Several angling restrictions on rivers in southwest, north-central and south-central Montana went into effect July 20, 2021 due to warming temperatures and low flows.
The restrictions include what are commonly known as “hoot owl” restrictions, which means fishing is closed from 2 p.m. to midnight each day. Some waters are under full fishing closures, which prohibit fishing at all times of day. These closures and restrictions will stay in effect until conditions improve.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ drought policy provides for angling closures when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when maximum daily water temperatures reach at least 73 degrees for three consecutive days. Warm and dry conditions are expected to continue during the coming weeks.
Angling restrictions are implemented based on several considerations: stream flow, water temperatures, angling pressure and other angling restrictions in the area that may divert use to waterways where circumstances are increasing stress on the fishery.
When conditions are stressful for fish, disease outbreaks and fish kills are to be expected. The public should report any unusual sightings of dead or diseased fish to their local FWP office.
Under normal conditions, fish can fight off infections. However, under the stress of high temperatures and low flows, they are more susceptible to these diseases.
Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish mortality may still occur:
To see the list of closures and read the full article, please visit https://fwp.mt.gov.