Fishing restrictions for Sun River and Smith River

Fishing restrictions for Sun River and Smith River

Source: KRTV
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By: MTN News

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks announced this week that parts of the Smith River and the Sun River will be closed to all fishing daily, starting Sunday, due to low water levels.

Until conditions improve, anglers are advised that from 2 p.m. to midnight, “hoot-owl” closures have been issued. A “hoot-owl” fishing restriction is an afternoon closure instituted by Montana FWP.

On the Smith, the areas affected are from the confluence of the North and South forks to Eden Bridge south of Great Falls. On the Sun River from Highway 287 Bridge to the mouth of Muddy Creek west of Great Falls will be closed to all fishing.

FWP’s drought policy allows for angler closures when the flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when maximum daily water temperatures reach at least 73 degrees for three consecutive days.

Officials say the preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown trout is about 55 to 57 degrees. Temperatures of 77 degrees or more can be lethal to the fish.

Fishing only in the morning and alerting fishermen to reduce the catch-and-release mortality, according to FWP officials, is one of the best short-term strategies to address the heat-induced stress in Montana’s wild and native trout.

“Fishing only in the cool morning hours can help,” said Grant Grisak, FWP Region 4 fisheries manager. “We’re trying to minimize additional stress on wild trout during this summer of high water temperatures and low flows. This is really important among catch-and-release anglers who should reel in their catch and release it as fast as possible. Reducing the time on the line can really help the survival of trout this time of year.”

These are the first angling restrictions imposed this year in FWP Region 4. For details on all emergency angling restrictions and other drought updates, go to the FWP home page. Click “Drought & Fire Updates”.