Statewide Montana Fishing Report – 1.5.22


The ice depth is about 5” and we expect subzero over nights with highs around 10 degrees.  New Years Eve looks like a high of -1 so the ice should be solidifying up this week.  New Years Day and Sunday expect highs in the 30s.  Northerns are biting minnows in 12’ water just above the weed lines.  Has not been much traffic on the lake as the ice builds.

Jayme Miller | Castle Rock Live Bait Shop | 416 Wildrye St | Colstrip, MT 59323 | 406-740-2313 | www.castlerockbait.com

8 to 9 inches from boy scout to lucky; 6 inches from there and on the main. ATV travel is safe. Don’t forget our annual ice fishing tournament, 2/12/22. Hope to see you there!

“I heard about 6 inches but fishing was slow my son went to Bear did pretty good. Sutherland giving up a few ling ice is good haven’t heard anything about trout.” – Tommy Dedmore

As water temperatures drop, trout will favor holding lies that require them to expend less energy.  Soft seams, drop offs, and pools offer great cover, access to food, and a break from the current.  Target fish in these areas for a more productive day on the water.

Missoula is going to stay chilly and snowy for the next few days.  We may potentially get above freezing for a short while early next week before getting more snow.

Midge season is upon us.  Fish are up eating midges in the warmest parts of the day as long as the bugs are there.  Goober Midges, Sippers, Emerging Midges, and Midge Clusters in #18-20 are the dries to have.  If you’re not one for fishing tiny dries, the indicator rig is your best bet.  Girdle Bugs, TJs and San Juans in #8-12 are a staple for winter nymphers.  If you’re adding a second fly to your nymph rig go for a Lightning Bug, Jig PT, Prince, Spanish Bullet or Perdigon in #14-18.  Zebra Midges (now on jig hooks!) in #18-20 will round out your nymph selection.  Adding 1-2 BB split shot to your rig will ensure your bugs are getting down quick, which is especially important if you are wade fishing.  Small streamers will still work, but fish them slowly, or under an indicator with just slight twitches.

Call or email us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in- WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA- for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.

Pat McCarthy – “4 inches of beautiful ice. probably 30 other people out there too. lots of 4 inch perch”

Iver Svela – “We fished it Friday all day long. About 5-6 inches of perfectly clear ice. The perch bite was pretty hot!”

It can be cold out there. It can be windy. It can be lonely. It can be fishy. Or not. It can be just great to wander around the river. Whatever your motivations are we are gonna give you How to (fish) January on the Mo!

Water Types

It may not fish well where you are. If you head to that killer run you caught a few big ones from in the summer, spring, or fall…you are in the wrong water.

Find the bucket. Look for water with deep holes, deep edges, just deeper than knee deep. Like waist deep or better. That is where the fish are. Not in cool summer flats. Deep, and cold.

If the water is moving too fast, or at all, don’t fish there. Find water that is deep, and sort of moving. Off the end of a shelf, a deeper edge, that sort of water.

If you are not catching them in an hour, or less…you should move to different water.

If you caught them there last week, but are not having success now, move.

Deep, and slow. That is the theme from here on out.

Water temps below 35F. That is cold. Fish the winter water until water temps over out of the 30’s. And that will be in March, or April.

Nymphing is the word

If you like to catch them you should nymph. In deep and slow water. See above.

Pink is the flavor of fly you need. Sows and scuds and worms and such. Stop in the shop or call for the up to the minute report.

The short list is Ninch’s Bubble Yum, Rainbow Czech Nymph, Barbie Nymph, Ninch’s Thunder Bug, Amex Scud, Tailwater Sow, Tungsten Jig Firebead Soft Spot, Ninch’s Pill Popper, FB Ray Charles, :Caviar Scud, Rainbow FB Weight Fly, Ninch’s Ball Gag Midge, Rainbow Warrior, Arnold’s Sili Scud and so on.

The Swing is on

Trout Spey anglers are getting it done too. The water types that the fish are holding in are fewer than a week ago, and beyond. They are really in the “A” spot(s).

Skagit is King. Put the Scandi away til spring pokes her head out of the winter fog.

Tips? yes, deep ones.

John is writing a report shortly.

Again stop in and see our fishy swing staff before you head out. Always free coffee and info at House of Headhunters in downtown Craig Montana.

Dry Fly Anglers?

Maybe some action. Look for roaming trout in soft eddies. Toss a cluster midge or Adams out there. Wait. Bait and wait. Tie a tiny midge emerger from your top fly. Preferably short.

Not too much happening out there. But it does happen and if you know where to look you will be rewarded more often. But, don’t hold your breath.

On great midge years we see strong top water action in mid February. Will it happen in 2020? Ohh, let’s hope so.

Headhunters Fly Shop Winter Action

Open everyday 8-5. Your only full time fly shop on the Mo. Daily shuttles. Free coffee. Knowledgable staff on site. Booking agents ready to help with your 2022 Mo River Fishing Plans. The Best Flies under the Big Sky procured Scumliner

Guide Trips available. Trout Spey trips, nymphing trips, casting lessons. Call and schedule today! But we will wait until

Happy New Year. Back to work for many. Back to school for many. The Headhunters here in Craig? Oh, we are focussed on fishing the Missouri River. And shoveling snow…

We got yer back man.

North Fork of the Flathead River Fishing Report by Orvis (January 5, 2022)

Fort Peck Marina (January 1, 2022)

“Great news everyone the cold finally capped the main lake now hopefully it will continue to build good ice on the main lake. Bays have between 6 and 8 inches of ice from what I’ve been told but I will be checking ice conditions in the next few days and updating everyone. Happy New Years.” – Scott Collinsworth
Check out the latest food specials at www.facebook.com/ft.peckmarina.

Crooked Creek Fishing Report by Crooked Creek Marina (December 31, 2021)

Hi everyone,
Happy New year…. Conditions here at Crooked Creek are brutal -30 this morning…. Chris Gasner if you happen to read this post please call the marina at 406-429-2999 this is in regards to your cabin rentals thanks.

Georgetown Lake Fishing Report via Montana Ice Report (January 4, 2022)

“Went to Piney on Sunday. Slow fishing. Caught a few salmon but trout were not biting what we were using. About 8 inches of ice.” – Tom Maney

Gallatin River Fishing Report by Fins and Feathers (January 4, 2022)

Fins and Feathers scores the Gallatin a 2/5.

Fishing has been decent on warmer days. Quite a bit of ice and slush daily. The River near Karst has been a good option along with the river just below Big Sky. Don’t worry about getting out early this time of the year. Fishing the slower deeper water with nymph rig is your best option right now. I would use some smaller dark bodied stonefly nymphs or a worm as a top fly. A red copper john, red zebra midge, caddis larvae, or a smaller dark perdigon would all be great bottom fly options. Sometimes you may see a few fish rising to midges in slow slicks so have a box of dries just in case. Small streamer can be productive but don’t count on any consistency.

Happy New Year!

Fly Tying Classes

Gallatin River Webcam – Located at Karst, which is about 1/2 way between Bozeman and Big Sky on HWY 191.

Flathead Area Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (January 4, 2022)

Smith Lake– 6-8 Inches of solid ice.
Rogers Lake– 6 inches.
Lower Stillwater– 8 inches plus some slush.
Blanchard– 6 inches on the main body.
Island Lake– 6 inches of ice.
Dog Lake– 6 inches and snowmobile/hike in only.
Church Slough– 6-7 inches solid (Always been mindful of current on river/sloughs).
Echo Lake– 3-5 inches visible springs and weak spots.
Loon Lake– 4-5 inches of ice.
Foys Lake– 3-6 inches varying thickness.
Upper Thompson– 5 inches of ice.
Lower Thompson– Still a bit sketchy.

Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fishing Report by Dan Bailey’s (December 24, 2021)

–No new report this week–

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Fishing has been on the back burner for many as the holidays approach. This time of year is always busy with friends and family, events, shopping, and just the general hectic-ness of the world today. It’s always enjoyable, but remember to set some time aside to soak in the season.

One of the best ways to do that? Get outside.

Not a whole lot is happening on the Yellowstone River these days. Shelf ice is beginning to form in spots and on these colder nights you can expect some slush in the river. The biggest challenge is the wind though. This December has been windier than normal, which around here is saying something.

There is some snow in the forecast for the coming days (could we get lucky with a white Christmas this year?) which is always a good thing. We will take any snow we can get at this point. The Snotel map is looking a little dry these days, and after last year we’re all praying for snow.

If you really want to get out, book a day on local spring creek. The winter fishing is pretty good there, and you can find some sheltered spots to get out of the wind. These are pay to play fisheries with limited access per day, but they’re well worth it to break up the winter monotony.

We are still advising anglers to avoid fishing the Upper Madison, even though FWP lifted their closure on the river. Those fish need some time to recover and there are plenty of other spots to explore this time of year. The Lower Madison is a great winter fishery, and close enough to town to enjoy a quick outing without making it an all day excursion. The Gallatin, especially in the canyon, is a great spot from now through spring.

This is the season of short trips to the river, icy guides, cold feet, and the prospect of a greasy burger at your favorite watering hole after the trip. With the winter midge hatch still on the horizon, there just isn’t a whole lot going on. You can absolutely still get fish to eat, but temper your expectations. Fish deep, slow water where the fish don’t have to expend much energy to hold. If you’re fishing streamers, fish them on the slow swing or dead drifted under a bobber.

Not feeling up to fighting the wind for a few hours? How about sitting down and filling fly boxes for next year? Winter is historically the time of the fly tyer and as the wind howls outside in the dark at 4:30pm, might as well think ahead to wet wading and being able to see your dry fly at 9 at night. Our fly tying selection is well stocked with everything you’ll need!

We’ll be open 9am to 4pm today (Christmas Eve) and closed on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Dan Bailey’s!

Bitterroot River Fishing Report by Blackfoot River Outfitters (December 31, 2021)

BRO’s Tips of the Week:

As water temperatures drop and aquatic insects become less active, trout will favor holding lies that require them to expend less energy.  Soft seams, drop offs, deep runs, and pools offer great cover, access to food, and a break from the current.  Target fish in these areas for a more productive day on the water.

7 Day Outlook:

COLD as we head into the weekend, but the ‘Root should start to warm up to more fishable temperatures on Monday and Tuesday.  Plenty more precipitation in the forecast for early next week as well.

Our Recommendations for the Best Techniques and Patterns:

Midge season is upon us.  Fish are up eating midges in the warmest parts of the day as long as the bugs are there.  Goober Midges, Sippers, Emerging Midges, and Midge Clusters in #18-20 are the dries to have.  If you’re not one for fishing tiny dries, the indicator rig is your best bet.  Girdle Bugs, TJs and San Juans in #8-12 are a staple for winter nymphers.  If you’re adding a second fly to your nymph rig go for a Lightning Bug, Jig PT, Prince, Spanish Bullet or Perdigon in #14-18.  Zebra Midges (now on jig hooks!) in #18-20 will round out your nymph selection.  Adding 1-2 BB split shot to your rig will ensure your bugs are getting down quick, which is especially important if you are wade fishing.  Small streamers will still work, but fish them slowly, or under an indicator with just slight twitches.

Goings on at World Headquarters in Missoula:

The new Online Store is live!  Check it out!

Call us for up to the minute updates at 406.542.7411 or if you are in the area stop in for all your Orvis gear and the right bugs.  WE HAVE MOVED TO OUR BRAND NEW LOCATION AT 275 N. RUSSELL STREET IN MISSOULA

CONDITIONS

Take advantage of the “warm” (read: above freezing) weather while you can. Be careful with bank ice and ice floating down river.

THE HATCH

Midges.

FLY PATTERNS

DRIES – Emerging Midge, Goober Midge, Sipper Midge, and Midge Clusters #18-20 NYMPHS – TJ Hooker, Girdle Bug, San Juan #08-#12. Perdigons, Spanish Bullets, Frenchies, Duracells, Jig Pts, Green Machine #14-18. STREAMERS – Sparkle Minnow #06-08, Zonkers #06 & #08 in Natural, Olive, or Yellow. Buggers #06-12

SPECIFICS

Water Flow

879cfs (below average for this time of year)

Water temperature at mid-day

35 degrees

Best time of day to fish

The warmest part of the day.

Best stretch

Anywhere you can avoid ice! More, but smaller fish in the upper sections. Fewer, but larger fish in the lower sections.

Best access point

Multiple fishing access points along the river.

Fish species

Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cutbows, pike minnows, suckers, pike and whitefish.

Nearest airport

Missoula international Airport (MSO)

Recommended fly fishing leader

From a boat – 7.5′ 3x-4x. Wading step it up to 9′

Recommended fly fishing tippet

3x top bug and 4x for second or 4x to 5x for smaller rigs

Best fly fishing rod

9ft 5wt or 6wt for nymphing and dries – 6wt or 7wt for streamers

Best floating fly line

WF 5wt or 6wt

Best sinking fly line

3ips





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