‘Hoot-owl’ restrictions enacted for Jefferson River and portions of Big Hole and East Gallatin rivers

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Cold water fish don’t respond well to warm water, especially when they’re hooked and played by anglers. 

High water temperatures that can stress and kill fish have led Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to enact what’s known as “hoot-owl” restrictions affecting three rivers in southwest Montana.

Hoot-owl fishing restrictions prohibit fishing each day between 2 p.m. and midnight.

The rivers affected are:

The entire Jefferson River.The lower Big Hole River from the confluence with the Beaverhead River upstream to the Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site.The East Gallatin River from the confluence with the West Gallatin River at Nixon Bridge upstream to Penwell Bridge Road.

FWP reported that water temperatures in these areas have exceeded 73 degrees for three consecutive days, meeting criteria for the restrictions. The restrictions will remain in place until water temperatures allow for lifting them or until Sept. 15.  

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Fishing restrictions, such as hoot-owl restrictions and full closures, are designed to protect fish that become more susceptible to disease and mortality when conditions, such as low flows and high water temperatures, combine with other stressors, including catch-and-release fishing. Restrictions may be put in place for

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