MISSOULA - Fishing will be off limits at the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek starting on Saturday.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says a full closure will go into effect where Rattlesnake Creek enters the Clark Fork River in Missoula.
FWP notes the closure applies to water on the Clark Fork River and Rattlesnake Creek within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of the creek.
The temporary closure is being put in place to protect bull trout from the additional stress of fishing while water temperatures stay warm.
Bull trout require cold water to survive and tend to congregate in areas such as the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek, where water temperatures are lower than the river.
The location also receives consistent fishing pressure, adding more stress to the fish in the area, according to FWP.
"Bull trout numbers are low in Rattlesnake Creek and surrounding areas, and removing any stressor than can contribute to mortality is important to the population," a news release states.
Restrictions are also in place for other waterbodies.
Anglers can find a statewide list of current restrictions at fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions.
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 higher water temperatures in rivers, according to FWP.
Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish where fishing is allowed (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.