The big news for anglers this week is that chinook salmon are starting to bite in the Pines area at Fort Peck Reservoir.
While that bite is just starting, anglers appear to be reeling in fish reservoir-wide at Fort Peck with action really strong near Crooked Creek and Fourchette Bay.
Fly-fishing enthusiasts are also beginning to use grasshoppers more and more as August rolls in.
Here’s the weekly fishing report:
Boulder River — Flows are coming down. Floating has become much more difficult, but the fishing is good. Golden stoneflies, yellow sally and pale morning duns continue to hatch, as well as small caddis flies and a few gray drakes. We've been fishing larger dries with droppers early, then switching to smaller dries later in the day. Stop in the shop for updates. — Sweetcast Angler, Big Timber.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Crooked Creek — Fishing is phenomenal. Anglers are fishing in 14 feet of water. Some have limited out on 16- to 26-inch walleyes. Most anglers are running five to 15 miles from the marina. Anderson Point is fishing well in 12 to 20 feet of water for crappie, walleye, catfish, and pike by bottom bouncing worms and leeches with a white, chartreuse, green, red or purple blade. Drum are still biting. — Crooked Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay — Fishing is hot for walleye and smallmouth bass. Target the narrows for smallmouth. Use worms and worm harnesses, or pull crankbaits. There is the occasional big northern. — Westside Sports, Malta.
Spring Creek — It is fishing well. Nymphing is your best bet, but hoppers are out so guys are using them. One can try Caddis or Mayflies as well. For nymphs, a beadhead Pheasant Tail or a Prince Nymph will work. An LBF nymph will also work. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Yellowstone River, Huntley — The river is down and has cleared up a lot. The smallmouth bite is very good. Use crankbaits and minnows. The catfish bite is strong. Use whatever bait that works best for you, as the catfish seem to be biting on everything. Also, a guy brought in a 6.5-pound northern he caught on the lower Bighorn River on Sunday. — Huntley Bait and Tackle.
Ackley Lake — A few trout were caught over the weekend, but fishing remains spotty. Try a worm and a marshmallow on the bottom. From boats, troll cowbells and worms or troll a spoon. Try crankbaits for tiger muskie. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Beaverhead River — The big trout just keep coming, and we are seeing the river come up into summer irrigation flows. Sally nymphs down deep and heavy are producing every day, with a small PMD nymph still being a great choice. Trout will also be looking for hoppers. The last hour of daylight has seen a solid caddis emergence with fish looking up. Likewise, streamer anglers are seeing action early and late with enough during the day to make it worthwhile. Crowds are down, although there are still clusters of boats and wading anglers. — Sunrise Fly Shop, Melrose.
Big Hole River — Flows are approaching the 500 cfs mark in Melrose, and we are suggesting that all hard boat traffic stay below town. Rafts are useful this time of year, and allow anglers to access the upper portions of the river. Nocturnal stoneflies are hatching on a nightly basis, and we are seeing success on the surface on a daily basis until about 9 a.m. with larger dry flies. Caddis and PMDs are dwindling, however sallies are still present. The hopper bite seems to be pairing with the nocturnal activity. Subsurface has still been the most consistent. Nymphing with a variegated Girdle Bug and/or a Sally nymph has been producing. We have had very sparse reports of spruce moths, and the tricos are nowhere to be seen. — Sunrise Fly Shop, Melrose.
Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh — There is quite a bit of floating debris on the water on the Barry’s end to Black Canyon. Anglers are catching a lot of bass. Try pitching jigs up to shore, or use crankbaits. — Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.
Bighorn River — Dry fly fishing is getting better and better. PMD and sallies are still around, but the fish seem to be liking the black caddis and leftover PMD spinners a bit more. Have a variety of life stages for each bug. The evening has been pretty prime and there’s not a whole lot of people taking advantage of it. If you are looking to nymph and get some fish in the net, the morning is by far the best time of day. Late afternoon is getting a bit tougher as water and air temps are heating up. Flies to use include: Wire Worm, 2 Tone Chenille worms, Pete’s Carpet Bug (14-16), Ray Charles (tan, grey 14-16), PMD Wondernymphs, PMD Split Cases, Poodle Sniffers and Olive PT. This could be the summer for hoppers. We’re seeing tons of them around. There’s also a bunch on the water, and the fish have started noticing them. — Bighorn Angler, Fort Smith.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir — Shore fishing for rainbows is slow. A few are being caught while trolling cowbells or picked up while using walleye tackle from White Earth to the river. Walleye fishing is good from the river to the Silos and between Duck Creek and Goose Bay in 10 to 20 feet of water while using bottom bouncers or chartreuse jigs with leeches or worms. The north end has been slow for walleye and rainbows. A few walleye and perch are being caught from shore throughout the reservoir using jigs, standard and floating, tipped with worms or leeches. — FWP, Helena.
Cooney Reservoir — Anglers are doing fair catching walleye and perch trolling leeches and crawlers. — Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.
Deadman’s Basin — Fishing has slowed down with the hot weather. — Scheels, Billings.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm — The walleye and pike are in 30 to 32 feet of water. Use red and purple crankbaits and troll at 2 mph. — Rock Creek Marina.
Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area — Walleye are pretty shallow and lake trout action is good in 80 feet of water. Chinook salmon are starting to bite in the Pines area. For walleye, jig or bottom bounce a worm. Spinner blades with an orange bead will work. A few pike have been reeled in. — Lakeridge Lodging & Bait Shop.
Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek — It is fishing OK for walleye in 12 to 20 feet of water pulling bottom bouncers. Leeches are a good bait. Worms are producing as well. The pike bite is good in 8 to 12 feet of water. Smallmouth are active near structure. Pitch a jig with a white tail for bass. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Fresno Reservoir — There are a lot of pleasure boaters on the water. — Stromberg Sinclair, Havre.
Gallatin River — The flows are 883 cfs and the clairity is great. Salmonflies may be done, but a good rig to try is a big foam attractor dry such as a Chubby on top with a Stonefly dropper below. If the fish aren't taking the big foam switch to a smaller Chubby. Nymphing has also been productive running a Rubber Legs up top with a smaller Mayfly or Caddis dropper. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Hauser Reservoir — Shore fishing for rainbows is slow. Rainbow fishing is fair trolling cowbells below Canyon Ferry Dam and crawlers from shore are working, as well. Walleye are still being caught in Lake Helena on crankbaits; however it is getting weedy. Walleye and a few perch are being caught in the Causeway on bottom bouncers or jigs tipped with a leech. Walleye are also being caught from shore at the Causeway Bridge. — FWP, Helena.
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Hebgen Lake — The fish have gone deeper. Fishing is best now with a downrigger or leaded line (out four colors), except for the occasional fish eating near shore. Still hearing that large spoons in yellow or orange, like Kamloopers, are working well. Pulling a feather will also work. The lake level is holding near full pool, being 97.5% full. The water temperature at the surface is about 66 degrees.— Kirkwood Resort & Marina.
Holter Reservoir — A few rainbows are being caught from Departure Point to Split Rock at night or early in the morning trolling cowbells. Shore fishing for rainbows is slow. Walleye are being caught while using crankbaits, bottom bouncers or jigs and leeches in 4 to 15 feet of water in the canyon around Mann Gulch, Cottonwood Creek and the clay bluffs. Perch fishing is getting good with some being caught around the docks and weed beds in the lower reservoir in 10 to 12 feet of water on jigs and worms. — FWP, Helena.
Madison River, Lower — The lower is simply too hot for trout. Along with the hot temps, this river has the inner tube hatch in full force. There are better options to fish. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Madison River, Upper — The salmonflies were spotty this year. The vast majority of the hatch already passed through, but there will most likely still be a residual hatch up high. On the upper fish your big stones, Yellow Sallies, big Caddis Pupas, PMD nymphs, and emergers. Also, keep an eye out for sedge caddis popping throughout the day and into the evening. If you see fish rising, an olive Elk-Hair Caddis or an Extended Body PMD will get the job done. Nymphing has been the most consistent producer with Worms, Stones, and smaller Mayfly nymphs being the best options. We are also seeing the start to terrestrial fishing and Hopper-dropper time is here. Also, keep an eye out for nocturnal stones. A light-colored Pat’s Rubber Legs and darker Chubbies are a great option for this hatch in the early mornings and evenings. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Missouri River, below Holter — It is fishing well with nymphs, and dry fly fishing is day to day. The flows were at 5,600 cfs on Monday and water temps were 61 degrees. Caddis are out, and we are starting to see tricos. There are a few PMDs hanging around. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.
Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge — One could still catch catfish, but take your bug spray if you go. The water is muddy. — Sport Center, Lewistown.
Nelson Reservoir — It continues to fish well for walleye. Bottom bounce or pull crankbaits on the shorelines. The morning bite is best. Some small pike are also biting. — Westside Sports, Malta.
Rock Creek — Rock Creek is ready to rumble. After an almost 100-day runoff, Rock Creek is finally starting to show signs of easing on stream flows and actually ready to fish. As of Monday, Rock Creek was still running around 400 cfs which is still fast, but almost a third lower in flows than the week before. Recommended dry flies to fish include tan Caddis (12-14), as well as stonefly patterns like a Gold Chubby, yellow Stimulators, or a Gold Parachute Madam X (all in 10-14). Of course a Purple Haze, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff or Royal Humpy (12-16) are excellent attractor dry flies to fish. If Hoppers aren’t working yet they will be soon. Recommended hopper patterns include Pink Pookies, Parachute Hoppers, or a Joe’s Hopper. Most hopper patterns can be fished in sizes 8-10. The nymph fishing will be strong using stonefly nymphs like Girdle Bugs, Bitch Creeks, Pat’s Rubber Legs, or North Fork Specials (8-12). Tan Caddis Pupa, Red Fox Squirrel Nymphs, a Hare’s Ear, or Flashback Pheasant Tail (10-14) round out your natural fly patterns. Attractor nymphs like Lightning Bugs and Copper Johns in varied colors, as well as Montana Princes in blue, the Batman Nymph or Psycho Princes (12-16) work as well as anything fished under a bobber. — East Rosebud Fly Shop, Billings.
Stillwater River — Flows have dropped considerably. The upper river above Absarokee is bony and should only be tackled by experienced oarsmen. Nymphing has been the best way to start most mornings, with a big rubber leg pattern like a Girdle Bug, Bitch Creek or Pat’s Rubber Legs always a good option. As the day goes on and the water and air temperature warm up, dry fly fishing has been fairly consistent in the afternoons. Look for golden stones, caddis and PMDs to be coming off. Stimulators, Jack Cabes, PMX and Chubbies are all getting the job done for surface action. A dropper nymph like a beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, red Copper John, Prince Nymph or Batman have been taking fish. Smaller trailer dries like a PMD, Caddis or Purple Haze are working well in the afternoon. For streamer anglers, never leave home without the Grinch in the box. Try the Electric Goldfish or a basic black Woolly Bugger. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Tiber Reservoir — Fishing has slowed down a little bit with the decrease in water. The water levels are down 3 feet from last week. The fish being caught are fat. Try jigging with worms for walleye and pike. — Ru’s Tiber Marina.
Tongue River Reservoir — Fishing has been a little slow. The best fishing is from a boat. A few walleye were caught using a jig and a worm. Crankbaits are working for northerns and bass. The fish being reeled in are healthy. — Tongue River Marina.
Yellowstone River, Columbus — It’s rounded into shape and the fish are starting to be on the bite. Flows are still a tad high for some wade fishing spots, but improving daily. Nymphing is usually a good way to start out the day. Try fishing a big rubber leg nymph like a Girdle Bug, Pat’s Rubber Legs or Bitch Creek. Make sure to use a long enough leader and weight to get it down in the heavy water. For streamer fishing, using the Grinch, Kreelex, Bow River Bugger, Sparkle Minnow patterns, Sculpin patterns and basic Black Buggers. For dry fly anglers fish a Jack Cabe, Stimulator, PMX or Chubby. If they’re not hitting the big dry, drop a beadhead nymph off of it. Also, keep a Purple Haze, Parachute Adams and Caddis handy for any rising fish. Hopper fishing shouldn’t be too far off and it’s not a bad idea to start fishing them before the fish have seen their fill of both naturals and artificial ones. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.
Yellowstone River, Livingston — The river is in great shape and fishing well. Flows are 5,240 cfs at Livingston. Working bigger foam dries off the bank has had some good fish coming up. Be looking for the hopper bite to start. There have also been sightings of nocturnal stones in the valley. The window for fishing has been from about 8 to 2 p.m. Afternoons have been fishing a little tougher, but nymphing Stoneflies and a smaller dropper will still get you into fish. Watch the wind as big water and big wind can spell disaster for even a skilled rower. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Yellowstone River, Miles City — The river is starting to clear and a few people have been catching sauger. Try a jig and a minnow from boats. The smallmouth bass and walleye should be starting to bite anytime. Anglers are still catching catfish. — Red Rock Sporting Goods, Miles City.
Bighorn Lake, Horseshoe Bend — Fishing has been picking up for sauger using minnows. The area around the fishing dock is producing catfish on worms and minnows. Action at the South Narrows has slowed down a bit since runoff is receding but the water is clearing up. Crappie action has been slow. Bass fishing is picking up from Crooked Creek to the state line. — Horseshoe Bend Marina.
Bighorn River, Thermopolis — The flows were at 2,700 cfs on Monday and the water is clear. Dry fly action is starting. — White Horse Country Store & Canyon Sporting Goods, Thermopolis.
Boysen Reservoir — A few walleye are biting while bottom bouncing a crawler or trolling crankbaits. At the spillway, use jigs and crawlers or Twister Tails for walleye. — White Horse Country Store & Canyon Sporting Goods, Thermopolis.
Buffalo Bill Reservoir — The reservoir continues to fish great. Trout are being caught with all sorts of methods on the North Fork Shoshone River. Walleye and perch are being caught on wind swept shorelines casting jigs or crawler harnesses. — Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.
Cody-area lakes — Damselflies, Ants and Beetles are working at the area lakes. Water temps are warm on East Newton Lake and anglers should avoid this body of water until fall. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Lake DeSmet — Lake trout, brown trout and rainbow trout continue to bite. PowerBait and worms have been producing. Walleye fishing is sluggish. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.
North Fork of the Shoshone — The river is fishing really well with good hatches occurring. Nymphs are taking a majority of the fish. Dry fly hatches of PMDs, green drakes and caddis are picking up. Flows are dropping and water temps are good. Flies working on the North Fork are working in the greater Yellowstone area.— North Fork Anglers, Cody.
Upper and Lower Sunshine Reservoirs — The upper reservoir is fishing well. There is an early morning bite. Try crawlers 5 to 7 feet under the surface just above the weed line in 15 feet of water. There are no new reports on the lower reservoir. — Wea Market, Meeteetse.
Yellowstone National Park — Slough, Lamar and Soda Butte are fishing well. There are quite a few anglers in this area, especially on Soda Butte. Gray drakes, PMDs and caddis are out. Slough has fished well in the upper meadows as well as below the campground. Many times the water below the campground is overlooked, my suggestion would be to fish down toward the confluence of the Lamar. While we have had drakes, PMDs and caddis, don't forget Hoppers, Beetles and Ants. On the Yellowstone River we are hearing good reports from above the falls. The fish in this section aren't many, but they are large. Drakes, PMDs, caddis, golden stones and a few salmonflies are what you'll find on this stretch of water. If you're looking to increase your catch, travel to the confluence of the Lamar and the Yellowstone. The fish are more plentiful here and you can use the same flies as mentioned above. — Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.