Montana Fish & Wildlife made an early move this year to impose fishing restriction on a number of their most iconic rivers. Fishing restrictions are currently in place on stretches of the Big Hole, Madison Beaverhead, Ruby and Gallatin Rivers. In a July 1, 2016, press release, Greg Lemon, Information Bureau Chief, detailed the background to actions being taken:
“The public might not be aware of the dire situation facing many of Montana’s coldwater fisheries this summer, but FWP fisheries staff have anticipated this for months and are ready to act quickly to protect fisheries and work with all water users on mitigation strategies”.
“Under normal dry and hot years, fishing restrictions may be in place for a couple of days or weeks in early August on rivers like the Big Hole and Lower Madison, where flows and temperatures are regularly problematic. However, this year those restrictions come just as the summer fishing season was getting underway”.
“Low flows coupled with hot weather have caused river temperatures to begin to climb dramatically. Fishing restrictions are the first line of defense at protecting the fishery. The goal is to shift fishing pressure to the time of day when water temperatures are the lowest while protecting fish during the heat of the day. On a normal summer day, the river temperatures peak late in the evening and then plummet until they bottom out in the wee hours of the morning. Some rivers can see temperatures swings of 10 degrees or more. So typically FWP implements hoot-owl closures which prohibit fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight daily until conditions improve“.
Go to the following link for complete details FWP Press Release
In 2015, Alberta Environment & Parks imposed a total closure to fishing east-slope streams and rivers, including the Bow River for a 10 day period in August when fishery biologists believed that high temperatures and low flows combined with fishing related stress would endanger fish populations. This year river flows are lower and temperatures have been higher and earlier that 2015. This week, the Province issued an advisory for the southern Alberta fishery, requesting anglers use restraint when fishing later in the day when temperatures rise. Alberta News Release
Will we see Alberta follow Montana and impose and early total closure to the east-slope fishery as was implemented in 2015. Or will we see a “Hoot-Owl Closure”?