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High Temps Bring New Fishing Restrictions to the Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers

Bull Trout
Photo courtesy of USFWS Mountain Prairie/Flickr

Montana Fish, Wildlife and parks is putting new fishing restrictions on both the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers.

“We put these restrictions into effect when temperatures reach 73 degrees for three consecutive days,” said FWP Region Two Fisheries manager Pat Saffel. “Trout prefer temperatures in the mid 50’s to the mid to low 60’s. They’re a cold water species and they take on the temperatures of the water around them so it’s pretty stressful for them at this time.”

The new restrictions will prohibit fishing during the heat of the day and could last more than a month.

“We’re asking people to not fish from 2:00 p.m. to midnight, because we have the concern that the added stress on the trout from angling could result in mortality,” Saffel said. “In a typical year, the third week in July to the third week in August is when we see the hottest water temperature.”

Saffel says that those caught fishing between two and midnight can be ticketed and fines may be imposed. The restriction could stretch into September unless temperatures drop.

Pat Saffel

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