Summer is in full swing and it’s hot outside (and in the water)! Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the addition of Hoot Owl Fishing Restrictions to Big Hole River Section V beginning tomorrow, Thursday, August 8, 2019, in accordance with the Big Hole River Drought Management Plan. Section V has reached peak daily temperatures of 73 degrees or higher for three consecutive days, creating dangerous conditions for the fishery. Big Hole River Section V starts at Notch Bottom and ends at the Big Hole River mouth.Hoot Owl Restrictions mean that fishing is allowed only until 2pm, and the fishery gets a break during the hottest part of the day from 2pm to midnight. To see restrictions and closures for all sections of the river, visit our River Conditions page.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s press release, published today, 8/7/19, is available below:


Warm temps trigger fishing restrictions for section of lower Big Hole River

Flood, Drought & Fire – Region 3

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Bozeman, MT — An 18-mile stretch of the lower Big Hole River will close to fishing during the afternoon each day due to a seasonal rise in water temperatures.

A hoot owl restriction will go into effect at 2 p.m. on Aug. 8 from Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site to the confluence with the Beaverhead River. Hoot owl restrictions prohibit fishing each day between 2 p.m. and midnight.

This closure is in accordance with the Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Plan, which calls for restrictions when water temperatures exceed 73 degrees for three or more consecutive days, or when other thresholds are met. Restrictions of this nature are enacted to protect fish species like Arctic grayling, rainbow trout and brown trout, which all become more susceptible to disease and mortality when conditions like low flows and high temperatures combine with additional stressors.

This section of the river will reopen when daily peak temperatures are below 70 degrees for three consecutive days, but no later than Sept. 15.

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