MISSOULA - Our recent hot weather means our waterways are warming up as well.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has enacted "Hoot Owl" fishing restrictions for parts of the Bitterroot and Clark Fork rivers due to the warming temperatures. Fishing is now prohibited in certain areas from 2 p.m. until midnight.
FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser says the restrictions are not uncommon for this time of year, and the rules are put in place mainly to protect the fish.
"It just adds another layer of stress to fish that are already looking for places to stay cool and fighting the summer conditions. When we add fishing on top of that and the chance of a fish getting caught and brought out of the water during those conditions it's just another layer of stress that they really don't need. That's why those restrictions get in place so we relieve the one thing that we can control which is fishing pressure." - FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser
Restrictions are in place on the Clark Fork River from the confluence of Flathead River upstream to the confluence of the Bitterroot River. The Bitterroot River from the confluence with Clark Fork River upstream to the confluence of East Fork and West Fork Bitterroot River are also under “Hoot Owl” restrictions.
Crowser says the fishing restrictions will likely be lifted by September. Information about fishing restrictions can be found at https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions.