Montana Trout Wranglers

Southwestern Montana's Premier Fly Fishing Guide Service

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fly Fishing Montana When Restrictions Are Present

Early morning on the Madison River Early morning on the Madison River

Some years when we have low water and unseasonable hot weather the state will put into effect the most common restriction called a “Hoot Owl” restriction. It allows the rivers to be closed to fishing from 2pm-midnight.

"Why do they do this?" you ask. Well, generally the warmest part of the day is 2-4pm, and this is when water temperatures will be the highest and the trout are stressed. Trout are very sensitive to their environment and like cool or cold water temperatures. When water temperatures exceed over 70 degrees, the state will step in and institute the hoot owl regulations. Many times they will not close the entire river but sections that are in the danger zone. They have been doing a great job this year removing the restrictions when the temperatures drop out of the danger zone for a number of days. There are a few things you can do to improve your catch rate and help out the trout during this time frame.

  1. Get an earlier start to your day. We understand that many of you are on vacation and may not want to get up at dark to go fishing. Generally the best fishing is when the water is cooler, so take advantage of this time and get out there earlier than later to take advantage of the prime time fishing.
  2. Play the fish quickly and try not to exhaust them completely.
  3. Everyone would like a picture of their catch. Please don’t ask for a picture of every fish you catch. Let’s get them back to their homes as quickly as possible.
  4. If you are going to get a picture of that trophy, let’s make it quick.
  5. Choose a different river that may not have any restrictions on it.

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