Restrictions

 

Hoot owls have begun nesting.

 

Seriously, though.  Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks instituted a Hoot Owl Closure for several rivers in the Bozeman area this last week.  This means that you cannot fish the following stretches of river from 2 p.m. to midnight:

 

Gallatin River - Four Corners downstream to Headwaters

Lower Madison River (i.e. Madison dowstream of Ennis Dam to Headwaters) - entire river

Jefferson River - entire river

Ruby River - Duncan District Road to confluence with Beaverhead

Beaverhead River - entire river

Big Hole River - assorted stretches*

 

FAQs:

 

Why is there a closure in the first place?  

Due to a low-snow year this last winter, water levels have dropped early in the season.  As levels drop, water temps warm and dissolved oxygen levels in the water become dangerously low for trout.  After fighting a fish, it will be stressed and may not be able to get enough oxygen to recover and survive.

 

How long will the closure last?

The closure will be lifted when water temperatures drop back into safe levels for trout.  It will likely be in place for the entire summer, but could be lifted in the case of a wet, rainy couple of weeks in the Bozeman area.

 

Why is it called the Hoot Owl Closure?

Owls rest during the day, and are active at night and into the early morning.  During the closure, anglers are required to give the rivers a rest during the day and night, but can fish in the early mornings.

 

*For more details on closures, visit the Montana FWP: Fishing & Waterbody Restrictions page

 

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