Fishing Restrictions Lifted Across Much of Montana – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Fishing Restrictions Lifted Across Much of Montana

The end of Hoot Owl season!

We can all thank Mother Nature for a last week’s unseasonably, but welcome break to the summer heat. The cooler temps and 3 days of rain have improved river conditions no end. We saw several Hoot Owl restrictions lifted a few days ago, but now practically all time of day fishing restrictions have been lifted. You can check the FWP River Restrictions & Closures page for more info. Here is some of at the important changes for our southwest Montana rivers:

Lifted:

  • Gallatin River, the entire river is now open all day.
  • East Gallatin River, the entire river is now open all day.
  • Lower Madison, the entire river is now open all day. The upper Madison Hoot Owl was lifted a few days ago.
  • Yellowstone River, the entire river is now open all day.
  • Jefferson River, the entire river is now open all day.

Remaining Restrictions:

  • Shields River, the entire river remains closed to all fishing at all times.
  • Big Hole River, several sections remain closed to all fishing at all times. Please check the FWP River Restrictions & Closures page for more info.

This doesn’t mean we should stop treating the fish with respect. Flows are still well below average for the time of year and if the heat returns with a vengeance we may see some restriction puts back in place. Here’s some best practices to remember:

Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish mortality may still occur:

  • Fish during the coolest times of day, where permitted.
  • Land the fish quickly. Try using stronger tippet to help land fish quicker.
  • Keep the fish in the 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.

Keep them wet, and tight lines!