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Some Cooney Reservoir anglers are limiting out within an hour, according to the folks at Cooney State Park.

The hot presentation is the neon green Mister Twister Tail with a piece of worm attached to the top. The best location to fish is on the point of Red Lodge Arm Campground.

People are doing better fishing from a boat, but the shore has proven to be nearly as good. Dawn and dusk are the most opportune times.

For tips on other hot spots, here’s the Gazette’s weekly fishing report:

Top Picks

Bighorn Mountains, Wyo.: Fishing continues to be fairly good and water levels are receding. Flies to use now are the Royal Coachman, Elk-Hair Caddis and mosquitoes. The hoppers are coming on. Try a Joe’s Hopper. – Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Clarks Fork, Wyo.: Try caddis, yellow Sally, golden stones, hoppers and green drakes for dry-fly fun. Nymphs that work well are North Fork Specials, ATT Emergers, Pat’s Stone, Prince and Copper John. – North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Crooked Creek: Fishing in 12 to 20 feet of water bottom bouncing for walleye. Northerns are in the shallows. – Don’s, Lewistown.

Gallatin River: A Chubby Chernobyl and a Rubber Legs off the back is a good call. Big dry flies are working all the way down to the mouth of the canyon. This is the time of year when a Humpy, Stimulator, or large Elk-Hair Caddis can bring trout to the surface. Streamer fishing on cloudy days and early mornings/late in the evening can be productive. Our best reports have come in the early mornings and late evenings as things start to cool down on these hot days. Most reports are showing that the lower sections are fishing slow with water temps climbing rapidly, so the canyon is the best bet. If out early, PMDs are working very well. Fishing after dinner is when another good feed is happening. A rusty spinner will work, or the purple Chubby. – Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Madison River: The upper river has been fishing well with a ton of PMDs and caddis. There have been rusty spinners around dark that have been bringing some of the larger fish to the surface. A good bet is to fish caddis in the evening and spinners when the fish start sipping after dark. The midday temperatures and sun have shut down a lot of the big bugs on the bank, but Chubby dropper and nymph rigs have been picking up fish midstream. – Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.


Ackley Lake: Fishing is fair, but the heat has slowed action. Boat fishermen are having the most luck. – Don’s, Lewistown.

Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh: Smallmouth bass are biting leeches or worms with a jig. – Pryor Creek Bait Co., Laurel.

Bighorn River: Flows have continued to drop and are currently at 7,000 cfs. Further reductions are pending. The water temp is 56.7 degrees. No hatches are present, but with the rise in water temps we should be seeing PMDs or caddis shortly. We are starting to see a fairly significant number of hoppers, but it’s a little too soon to be breaking them out of the fly box. Sorry for the broken record, but there is no change in patterns from last week. Use an orange or red Wire Worm (sizes 4-6) followed by a large Scud in Bighorn orange or hot orange (12-14). Also working has been a trailer of tan, pink or gray firebead Ray Charles (14-16). – Bighorn Fly and Tackle Shop, Fort Smith.

Boulder River: Throw your favorite hopper, Chubby, yellow or orange Stimulators, Pink Pookies, yellow PMX, Tarantula, caddis, spruce moth, yellow Sally, ant and beetle. Attractor dry-fly patterns like a Purple Haze, Royal Wulff, Trude or Coachman are all easy to see. For nymphs try a caddis pupa or emergers, as well as varied stonefly patterns like Rubber Legs, Girdle Bugs or black North Fork Specials. Standard beadhead nymphs like red or chartreuse Copper John, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, blue Montana Prince or Batman can all be suitable subsurface patterns. We have received several reliable comments from credible customers that there is an aggressive and unpredictable landowner near or around the Boulder Forks fishing access. When near this access, please observe all access and property boundaries. – East Rosebud Fly Shop.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir: Shoreline anglers are doing fair using worms at Hellgate, Duck Creek and near the dam for rainbows. Boat anglers are catching fish near the dam, Confederate Bay, and Cemetery Island while trolling cowbells or Needlefish, tipped with worms, in 10 to 35 feet of water. Walleye fishing continues to be good throughout the reservoir. South-end anglers are trolling worm harnesses (orange and green) tipped with night crawlers or leeches. Trolling crankbaits (orange or green) or jigging (white and perch colored) bay points and midreservoir to the dam, has also been producing walleye. Yellow perch are being caught while searching for walleye throughout the south end of the reservoir. – FWP, Helena.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm: Brody Hirsch of Miles City boated a 12.5-pound, 37-inch pike while using worms. Fishing is picking up, with smallmouth bass, a few perch, pike and walleye biting. – Rock Creek Marina, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area: The Montana Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament has a full field of 200 teams and is Friday and Saturday, so expect more folks on the water. Fishing is good for walleye, northerns, lake trout and smallmouth. For walleye, jigs, worm harnesses, crankbaits, or Lindy Rigs will work. Crawlers and leeches are the best live bait. The lake trout are in 115 to 120 feet of water. – Lakeridge Motel and Tackle.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay: Walleye are being caught using worm harnesses and jigging leeches. Crappie are very active on worms. Large northerns have also been on the bite in weedy bays. Smallmouth are being caught on rocky points. – Westside Sports, Malta Marine.

Hauser Reservoir: Rainbow are being caught trolling cowbells or light-colored crankbaits anywhere between Black Sandy and Lakeside. Shore fishing is fair while using worms or PowerBait around Black Sandy and Riverside. Small walleye are being caught at the Causeway Bridge on jigs and in the Causeway Arm on perch-colored crankbaits or bottom bouncers and a leech or worm. Some walleye are also being caught around Riverside on jigs. – FWP, Helena.

Holter Reservoir: Good rainbow fishing continues for those trolling cowbells throughout the reservoir; especially from Split Rock to Holter Dam. Shore fishing for rainbows has been fair around Gates of the Mountains on worms. Walleye are being caught around Split Rock, Cottonwood Creek and the bays by Holter Dam. Most walleye are being caught on bottom bouncers and a worm. Perch are being caught throughout the reservoir in small bays and around the boat docks in 10 to 20 feet of water while using jigs and worms. – FWP, Helena.

Hebgen Lake: Continues to fish with spinners. Each morning anglers can find a number of fishing eating before 9 a.m. They're going to be tough to catch on dries, but using a dropper will usually produce a few fish. Look for strong emergences when there is cloud cover. Many of us have been fishing the Madison Arm, but the Grayling Arm and the South Shore should be similarly productive. Callibaetis Sparkle Duns and size 16 Pheasant Tails will suffice. – Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.

Missouri River, below Holter: Brook’s Sprout PMD (size 14-16) are enticing trout. Para Wulff PMD will draw a strike. Tricos are starting to appear on hot days. Purple Para Wulff will take trout, as will low-riding caddis such as Easy Caddis or an Outrigger Caddis. For nymphs, an olive pupa, Rainbow Warrior and Quasimodo (all in size 16-18) will work. An MFG is a standard. On cloudy days, a Nick’s Perch or little olive Thin Mint are options. – Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge: Catfish are taking cut bait and crawlers. – Don’s, Lewistown.

Nelson Reservoir: Walleye are being caught in 15 to 20 feet of water in mornings and evenings. Fish deeper in the hot part of the day. Bottom bouncers/worm harnesses, jigging leeches and crankbaits have all been productive. Northerns and smallmouth are being caught near weed lines throwing cranks or jerkbaits. – Westside Sports, Malta Marine.

Rock Creek: It is still running high and fast. So it is still the recommendation to fish either the West Fork, Lake Fork, or Main Fork. Fish smaller hoppers, Chubby, Pink Pookies, Stimulators and PMX, yellow Sally, caddis, ants, beetles, Parachute Adams, Royal Humpy in red or yellow, as well as a Purple Haze, Wulff, Trude, Coachman or H&L Variant. For nymphs try a Shop Vac, Prince, Copper John, Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail, Lightning Bugs, Bloody Mary, Psycho Prince, or blue Montana Prince. – East Rosebud Fly Shop.

Spring Creek: It is fishing well with caddis and PMDs. – Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River: It has dropped and cleared substantially, running at 1,400-1,500 cfs. For float fishing, use a short leash setup. A big, dry and dropper nymph fished very tight – within 2 feet to the bank – is the way to go. Use the standard beadhead nymphs for droppers, like a Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Prince or Lightning Bug. For a big dry, use a PMX in a variety of body colors, Jack Cabe, Stimulator or Chubby Chernobyl, also in a variety of body colors. If there are actively feeding and rising fish, use a Parachute Adams or Purple Haze. There have been sporadic PMD and yellow Sallies coming off. Also, be advised that the Stillwater River Road remains closed to through traffic due to a rock slide in the vicinity of the Midnight Canyon bridge. – Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Columbus: The Stone has dropped and cleared quite a bit and is fishable through Columbus. A plug of mud was on its way down early in the week, so check ahead. Dry-fly action has been spotty. There have been some occasional caddis and PMDs coming off and a smallish dry-fly pattern like a Purple Haze can be fished as a searching fly in likely water, even with no actively feeding fish. Dry/dropper setups are working also. Small bugger streamer patterns like the Grinch with a nymph like a rubber leg Prince trailed behind it dead drifted have been productive. Anticipate warmer water fishing conditions and adjust and adapt accordingly. Best to get on early and off early. – Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Huntley: The river has cleared and dropped. The water temps are hitting the 80s in the heat of the day. Catfishing is good to fair, depending on if one finds them. The spawn should be just about over and fishing should pick up. There have been reports of smallmouth. The smallmouth catch isn’t big in numbers, but here and there. Use cut bait for catfish and minnows for bass. – Minnow Bucket, Huntley.

Yellowstone River, Livingston: Fishing is still good with action slowing down midday as temperatures rise. Fish have been moving farther off the bank with success being found 20 or so feet off the bank rather then directly on the bank. Fish are starting to look for more oxygenated water, which seems to have the fish moving into faster, shallower water. Fishing has been productive directly in the riffles and as the day goes by fish are moving into the shallow brisk water above the riffles. Quick drifts with dry flies in this faster water seems to be the key. Larger dries are still working, with dry fly mayfly patterns producing, as well. Most of the big bugs are up by Gardiner, and reports are showing that fish are becoming wary of large dry flies but fishing is still good. Large dry flies with droppers 14 to 18 inches below the dry are working. Nymphing has been hit or miss. The key seems to be finding the fish in the most heavily oxygenated water. Hopper fishing on the lower sections has been turning on. Streamer fishing on the lower sections has been good, but once noon hits streamer fishing has significantly slowed. Land fish as quickly as possible and return them to the water immediately. Boat ramps are also getting crowded, so be patient and plan on waiting in line. – Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.


Bighorn Lake, Horseshoe Bend: The fishing has been steady for sauger and smallmouth bass at the fishing dock. The lake level is dropping at the moment, so conditions are changing rapidly. Black crappie and perch are being caught at the mouth of the north Narrows. – Horseshoe Bend Marina.

Bighorn River: Flows are down to 3,450 cfs and we expect it to drop even more the next couple of weeks. Lots of tricos in the morning and a few fish are keyed in on them. Nymphing remains productive with annalids and sow bugs, small mayfly nymphs and caddis pupa. Streamer bite is good day to day. Lots of floating green sticky moss, but should clear as flows stabilize. – Owl Creek Flies, Thermopolis.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir: The water temperature is getting warm, driving the fish to deeper water. Trolling with deeper gear using gold colors seems to be key. Worms and jigs are also being used. – Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Cody-area lakes: East Newton Lake is too warm to fish. Anglers fishing the lake now are killing trout. It is better to go to Luce Reservoir and Hogan Reservoir, which have better water temperatures, hatches and happy trout. Streamers, nymphs and dries have been working. Best to call the shop (307-527-7274) for up-to-the minute report. Conditions are changing daily. – North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Lake DeSmet: The fishing has been real good. With the heat, anglers are catching them deeper now while trolling. Rapalas offer the best results. Cowbells always work with a worm harness. Shore fishing is good fishing off bottom with worm, PowerBait or marshmallows. – The Lake Stop, Buffalo.

Shoshone River: The North Fork and South Fork were hit by heavy thundershowers over the Fourth and were off-color outside the Shoshone National Forest. Best fishing has been closer to the Eagle Creek area and upstream. Hatches have been green drakes, caddis, golden stones and yellow Sallies. Nymphs work best in the larger sizes; Pat’s Stone’s, Girdle Bugs, Pepperoni, Bloody Mary and Copper John (all nymphs sizes 6-10). The lower Shoshone is trending to normal flows (1,000 cfs) for the summer. Nymphs fished deep or streamers have been the best performers. Dry-fly action is still a week or so away. – North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Upper and Lower Sunshine Reservoirs: Fishing has slowed down. With the water warming up, fish are deep. Use extra-deep fishing gear. – Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Cody.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park: If one runs into a situation where the Lamar and Soda Butte are blown out, they can always fish Slough Creek. Keep an eye out for PMDs and gray drake spinners throughout the day. Big fish love gray drake spinners. Early fishing in the northeast corner can be incredible, if one likes catching large cutthroat. – Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.

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Deputy Sports Editor

Sports writer for The Billings Gazette.