Bozeman, MT — A full fishing closure that has been in place for a portion of the Big Hole River has been lifted.
Flows in this part of the Big Hole recently met the criteria for lifting the closure, remaining above 40 cubic feet per second (CFS) on average for seven consecutive days.
The closure was initiated last month after flows had dropped below the 20-CFS average threshold for a full angling closure, as directed by the Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Plan. The closure extended from the Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadows Road upstream to the North Fork of the Big Hole River.
Restrictions of this nature are designed to protect fish, such as Arctic grayling and trout, which become more susceptible to disease and mortality when conditions such as low flows and high temperatures combine with additional stressors.
Some waterbodies, such as the Big Hole River, can see seasonal hoot-owl restrictions and closures due to rises in water temperatures and low flows. Updates to fishing restrictions, closures and reopenings can be found at fwp.mt.gov/news/restrictions/waterClosure.html.
Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish:
- Land the fish quickly.
- Wet your hands before handling the fish.
- Keep the fish in water as much as possible.
- Remove the hook gently. Using artificial lures with single and barbless hooks can make hook removal faster and easier. If the fish is hooked deeply, you may have to snip the line at the fish’s mouth or consider keeping it, if regulations allow.
- Let the fish recover before releasing it.