Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks closed portions of the Lower Madison and
Upper Big Hole Rivers to fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight daily, beginning
Monday, July 22. Consistent high water temperatures and low stream flows
have prompted the “hoot-owl” closures until conditions improve.
The closures were issued on the Lower Madison from Ennis Dam to the
mouth of the river and on the Upper Big Hole from the headwaters to Dickey
Bridge. Similar restrictions were issued on the Dearborn, Smith and Sun
Rivers in central Montana.
The FWP drought plan calls for angling restrictions to be imposed when
maximum daily water temperatures equal or exceed 73 degrees for three
consecutive days. The preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown
trout is about 55-57 degrees. Brown trout, rainbow trout and mountain
whitefish caught when water temperatures exceed 73 degrees suffer an
increased mortality rate due to the cumulative stress.
“The fish need a break,” said Region 3 Fisheries Manager Travis Horton. “We
will continue to work together with anglers and irrigators to reduce stress on
fish populations whenever possible.”
Anglers can find details on fishing restrictions or closures at fwp.mt.gov.