By Tom Palmer - Information bureau chief Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Cooler, more seasonable temperatures, and better but still low stream flows in several of Montana's premier wild trout streams, allowed Montana, Fish Wildlife & Parks Tuesday to lift nine existing advisories requesting that anglers voluntarily limit all fishing to mornings only.
"The cooler water removes one of the primary stress factors that placed our wild and native trout fisheries at risk this summer," said Larry Peterman, chief of FWP's fisheries division. "We know that this drought will impact our fisheries, but we also know that anglers who voluntarily stopped fishing their favorite stream, and irrigators who
cut back on water use, have personally participated in this season's most important conservation effort. They helped fish survive and those fish will be spawning and producing wild trout for next season and beyond. They all deserve our thanks."
The advisories were lifted effective Tuesday. The original advisories were issued due to a mix of low flows and warm mid-day water temperatures that expose wild and native trout to several layers of environmental stress.
Voluntary midnight to noon fishing advisories are lifted for:
Beaverhead River below Park Street Bridge
Big Hole River below Dickey Bridge
Boulder River (southeast of Big Timber) below Natural Bridge
East Gallatin River
Gallatin River below the Highway 191 Bridge at the mouth of the canyon
Lower Madison River below Ennis Dam
Upper Missouri River from Headwaters State Park to Canyon Ferry Reservoir
Yellowstone River from Yellowstone National Park downstream to Huntley Diversion
Extremely low flows in the Shields River and the Red Rocks River, however, prompted FWP to issue a full voluntary fishing closure, also effective today.
"These rivers are very low," Peterman said. "There are virtually no fishing opportunities on the Shields and Red Rocks rivers, but to ensure a safe harbor for fish living in isolated pools, we're requesting that anglers fish elsewhere," Peterman said.
FWP closes streams to fishing when low-water conditions and high temperatures, combined with fishing pressure, would lead to an unacceptable level of stress on fish. Montana's streams and rivers contain wild trout that replenish their populations through natural spawning. It is critical that sufficient numbers of spawning-age trout are conserved to repopulate the fishery when conditions improve.
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