Warm Water Prompts “Hoot-Owl” Fishing Restrictions On Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers plus Flint and Silver Bow Creek
By angelamontana

Posted: July 1, 2015

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is advising anglers on the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and Clark Fork Rivers, and Flint and Silver Bow Creeks that all fishing will close daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve.

      The “hoot-owl” restrictions, effective Friday July 3, apply to the entire stretch of the Blackfoot and Bitterroot and on the Clark Fork from the headwaters to its confluence with the Flathead. On Flint Creek, the “hoot owl” restrictions apply from below the Hwy 1 bridge near milepost 53, downstream to the mouth.  Silver Bow Creek is affected from its confluence with Warm Springs Creek (near Warm Springs) to the confluence with Blacktail Creek (in Butte).

      FWP’s drought policy calls for angling restrictions when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when water temperatures increase to levels that stress fish for three consecutive days.

      “All these waters have experienced high water temperatures since Saturday,” said Pat Saffel, Region 2 Fisheries Manager in Missoula. “Increased water temperatures, combined with diminishing river flows and sustained high air temperatures, means that limiting fishing to the cooler morning hours is critical to reduce stress on fish right now.”

      The preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown trout is about 55-65 degrees. Temperatures of 73 degrees are stressful for rainbow and brown trout.  Temperatures in the mid 60s are stressful to native bull and westslope cutthroat trout.  

      For details on all emergency angling restrictions and other drought updates, go to the FWP home page at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Drought & Fire Updates“.

(Report via MT FWP)