Fishing dates changed on section of Big Hole to protect spawning brown trout

Brett French

Big Hole River anglers fishing between Maiden Rock and Browne’s Bridge will be able to get on the water earlier in 2022 but have to get off sooner.

The change comes after the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission decided on Monday to alter a decision it had made in August.

In August the commission had approved new regulations to try and protect brown trout during their fall spawning season by closing fishing from Maiden Rock to Browne’s Bridge from Nov. 1 through the third Saturday in May. This section of water has the highest density of brown trout, according to research conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists.

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On Tuesday, due to continued public input, the commission decided to alter the dates.

The commission’s revision will now close the Maiden Rock to Browne’s Bridge section earlier, starting on Sept. 30, to “reduce angling impacts to spawning brown trout and minimize disturbance of spawning redds,” according to FWP’s agenda item. Redds are fish spawning beds. “Most brown trout spawning in the Big Hole occurs in this section in October.”

Commissioner Pat Byorth questioned whether opening earlier

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