Hoot Owl Restrictions
Note: Everything below this is a legacy post.
We're quickly approaching the time of year where the water temperatures start rising and the fish start struggling. In the interest of protecting our fisheries and the beautiful trout that live in them, Montana FWP will instill "Hoot Owl" Restrictions during this time of the year. If you hear that a water is under those restrictions, it means that you can no longer legally fish it past 2pm for that day. At that point, the water temperatures reach lethal levels for the fish and, with the added stress that comes from being caught, fought, handled, and released, it's really hard for trout to recover.
There are a lot of ways to stay up-to-date with what waters are under restrictions. We try and keep our blog and fishing reports current, so you can always check our website. FWP has a great interactive map that highlights the different restrictions throughout the state. They also do a written report every time they have to close a waterbody down.
The following sections of rivers will be closed to fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve:
- Big Hole River from Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadows Road to the Mouth of the North Fork Big Hole River;
- Big Hole River from Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site to the confluence with the Beaverhead River;
- Lower Beaverhead River from Anderson Lane to confluence with Big Hole River;
- Lower Madison River from Ennis Dam to the mouth;
- Lower Gallatin River from the confluence with the Madison River at Three Forks to Sheds Bridge (Hwy 84) near Four Corners;
- East Gallatin River from Spring Hill Road Bridge (Hwy 411) to the confluence with the Gallatin River;
- The entire Jefferson River
- The Sun River
- The Smith River
These restrictions come two weeks later in the year than the first restrictions seen in 2015 and 2016.
If you're ever unsure, feel free to swing by our shop in Four Corners. We're in the bright green building on the corner next to Mama Mac's.....it is pretty hard to miss us. We will have all of the information and supplies you need for a successful day fishing!