising and the surface water temperature was 70 degrees Monday. A few people have caught walleye recently. Try bottom bouncers and worm harnesses. Most species of fish are shallow and as a result shore anglers are doing well, with some faring better than those in boats. — Tongue River Marina.
Yellowstone River, Columbus — It is still running extremely high and off-color. It continues to be dangerous and is best to stay away completely. Search out lakes, smaller tributaries, and tailwaters until runoff subsides. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Yellowstone River, Huntley — The river is still high. There are not many boat anglers, but the bank anglers are still doing pretty well for catfish. Try minnows, cut bait or shrimp and fish pools just off the current. — Huntley Bait and Tackle.
Yellowstone River, Livingston — The cold weather dropped flows for a few days, but there still wasn’t a window. The water has come back up and is closing in on 20,000 cfs yet again. We’re still a few weeks out from consistent flows and cleaner water. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Yellowstone River, Miles City — The river is high and dirty. Catfish and shovelnose sturgeon are biting. Sturgeon are hitting crawlers. Catfish are hitting shrimp, crawlers, cut bait or stink bait. — Red Rock Sporting Goods, Miles City.
Bighorn River, Thermopolis — The flow was 5,400 cfs on Monday. The water is high and fishing is mediocre. — White Horse Country Store & Canyon Sporting Goods, Thermopolis.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir — Inflow has increased, so water clarity has gone down. Fishing has been slow, but anglers have been finding pockets of clearer water and trolling and picking up a mix of trout on spoons and crankbaits. At Beck Lake, trout fishing has been good with crawlers and PowerBait. The perch bite at New Cody Reservoir has picked up with the water warming. A small jig tipped with a crawler under a float has worked the best. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Cody-area lakes — The area rivers are blown out. At East Newton and West Newton lakes and Luce and Hogan reservoirs, Damsel Nymphs are out and the fish are keying on them. Try a scud off the Damsel nymph. An olive Zebra Midge with a copper bead, Woolly Buggers and olive or gray scuds will work. There are little black midges hatching; try a size 22 or 24 black dry midge to match. Woolly Buggers will work at Upper and Lower Sunshine Reservoirs. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Lake DeSmet — An 11-pound lake trout was boated last week. Spoons are a good option for lake trout. Quite a few people are catching rainbow from shore with PowerBait and worms. Occasionally an angler catches a walleye. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.
Upper and Lower Sunshine Reservoirs — Both lakes fished well over the weekend. Water temps are close to 60 degrees. Boat and bank anglers are doing well. Lures and crawlers are working and fly fishers are doing well, too. — Wea Market, Meeteetse.
Yellowstone National Park — The Madison and Firehole have been fishing well. Recent Baetis and PMD emergences have brought fish to the surface. Streamers and soft hackles have been good bets and several anglers fishing streamers have reported catching 16-18-inch browns in the Firehole. Overcast weather will perpetuate the PMD emergences. Make sure to have PMD Sparkle Duns and Cripples if you are going to be fishing the Firehole. Looking ahead, as the daily temperatures continue rising, caddisflies are going to become more prominent on the western side of the park. White Miller, tan Hydropsyche, and black Glossosoma caddis will all be essential trout food. It will be important to carry fly patterns in your arsenal for each of these species. Stoneflies have rebounded after cold weather shut them down. Salmonflies are still prevalent on the Madison, and fish have been very willing to eat Aaron's Summer Stone on the Gibbon. — Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.