ALBERTON — State wildlife officials have announced that fishing restrictions are being put in place on sections of two Western Montana waterbodies.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) reports portions of Fish Creek and the St. Regis River will close to fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight, starting Tuesday due to warming water temperatures in these important bull trout tributaries.
In addition to the stress of warmer water temperatures, fish tend to congregate in cooler parts of the water during these conditions, making them more vulnerable to angling pressure, according to FWP.
With these latest additions here are the current, west-central Montana “hoot owl” restrictions:
- Fish Creek–From the mouth to the South Fork near Forks.
- St. Regis–From the mouth to Twelvemile Creek near De Borgia.
- Bitterroot– The entire main stem (which excludes the East and West Forks).
- Clark Fork–The entire river from its confluence with the Flathead River upstream to the confluence with Warm Springs Creek.
- Silver Bow Creek, including Warm Springs Ponds–From the creek’s confluence with Warm Springs Creek to Montana Street in Butte.
Anglers can help reduce stress and mortality for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish:
- Fish during the coolest times of the day, where permitted.
- 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.
- Let the fish recover before releasing it.
- Consider fishing areas with less stressful temperatures and conditions, such as larger lakes or reservoirs, or higher elevation waterbodies.
FWP continues to monitor conditions on rivers and streams and may add other restrictions. A full list can be found here.