West-Central Montana Fishing Access Sites Reopen
By Jackalope Jordan

Posted: June 5, 2018

Spring runoff mellowed enough to allow Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to reopen fishing access sites in West-Central Montana affected by high water. However, some restrictions remain in place.

FWP issued the following news release on Monday.

Flood waters have receded enough that Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) was able to reopen all west-central Montana fishing access sites (FASs), Council Grove State Park and the Blackfoot River, from Weigh Station to the confluence with the Clark Fork, today.

However, the Clark Fork River, from Reserve Street Bridge to the upstream boundary of Kelly Island FAS, remains closed to all floating, swimming, angling and other recreation, due to dangers caused by downed power lines in the river.

In addition, some river access sites are not yet open to vehicles, due to continued flooding and related cleanup activities.  FASs with walk-in only access include:  Blackfoot River (Monture and Harry Morgan); Bitterroot River (Bell Crossing); Clark Fork River (Sha-Ron and Kelly Island’s Mullan Road access).

Additionally, the disabled fishing platform at Harper’s Lake FAS in the Blackfoot Valley is not accessible to anglers, due to high water levels.

The Blackfoot River, from Weigh Station Fishing Access Site to the confluence with the Clark Fork River, opened today after an extended closure related to construction work on the Interstate 90 bridge piers. High water raised the river level close to the temporary construction platform under the bridge, providing for limited clearance for floaters.  More construction-related safety closures are expected for this stretch of river later this summer.  Check the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov for updates.

Although many access sites are open again, high water and its associated safety concerns continue. Recreationists should watch out for dangers during spring high-water season that include:

  • heavy debris load in water that is often hidden under the surface
  • rapidly changing water levels
  • extremely cold water
  • heavy currents
  • logs that get lodged together and create a hazard
  • flooded roadways
  • bridge abutments that catch debris and create swirling waves
  • turbid, muddy water that makes other hazards in the water difficult or impossible to see

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