With recent summer temperatures reaching into the nineties, the water temperatures on many of our area rivers have reached the threshold for Hoot-Owl time restrictions. Check the press release below from Montana FWP for a the list of rivers and sections added to the list. Hoot-owl time restrictions allow fishing from midnight until 2:00 pm, but closes fishing from 2:00 pm until midnight to reduce stress on the fish during the hottest part of day. Even though we were sitting on 100% snow pack in March, a much hotter, drier than normal June has taken it’s toll on the snow and ultimately, temperatures. Flows have been good but unfortunately the water temperatures have not, resulting in the additional fishing restrictions.
ADDITIONAL FISHING RESTRICTIONS ON SW MONTANA RIVERS Contact: Andrea Jones, MT FWP
(Bozeman)—Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has announced fishing restrictions on additional sections of the Big Hole River, the lower Ruby, lower Beaverhead, Jefferson, and lower Gallatin Rivers effective Friday, July 1 at 2 p.m. as a result of high water temperatures. The restrictions beginning Friday will close the following rivers to fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve:
- The Big Hole from the Mouth of the North Fork Big Hole River to Dickie Bridge
- The Big Hole from Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site to the Mouth
- The Beaverhead from Anderson Lane to the Mouth
- The Ruby from Duncan District Road to the Mouth
- The Gallatin from Shed’s Bridge Fishing Access Site to the Mouth
- The entire length of the Jefferson River
Additional restrictions are possible on other stretches of these or other southwest Montana rivers in the coming weeks. Regional Fisheries Manager Travis Horton says FWP is keeping close track of weather, but the main concern is for the health of the fishery.
“Although a slight cool off occurred on Thursday, the temperatures for the holiday weekend are forecast continued hot and dry. Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to err on the side of caution for protecting trout populations against additional stress during this period of hot and dry weather,” said Horton.
And while FWP is putting restrictions on when people can fish these stretches of rivers, Regional Supervisor Sam Sheppard said, “These rivers are still open for a great fishing experience, anglers just need to adjust their timing so as not to cause the extra stress we’re concerned about.”
Restrictions remain in place for the following stretches of southwest Montana rivers:
- The Big Hole from Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadows Road to the Mouth of the North Fork Big Hole River
- The Madison River from Ennis Dam to the Mouth
For up-to-date information on restrictions related to drought, visit MT FWP.
We’ll be on our early-on early off schedule if you wish to fish one of the affected river’s. For more information on Montana Fly Fishing and guided fishing on other area cold river’s like The Madison and Beaverhead River‘s please visit Fishtales Outfitting.