NewsMontana News

Actions

Warm water prompts full fishing closures, restrictions on some western, southwestern Montana streams

FWP is placing full fishing closures and hoot-owl restrictions on portions of some rivers and creeks in western and southwestern Montana.
Bitterroot River Fishing Restrictions
Posted at 10:58 AM, Jul 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-27 12:58:58-04

HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is advising anglers that full fishing closures and hoot-owl restrictions will be in effect starting July 26, 2023, on portions of some rivers and creeks in western and southwestern Montana.

Full fishing closures prohibit all fishing while hoot-owl restrictions close all fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight. FWP notes the restrictions will stay in effect until conditions improve.
Full fishing closures

  • Madison River from the Warm Springs Day Use Area to the Madison Dam (Ennis Reservoir). Water temperatures measured below Ennis Lake near McAllister exceeded 73 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days since July 22, meeting fishing restriction criteria.
  • Within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek on the Clark Fork River. Maximum daily water temperatures measured at the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek has exceeded 60 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days. This satisfies angling-restriction criteria for bull trout.
  • Within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of the St. Regis River on the Clark Fork River. Maximum daily water temperatures measured at the mouth of St Regis River has exceeded 60 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days. This satisfies angling-restriction criteria for bull trout
  • Within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of Cedar Creek on the Clark Fork River. Maximum daily water temperatures measured at the mouth of Cedar Creek has exceeded 60 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days. This satisfies angling-restriction criteria for bull trout.
  • Within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of Fish Creek on the Clark Fork River. Maximum daily water temperatures measured at the mouth of Fish Creek has exceeded 60 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days. This satisfies angling-restriction criteria for bull trout.

Hoot-owl restrictions

  • Clark Fork River from the confluence with the Flathead River to the confluence of Warm Springs Creek and Silver Bow Creek.
  • Big Hole River for: Section 1, confluence with North Fork of the Big Hole River to the Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadows Road; Section 2, Dickie Bridge to North Fork of the Big Hole River; Section 4, Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site (FAS) to FWP Maiden Rock FAS. Hoot-owl restrictions for Section 5, mouth to Tony Schoonen FAS remain in place.
  • Gallatin River from the confluence with the Missouri River to Nixon Bridge near the confluence with the East Gallatin River.

According to a news release, FWP's drought policy provides for angling restrictions when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished or when maximum daily water temperatures reach at least 73º, or 60º for streams that hold bull trout, for three consecutive days. Water temperatures of 77º or more can be lethal to trout.
FWP notes anglers can also help reduce stress and mortality for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish mortality may still occur:

  • Fish during the coolest times of day, where permitted. 
  • Keep the fish in water as much as possible.  
  • Let the fish recover before releasing it. 

If high temperatures persist, anglers may want to consider fishing areas with less stressful temperatures, such as larger lakes or reservoirs, or higher elevation waterbodies.
For the latest waterbody restrictions and closures, click here.