Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks announced several fishing closures for several rivers, effective Wednesday, due to low flows and high water temps causing stress on fish.
The news release says the Jefferson River is completely closed. Sections of the Big Hole River, connecting Beaverhead River to Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site, are also closed. Sections of Fish Creek within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of Fish Creek on the Clark Fork River are also temporarily closed to protect bull trout from added stressors.
Bull trout need cold water to survive and congregate in areas like the mouth of Fish Creek, where it is cooler. Fishing pressure has added more stress on the fish. Removing any stressors that could contribute to high mortality rates is important. Fishing restrictions are made to protect trout and other native fish that are more prone to diseases and mortality when water conditions are scarce, with low flows and high temps.
Anglers should consider fishing during the coolest part of the day where permitted and keep fish in the water as much as possible. Other practices should include wetting their hands before handling fish and landing them quickly. Gently remove the fishing hook; consider using artificial lures with single, barbless hooks that are easier to remove. If the hook is too deep in the fish’s mouth, cut the line at the fish’s mouth or consider keeping it if regulations allow it.
A complete list of all statewide water restrictions can be found by clicking here.