FWP News: Commission to hold special meeting on hoot owl regulation change on the lower Madison River
By angelamontana

Posted: July 12, 2022

HELENA – The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday, July 14, at 5 p.m. to consider a proposal to remove the seasonal hoot owl fishing restriction on the lower Madison River.

This restriction was adopted two years ago as a way to avoid what had become regular emergency restrictions on the stretch of the lower Madison River from the Warm Springs access point to the confluence of the Jefferson River. Typical summer heat and flows bring the water temperatures in this stretch up over 70 degrees causing stress on trout. Hoot owl restrictions limit fishing to morning hours when temperatures are lower and close fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Current flows and water temperatures on the lower Madison River are in good shape and a hoot owl restriction isn’t necessary now. However, should conditions change, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks still has the ability to implement hoot owl restrictions.

FWP has a proposal out for public comment that, if approved by the commission in August, would broadly change rules to allow the department more flexibility when implementing hoot owl restrictions. These proposed rule changes would be in effect for all rivers statewide and would mean the seasonal restriction on the lower Madison River would no longer be necessary.

The fishing regulation change is the only item on Thursday’s agenda.

The meeting July 14 will be streamed live on the FWP website; there will be opportunity for public comment on commission action.

FWP ensures its meetings are fully accessible to those with special needs. To request arrangements, call FWP at 406-444-3186.

The commission will take public comment on agenda via Zoom. To make a comment via Zoom, you must register on the FWP website by noon on July 14.

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