Montana Rivers Becoming Too Low and Too Hot for Fish
The continuing drought and the early fire season continue to cause major restrictions throughout Montana. In Western Montana, Stage 2 fire restrictions have been put on most lands, including, most recently, on those of the Bureau of Land Management. But, starting in southwest Montana and on into eastern Montana, it's the rivers that are, literally, taking the heat.
When Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks receives word that a river has dropped below a critical level for fish survival or the stream's daily water temperature is at least 73 degrees for three days in a row, that river is closed to any fishing.
So far, full fishing closures include:
Hoot Owl Restrictions (where you cannot fish from 2 p.m. to midnight) are at:
The restrictions are in effect immediately.
On rivers that are not restricted, anglers need to reduce stress on the fish by using barbless hooks, fish in the coolest times of the day, land the fish quickly, keep it in the water as much as possible, and let the fish recover before releasing it. Also, you can fish in ponds, lakes and reservoirs (which are also warming up, but not as fast) and in the higher elevation streams with colder water, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.