Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has placed "hoot-owl" angling restrictions on a number of western Montana streams to reduce the stress on wild fish due to high water temperatures.
The restrictions will begin Friday, July 3 with fishing allowed daily during the cooler hours between midnight and 2 p.m. until conditions improve. Fishing in cool morning hours helps reduce catch-and-release mortality.
FWP's drought policy provides for the use of angling restrictions when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when maximum daily water temperatures in a stream reach at least 73 degrees for three consecutive days.
Visit our website for up-to-date information on emergency restrictions related to heat and drought.
The preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown trout is about 55-57 degrees. Water temperatures of 77 degrees or more can be lethal to trout.
Low flows, high water temperatures, and competition for space and food stress most fish, and especially trout. Fish are often physically compromised and can die from the higher water temperatures, lower oxygen levels and disease–all health threats that can adversely affect trout numbers in future years.
FWP fisheries biologists will keepare keeping a close eye on all Montana rivers this summer. As restrictions are implemented, FWP recommends anglers seek out opportunities for fishing waters that are less susceptible to fish kills – such as high mountain lakes and reservoirs often provide such opportunities.