HELENA – Fishing restriction and closures on several streams in southwest Montana will be lifted at midnight tonight because of recent cool temperatures and forecasted rain.
This includes the hoot owl restrictions on the lower Beaverhead River, four sections on the Big Hole River, the lower Gallatin River, Jefferson River, the lower Madison River and Ruby River. This also includes lifting the full closure on the Madison below Ennis Dam.
Fishing restrictions, such as hoot owl restrictions and full fishing closures, are designed to protect fish that become more susceptible to disease and mortality when conditions, such as low flows and high water temperatures, combined with other stressors, including catch-and-release fishing.
All stress to fish at this time of year is cumulative, and anglers should consider fishing in cooler waters during times of low flows and high water temperatures in rivers. Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish mortality may still occur:
- Fish during the coolest times of day, where permitted.
- 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 cut the line at the fish’s mouth or consider keeping it if regulations allow.
- Let the fish recover before releasing it.