Anglers continue to do well at Fort Peck Reservoir in the Crooked Creek area. Those fishing in the Fourchette Bay part of the reservoir also experienced success.

While there were fish to be caught over the Memorial Day weekend, the general consensus is once the weather stabilizes fishing should improve. However, increased temperatures will likely result in water flows increasing in the region’s rivers due to snowmelt.

Here’s the weekly fishing report:

Top picks

Canyon Ferry Reservoir — Shore fishing for rainbow trout has been best from mid-reservoir to the dam fly-fishing with a Leech or beadhead nymph or using a jig tipped with a worm. Boat anglers are catching rainbows mid-reservoir to the dam trolling Rock n Rolls, cranks or lures. Walleye and a few perch are being caught throughout the reservoir in 17 to 25 feet of water on jigs or worm harnesses. — FWP, Helena.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Crooked Creek — On Saturday the fishing off the bank was phenomenal with walleye and big northerns hitting. Use herring and smelt for northerns. For walleye, use worms or minnows. From boats, anglers did well jigging a minnow or worm at 24 to 30 feet for walleye. Some were bottom bouncing in 10 to 20 feet. A few guys were pitching jigs and a worm to the bank and picking up a few. Firetiger is a good pattern, as is a mixture of black and pink. Dogger Jigs are a good option. — Crooked Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Fourchette Bay — It is fishing well pulling bottom bouncers for walleye. Most of the fish are toward the narrows. Pull bottom bouncers in 28 feet. Worms are the bait of choice. Pull crankbaits near the shorelines in the evening hours for walleye and northerns. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Missouri River, below Holter — It is fishing well. The flow was 7,780 cfs and the temps were 47 degrees as of Monday. There are baetis, March browns and caddis out. For nymphs, a beadless Tailwater Sowbug is a good choice. Lightning Bugs or olive MO-ssassins are working. Streamer fishing is productive on cloudy days, or early in the morning. The Dearborn River is running at 5,000 cfs and the Missouri below the Dearborn is muddy. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch was good on the lower river before the high flows. — Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Tongue River Reservoir — A lot of bass are biting. Jig with a minnow, leech or worm. The water temperature is 54 to 55 degrees. The pike are in the shallows. Jig or use big spinners or spoons for them. — Tongue River Marina.


Ackley Lake — Before the rain it was producing some trout and tiger muskie. There is a Muskie Derby June 22. Entry forms are available at the Sport Center, or anglers can register onsite from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The minimum donation to enter the derby is $20 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 — The water is a little low, but the fish are bigger than we have seen in a long time. Fish Sowbugs and some Baetis nymphs in the afternoons. It is fishing fairly technical for nymphs. It is kind of tough to fish out of a boat at this level. If boating, stop and fish the holes. — Frontier Anglers, Dillon.

Big Hole River — The water is in great shape and offering excellent streamer fishing. Yellow or black streamers or San Juan Worms would work. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch occurred on Saturday, but caddis are pretty much gone now. — Frontier Anglers, Dillon.

Bighorn River — Flows were on the rise to 4,500 cfs by Monday. Fishing has been a bit up and down with the pulses of water, but there have been some good moments. Expect it to get good as soon as the flows stabilize and water temps continue to go up. The upper three miles continues to see the best Baetis and midge hatches in the late afternoons. Evenings have been very good as well, and without the traffic. Nymphing remains good in spots and finding those spots is key. With the cooler temps the fish have not spread out like they will when water temps climb. — Bighorn Angler, Fort Smith. 

Bighorn Lake, Ok-A-Beh — Anglers are using minnows and a quarter-ounce jig fishing for walleye. A small minnow on a floating jig will work for crappie. Popular colors/patterns are chartreuse or firetiger. — Scheels, Billings.

Boulder River — The river has been running clear to mostly clear for the past week and fishing has been good. Unfortunately, the recent Memorial Day weekend rains have begun to increase the flow and decrease the clarity. In addition, the warmer temperatures predicted for the upcoming week should only add to this trend. Fishing should remain good early in the week yet will probably begin to deteriorate later in the week. Heading upstream, above the West Boulder should lead to clearer waters later in the week. Look for March browns and BWOs or fish Prince Nymphs, P.T’s, Rubber Legs and San Juan Worms. — Sweetcast Angler, Big Timber.

Cooney Reservoir — Anglers are catching a lot of walleye and some are limiting out. Leeches are a good bait. There were some trout caught as well. No news on the perch bite. The fish cleaning station is working again. There is flooding due to the recent rains, so four of the five campgrounds are closing as of Monday. Campgrounds closed were Fisherman’s Point, Cottonwood, Marshall Cove, and the North Shore. By the weekend we are hoping to open them back up. The Marshall Cove boat ramp is also closed. People can use the Red Lodge campground boat ramp and the North Shore boat ramp. Call the park office at 445-2326 for updates. — Cooney State Park.

Deadman’s Basin — Fishing should start picking up as the weather warms. One could try trolling a silver or gold Panther Martin spinner or use a crawler and a garlic marshmallow from the shore. — Cozy Corner Bar, Lavina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Big Dry Arm — Fishing is generally slow. The best action is on worms for walleye. A few walleye and northerns have been caught on crankbaits. The water temps are hovering at 50 degrees. — Rock Creek Marina.

Fort Peck Reservoir, dam area — A few walleye were boated last week pitching jigs or trolling bottom bouncers. Minnows are the best bait. White, a mix of green and white or a mix of black and white are good patterns. The lake trout bite is good pulling spoons behind banana weights in 15 to 30 feet of water. Quite a few smallmouth are biting in the Dry Arm area. — Lakeridge Lodging & Bait Shop.

Fort Peck Reservoir, Hell Creek — Fishing is slow in the immediate area. To get into walleye and bass, boat to the narrows. Purple and white, green and white and dark blue and white jigs with a minnow will work. Some are bottom bouncing. For northerns, jig or pull perch crankbaits. — Hell Creek Marina.

Fresno Reservoir — Anglers are jigging with plastics for walleye. — Stromberg Sinclair, Havre.

Gallatin River — It is pumping mud once again. It’s probably best to keep driving and hit the upper Madison for the next few weeks. If you are dead set on fishing the Gallatin, head up above the Taylor Fork. There is better clarity above this tributary. Try worms, Stoneflies, and bigger Princes under an indicator. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir — A few rainbows are being caught from shore at Riverside while using marshmallows or drifting jigs with a worm. Rainbow fishing is fair while trolling cowbells or Rapalas around the Causeway and York Bridge. Walleye are being caught in Lake Helena on crankbaits or bottom bouncers. An occasional perch is being caught there as well. — FWP, Helena.

Hebgen Lake — Fishing continues to be good, although the weather, not so much! Clouds and rain are supposed to break midweek bringing warmer weather. From a boat, fish are in about 7-15 feet of water; from the shore, about 30-40 feet out. Fishing is particularly good where the mountain runoff streams are coming into the lake. — Kirkwood Resort & Marina.

Holter Reservoir — Rainbow fishing from shore is good around Gates of the Mountains while using flies, worms or marshmallows. Boat anglers are finding rainbows while trolling dark crankbaits in the lower reservoir around Split Rock and the clay banks. Walleye and perch fishing is slow with a few perch being caught around Cottonwood Creek. — FWP, Helena.

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Madison RiverLower — With colder nights and rain the caddis have been shut down. Along the banks there is action with a small Chubby or a March brown. However, the nymph and streamer fishing has been good. The crayfish bite has picked up with fish holding over the weed beds. Look for fish in the shallow water where there are transitions between the buckets. If you're not picking fish up in the shallows, add a bit of weight and begin to dredge the buckets throughout the beds. Make sure to cast above the bucket and allow the crayfish to fall in with a natural dead drift. Fish are also hanging on the banks looking for Baetis nymphs and crayfish. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Madison River, Upper — The upper river has been fishing great this last week with the consistent flows and warmer weather. Down lower, fish your big Stoneflies, 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 rising fish. Up high, clarity is still holding relatively strong. Nymphing has been the most consistent producer with worms, stones, and smaller mayfly nymphs being the best producers. There are also some caddis up this way so keep an eye on the soft water.  Be mindful when wading certain sections of the river, the river is still higher than usual. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Martinsdale Reservoir — Fishing was good before the storms. Try trolling with cowbells. From the bank use worms, marshmallows and PowerBait. — Ray’s Sport and Western Wear, Harlowton.

Missouri River, Fred Robinson Bridge — Paddlefish action is strong. The river is running fairly high and water temps have risen. Catfish action has picked up. Walleye and sauger fishing is slow. — Sport Center, Lewistown.

Nelson Reservoir — Walleye fishing is hot and cold. Lots of northerns and perch are being caught pulling bottom bouncers with worms. — Westside Sports, Malta.

Rock Creek — Runoff continues. Cool temperatures last week dropped stream flows but it is still fast and off-color until you get north of Red Lodge, where there is good clarity. It is fishable, although extreme caution is urged on all freestone fisheries now. The West Fork, Main Fork and Lake Fork are excellent runoff fisheries. If you can find a pool or slower water, that’s where the trout are. Recommended nymphs during runoff include red or brown San Juan Worms (8). Stonefly nymphs including Pat’s Rubber Legs, Girdle Bugs, Bitch Creeks and North Fork Specials (8-12) will work. Other nymph recommendations include a Hare’s Ear, or Pheasant Tail (8-14). Tan Caddis Pupa (14), varied Prince Nymphs, Copper John in red or chartreuse, Batman or Montana Prince in blue are good high water choices. As we warm up this week there is a short dry fly window fishing a Parachute Adams, Purple Haze or tan Caddis dry (10- 14). It won’t be long and you’ll be casting a yellow Stimulator. Streamer fishing is still there fishing Sparkle Minnows, Grinches, black Slump Busters or Galloup’s Sex Dungeon patterns. — East Rosebud Fly Shop, Billings.

Spring Creek — With all the rain it was high and muddy on Monday and area ponds and reservoirs will probably also be muddy. Before the storms anglers were using mayflies, caddis patterns or Panther Martin spinners. — Sport Center, Lewistown.

Stillwater River — Heavy localized rains and warmer weather have bumped up the flows. The lower river will still likely be high and off-color, but the upper river may clear enough later this week to fish, but it’s an iffy proposition. If so, nymphing is likely the best option, with black, brown and coffee rubber leg patterns like Girdle Bugs and Pat’s Rubber Legs, or a San Juan Worm as well as similar colored stonefly patterns along with a beadhead trailer fly like a Prince Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Batman or Pheasant Tail. Fish the very edge seams. In off-color water use a color contrast of darker patterns like black Buggers or the Grinch either dead drifted or stripped. There is still a great deal of runoff ahead of us, and the river is likely to continue to fluctuate for a few more days in response to temperatures and rain events. Once we string together a few warmer days and nights in a row it will be runoff to stay. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Tiber Reservoir — With the bitter weather over the weekend there wasn’t much action. On Monday the roads were pretty muddy, but with some wind and sun they’ll dry out. The fish are moving into the shallows and anglers are catching walleye at depths of 5 to 10 feet. A few have been caught as deep as 27 feet. The bigger walleye seem to be biting jigs tipped with a minnow. — Ru’s Tiber Marina.

Yellowstone River, Columbus — It’s high and off-color. It’s getting to the dangerous stage and will likely be best to stay away from completely. Search out lakes, smaller tributaries and tailwaters until runoff subsides. — Stillwater Anglers, Columbus.

Yellowstone River, Huntley — Fishing is slow for bass and walleye. Catfish action is very good. Ling continue to be caught at night. For catfish, present cut bait or minnows. If one uses crawlers they will catch a bunch of bullheads. Use minnows for ling. The best time to start fishing for ling seems to be 8 p.m. As the weather warms ling action will slow down. The water temps are in the mid 50s. Anglers are having fairly decent success for northerns and walleye using minnows or crankbaits at Castle Rock Lake. — Huntley Bait and Tackle.

Yellowstone River: Intake —The river total for harvested paddlefish is 398. The biggest paddlefish was 120 pounds and the smallest was 15 pounds. — Intake Paddlefishing/Yellowstone Caviar Facebook site.

Yellowstone River, Livingston — The window has gone and passed. With the rain and warmer evenings as of late the river is back to a muddy mess. We should see clarity and fishable water return in July. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.


Bighorn River, Thermopolis — The river is muddy. However, fishing in the Wind River Canyon is good with Zebra Midges. — White Horse Country Store & Canyon Sporting Goods, Thermopolis.

Boysen Reservoir — Walleye are starting to bite and some fat rainbows were caught. Minnows are a good bait for walleye. Crankbaits will work for rainbows. Bank anglers reeled in a few catfish. A few anglers had success on crappie. — Boysen Marina.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir — In the water open to fishing sink crawlers or try spoons or spinners. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Clarks Fork — It is blown out. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Cody-area lakes — As of Monday the roads leading to Luce and Hogan reservoirs are really slick due to recent rains. At East Newton and West Newton lakes use an olive Zebra Midge with a copper bead. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Lake DeSmet — It is fishing well. A 9-pound brown trout was reeled in over the weekend. From the bank anglers were using spoons or worms on a bobber. There were quite a few people at the lake with the Buffalo Lions Club Fishing Derby over the weekend. Walleye fishing is quiet. — The Lake Stop, Buffalo.  

Lower Shoshone — It is blown out. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

North Fork of the Shoshone — High and muddy. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

South Fork of the Shoshone—It may be fishable. The flows were at 546 cfs on Monday. Try a North Fork Special, Pheasant Tail or Prince Nymph. — North Fork Anglers, Cody.

Upper and Lower Sunshine Reservoirs — Fishing has been good, but the weather has been bad. Some are doing well with bait from shore. Some are trolling and doing well and others are locating the fish and jigging for them. As the weather improves the fishing will improve. — Wea Market, Meeteetse.

Yellowstone National Park — Flies to have for the Firehole River and Madison in the park are: Firehole PMD Sparkle Duns (16), PMD Cripple (16), PMD Foam Emerger (16), PMD Foam Nymph (16), Baetis Sparkle Dun (18), Baetis Foam Emerger (18), White Miller Razor Caddis (14-16), Soft Hackles — PMD, Baetis, White Miller, and Peacock and Partridge, Split Case PMD (16), Pheasant Tails (16-20), and Woolly Buggers. — Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone.

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Email Gazette Deputy Sports Editor John Letasky at john.letasky@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL