Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) announced that a full fishing closure will begin for the Beaverhead River starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.
The entire river will be closed, from its confluence with the Big Hole River to Clark Canyon Dam.
FWP said in a news release that a flow reduction from the Clark Canyon Dam to the Beaverhead River will begin on Sept. 1, several weeks earlier than usual, due to severe drought projections.
The flow reduction along with hot temperatures in the forecast are expected to stress individual fish and could adversely affect the fishery, which led to the decision to close the river to fishing.
The closure will stay in place until water temperatures moderate and angling pressure is not expected to cause undue stress to fish, according to FWP.
FWP said in the release that since all stress to fish this time of year is cumulative, anglers should consider fishing in cooler waters during times of low flows and high water temperatures in rivers.
The agency suggests anglers follow these practices to reduce stress on fish when catching and releasing, where fishing is allowed:
- 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.