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First fishing restrictions of the year imposed on Madison, Sun rivers

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The Madison River near Ennis. PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR | CC-BY-SA 2.0

‘Hoot-owl’ restrictions go into effect Wednesday


Montana Fish,Wildlife and Parks announced Tuesday the first fishing restrictions imposed this year will be on portions of the Sun and lower Madison rivers, which will close to all fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight beginning Wednesday.

The closures will be on the Sun River from Highway 287 bridge to the mouth of Muddy Creek, and on the Madison River from the Warm Springs Boat Launch to the confluence with Jefferson River. FWP said the restrictions, put in place due to low flows and warm water, will stay in effect until conditions improve.

“Limiting fishing to only the cool morning hours can help a lot,” said Eric Roberts, FWP’s Fish Management Bureau Chief. “We’re trying to minimize any additional stress on wild trout during these mid-summer conditions of high-water temperatures and low flows.”

The FWP’s drought policy states that angling restrictions will be enacted when the water reaches temperatures of at least 73 degrees, or the flows drop to critical levels for the fish. Temperatures of 77 degrees or warmer are lethal to trout.

The FWP says anglers can help lower the stress on fish and reduce their mortality rates by fishing during the cool times of the day, keeping the fish in the water as much as possible and letting the fish recover before releasing it.

FWP said one way to alleviate heat-induced stress in Montana’s wild trout is to reduce catch-and-release mortality by allowing anglers to fish only in the morning.

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