With recent cool weather, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has lifted more river restrictions. The lifting of these restrictions along with the cooler and longer nights of late August and early September compared to late July and early August, means that anglers can now extend their fishing hours.
However, even with these cooler water temperatures, the unprecedented low streamflows mean fish can quickly be stressed if conditions change.
All restrictions were lifted on all rivers in western Montana (Region 2) including:
- Bitterroot River from the confluence with the Clark Fork upstream to the confluence of East Fork and West Fork Bitterroot River (river mile 0.0 to 83);
- Clark Fork River from confluence of Flathead River to confluence with Warm Springs Creek (river mile 103 to 339.5);
- Fish Creek from the mouth to the confluence with South Fork Fish Creek near Forks (river mile 0.0 to 9.1);
- Silver Bow Creek from the confluence with Warm Springs Creek to Montana Street in Butte (river mile 3.8 to 28.5, includes Warm Springs Ponds);
- St. Regis River from the mouth to the confluence with Twelve Mile Creek near De Borgia (river mile 0.0 to 12.55).
Rains over the past several days also improved temperatures and flows in many rivers east of the Continental Divide. In southwest, south-central and north-central Montana (Regions 3, 4 and 5), fishing closures and restrictions were lifted on:
- Beaverhead River from the mouth to Hwy 91 S (river mile 0.0 to 53.7);
- East Gallatin River from the confluence with the Gallatin River to the confluence of Bear Creek and Rocky Creek (river mile 0.0 to 42.1);
- Gallatin River from the mouth to Hwy 84 Crossing (river mile 0.0 to 32.7);
- Entire Jefferson River (river mile 0.0 to 76.96);
- Madison River from the confluence of the Missouri River to Ennis Dam (river mile 0.0 to 40);
- Ruby River from confluence with Beaverhead River to Duncan District Road (river mile 0.0 to 13.8);
- Smith River from Eden Bridge to the confluence of the North and South Fork (river mile 22.4 to 121);
- Sun River from the mouth of Muddy Creek to the Hwy 287 Bridge (river mile 17.4 to 67.5);
- Yellowstone River from Hwy 212 Bridge in Lauren to Yellowstone National Park boundary (river mile 382 to 558).
Fishing closures remain in place on the Big Hole River, Shields River and Red Rock Creek due to continued low flows in all three waterbodies.
Angling restrictions are implemented based on several considerations: stream flow, water temperatures, angling pressure and other angling restrictions in the area that may divert use to waterways where circumstances are increasing stress on the fishery.
Before you go fishing, please be aware of the conditions. Numerous other rivers in Montana are also under fishing restrictions. For a full list, visit FWP’s website: https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions.
Photo courtesy of State of Montana/Donnie Sexton