Wet weather welcome but dirties rivers

Fishing Report Wet weather welcome but dirties rivers, creeks Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bring on the rain in the lowlands and the snow in the high country. That isn’t going to help your fishing this weekend, of course. But it may mean a few more weeks of fishing late in the summer in this drought-stricken land.

Recent rains have turned most of the rivers and streams into flows of muddy water. They’re pretty much unfishable for fly and lure fishermen, but night crawlers would work.

The rainfall has also had an effect on some lake levels with both Tongue River Reservoir and Bighorn Lake coming up substantially in the past week. Fishing in both places has also started to pick up, especially Tongue River Reservoir where the crappie bite has started in deep waters and smallmouth bass fishing is very good.

Here’s the weekly fishing report:

Montana waters

Bighorn Lake: The lake is rising. Action is starting to pick up. Some smaller male bass are being caught in the dam area. Walleyes are also being caught up the lake. Jigs and minnows are your best bet. – Scott Lundin, Osprey Realty, Billings.

Bighorn River: Little sowbugs are starting to work better in sizes 16 and 18. The best lead fly has been a size 14 or 16 pink or dark orange Bighorn scud. Black quill nymphs in size 18 are also producing well. Weather fronts have been changing the success of fishermen. Some days are better than others. – Duane Schreiner, Bighorn Fly and Tackle, Billings.

Boulder River: The river below the West Fork is high and muddy. Above Natural Bridge, it’s still low and clear and fishing well with nymphs like bitch creeks, beadhead copper johns, prince nymphs and pheasant tails. – Jim McCall, Rainbow Run Fly Shop, Billings.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir: Fishing is spotty. Walleye action is improving a bit. They’re using a variety of tactics. Rainbow action is getting a bit better. Casting marabou jigs to the shoreline in the upper third of the lake is a good tactic for rainbows, with a lot of them running 2 to 4 pounds. – Terry McArdle, Townsend Marine, Townsend.

Castle Rock: Fishing is relatively slow. The lake is high. A good time to hit the bass in the flooded shoreline. – Scott Lundin, Osprey Realty, Billings.

Cooney Reservoir: Fishing is slow. A few big walleyes are being caught at night. A few rainbows are being caught. – Scott Lundin, Osprey Realty, Billings.

Fort Peck Reservoir (Dam area): Some nice walleyes are being caught down the Dry Arm. Jigs and minnows are also taking walleyes in Duck Creek. Fairly large minnows and jigs are working well. Lake trout are still biting well at 35 feet. – Donna Moore, Lakeridge, Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Reservoir (Hell Creek): The lakers are still hitting well on crankbaits in 18 to 25 feet of water. The northern pike bite is good on smelt. Some are being caught on cranks as well. A few walleyes are also being caught off the bank. – Deb Thomas, Hell Creek Marina.

Gallatin River: The river is rising and getting nasty. Muddy waters are making fishing very tough. – Josh Stanish, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Hauser Reservoir: Rainbow fishing is good. Shore anglers are catching rainbow at the Causeway Bridge while using night crawlers or marshmallows. Boat anglers are having the most success in the Causeway while trolling Rapalas or spoons. The rainbows are being caught near the surface at all hours of the day. Walleye and perch fishing are slow. – Eric Roberts, FWP, Helena.

Holter Reservoir: The walleye fishing isn’t red hot now, but should start soon on jigs and spinners. Split Rock is a good area. Rainbow fishing remains good. – Terry McArdle, Townsend Marine, Townsend.

Missouri River (Below Holter): The river had been fishing well down below, but the Dearborn is now pumping in a lot of muddy water. Up above, the river is fishing well. Blue-winged olives are coming off. Some caddis had also been coming off on the lower river, but it will take clearer water to fish them. – Garry Stocker, Montana Fly Goods, Helena.

Missouri River (Fred Robinson Bridge): Catfish action has been very good, with some walleyes and sauger being caught on live minnows. No word on paddlefish yet. – Dale Pfau, Don’s, Lewistown.

Madison River: The lower Madison is going to start to get dirty. The upper river is getting dirty now. Some caddis, March browns and golden stones are coming off, but water clarity is the key. – Josh Stanish, Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.

Nelson Reservoir: Fishing has been good for walleyes and northern pike. Jigs and minnows are your best bet. – Melissa Lundstom, Westside Sports, Malta.

Petrolia Reservoir: Plenty of water, but action is slow. – Scott Lundin, Osprey Realty, Billings.

Spring Creek: A few blue-winged olives are out. The creek is a bit off-color. Nymphs are producing. – Dale Pfau, Don’s, Lewistown.

Stillwater River (Lower): The river is up, but is still clear, just a little off-color below the Rosebuds. There’s a good caddis hatch in the afternoons and baetis patterns are also working. Pheasant tails and prince nymphs are working down under. – Mike Segota, Suds and Bugs, Columbus.

Stillwater River (Upper): Above Absarokee, it’s low and clear and still has a few caddis. Beadhead hare’s ears, red copper johns and lightning bugs are producing well in sizes 14 and 16. – Jim McCall, Rainbow Run Fly Shop, Billings.

Tongue River Reservoir: With recent heavy rains, the reservoir level came 25 horizontal feet up the boat ramp on PeeWee Point since last Thursday. Crappie are starting to bite in deep water on small jigs. Smallmouth bass are biting really well on crankbaits, small spinners and jigs. An occasional 5-pound northern pike is also being caught. Getting off the roads is dangerous due to a lot of mud. – Bob Peterson, Tongue River Reservoir State Park manager.

Yellowstone River (Columbus): The river is high and muddy and not fishable. – Mike Segota, Suds and Bugs, Columbus.

Yellowstone River (Intake): The Montana paddlefish season will open May 15. Snagging has been decent at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri in North Dakota, which opened its season on May 1. The fish are staging there, waiting for a shot of high, muddy water to move up into Montana. – Scott Sundheim, www.scottsundheim.com.

Yellowstone River (Livingston): Everything is blown out. The river is high and dirty. – Jeff Welke, Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop, Livingston.

Wyoming waters

Bighorn River: The rivers are running high and brown. – Melanie Stine, The Outdoorsman, Worland.

Boysen Reservoir: Trout are biting well. They’re hitting on just about anything near the shorelines. The walleye bite has started. Points in the early morning are your best bet. – Collette Hackett, Boysen Lake Marina.

Clear Creek: It’s bankful and off-color due to rain and snow. – Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo.

Healy Reservoir: Float tubers are doing well with scud patterns and woolly buggers fished deep. Spin fishermen are using KastMasters and little Jake’s Lures. – Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo.

Keyhole Reservoir: The Northeast Wyoming Walleye Association held a tournament last weekend and the winner weighed five fish for 33 pounds Saturday. Not a lot of fish being caught, but some big ones. Some nice pike have been caught. The smallmouth and crappies aren’t hitting strong yet. The Wyoming Walleye Circuit’s Governor’s Cup will be held on the lake this weekend. – Dennis Tebeau, Keyhole Marina.

Lake DeSmet: Fishing has been tough due to weather. Fish are cruising the shorelines. Spawn sacs and power bait are working for bait fishermen. Marabou jigs are also working, along with beadhead pheasant tails. – Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo.

Ten Sleep Creek: The creek is high and muddy. – Melanie Stine, The Outdoorsman, Worland.
Billings Gazette – Billings,MT,USA
Tie Hack Reservoir: It’s open enough for fishing. Little black dry flies and blue-winged olives are producing. – Charlie Gould, Just Gone Fishing, Buffalo.

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