Montana Fishing Closures
With the recent hot and dry weather, Montana rivers are getting warm enough to require restrictions and in some cases closures. Here are the current restrictions and closures throughout SW Montana.
- A full fishing closure on the East Gallatin River from Penwell Bridge Road downstream to the confluence with the Gallatin River.
- A full fishing closure on the Shields River from Rock Creek downstream to the confluence with the Yellowstone River.
- A full fishing closure on the upper Big Hole River from the North Fork of the Big Hole River downstream to Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadow Road.
- A full fishing closure on the Ruby River from the Duncan District Road crossing downstream to the confluence with the Beaverhead River.
- A hoot owl on the Big Hole River from the North Fork of the Big Hole River downstream to Dickie Bridge, and from the Maidenrock Fishing Access Site downstream to the Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site.
A hoot owl on the East Gallatin River from the confluence of Bear Creek and Rocky Creek downstream to Penwell Bridge.
A hoot owl on the Shields River from the U.S. Forest Service Crandal Creek Bridge downstream to the confluence with Rock Creek.
A hoot owl on the Gallatin River from Montana Hwy. 84 in Four Corners downstream to the confluence with the Missouri River.
A hoot owl on Upper Clark Fork – From the confluence of Rock Creek near Clinton upstream to the confluence with Warm Springs Creek.
A hoot owl on Silver Bow Creek, including Warm Springs Ponds -- From the creek’s confluence with Warm Springs Creek to Montana Street in Butte.
- A hoot owl on the Beaverhead River from Laknar Lane Bridge downstream to the confluence with the Big Hole River.
- A hoot owl on the lower Big Hole River from the Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site downstream to the confluence with the Beaverhead River.
A hoot owl for the entire Jefferson River.
A hoot owl on the Madison River from Ennis Dam downstream to the confluence with the Jefferson River.
Check the Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks website if you are not certain whether the river you want to fish is on "Hoot Owl" or closed
What to Do?
With many of our favorite rivers encompassed by restrictions and closures what is an angler to do? Take a hike. No, really, take a hike. There are still plenty of fishing opportunities around Western Montana and to find cold water all it takes is a bit of walking. High mountain lakes or small mountain streams both hold fish and the size and strength of these critters may surprise any angler. Pick a blue line on the map, if it's warm, pick another one. If it's cold, fish it.
Fish warm water. Carp, pike, bass, perch, bluegill, sunfish pick a warm water species and get after it. These species are built different. They can withstand much warmer water than trout and many of them can be found in the ponds around town.
Take care of our aquatic friends and be extra careful when handling trout. Trout are stressed enough when the water is in the high 60's and adding an angler, a long fight, a photo shoot and poor handling practices will likely kill a stressed fish. Handle trout with care, fish early in the day, keep fish in the water, fish barbless hooks, and get off the water early. We want to ensure trout are able to grow and spawn so we can catch them in the future.
We will be closed on the 4th of July, have a fun and safe Holiday!