Yellowstone

irideaduck

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The Madison at Kirby has not peaked over 68 deg F ... not sure why they implemented Hoot Owl which generally occurs when temps meet or exceed 73 deg F three days in a row.
 

mandotrout

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The Madison at Kirby has not peaked over 68 deg F ... not sure why they implemented Hoot Owl which generally occurs when temps meet or exceed 73 deg F three days in a row.
This is from an email sent out by FWP:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ drought policy provides for angling closures when 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. Warm and dry conditions are expected to continue during the coming weeks.
Angling restrictions are implemented based on several considerations: stream flow, water temperatures, angling pressure and other angling restrictions in the area that may divert use to waterways where circumstances are increasing stress on the fishery.


There have been a few recent articles in the local press here about the Madison and other Southwest Montana rivers that are seeing unexplained and unexpected reductions in fish numbers in the past couple of years. FWP is probably just being proactive and protective because of all the stressors this year, including unprecedented fishing pressure both this year and last. I'm sure others have noticed that with only one exception that I know of (and also where there are other known stressors occurring), they have not enacted any restrictions on the west side of the continental divide as yet, even though some of those streams can get pretty warm too.
 

Redrock

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There have been a few recent articles in the local press here about the Madison and other Southwest Montana rivers that are seeing unexplained and unexpected reductions in fish numbers in the past couple of years. FWP is probably just being proactive and protective because of all the stressors this year, including unprecedented fishing pressure both this year and last. I'm sure others have noticed that with only one exception that I know of (and also where there are other known stressors occurring), they have not enacted any restrictions on the west side of the continental divide as yet, even though some of those streams can get pretty warm too.
Among the guides and hard core locals these concerns are taking off. Rumors of reductions of brown trout numbers in the fish counts are a topic of conversation. It may all be idle gossip, but I personally saw several browns last Fall that had fungus growth. I hope the MT FW&P biologists are ahead of the game on what’s happening to the brown trout population.
 

dharkin

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Posted this in another thread yesterday;

FWP Header
High temps prompt additional fishing restrictions on several Montana rivers
HELENA – Several angling restrictions on rivers in southwest, north-central and south-central Montana go into effect today due to warming temperatures and low flows.
The restrictions include what are commonly known as “hoot owl” restrictions, which means fishing is closed from 2 p.m. to midnight each day. Some waters are under full fishing closures, which prohibit fishing at all times of day. These closures and restrictions will stay in effect until conditions improve.
The following closure went into effect today:
  • A full fishing closure for portions of the Shields River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to USFS Crandal Creek Bridge.
These closures go into effect, Wednesday, July 21, at 12:01 a.m.:
  • A full fishing closure for portions of the Big Hole River from the confluence with the Beaverhead River to Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site.
  • A full fishing closure for portions of the Gallatin River from the mouth to Hwy 84 Crossing.
  • A full fishing closure for the entire Jefferson River.
These restrictions go into effect, Wednesday, July 21, at 2 p.m.:
  • Hoot owl restrictions for the entire reach of the Madison River from the mouth to the boundary with Yellowstone National Park.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Beaverhead River from the mouth to State Highway 91 South.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Missouri River from Town of Cascade Boat Ramp to Holter Dam.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Stillwater River from the confluence with Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site.
  • Hoot owl restrictions for portions of the Yellowstone River Hwy 212 Bridge in Laurel to Yellowstone National Park boundary.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ drought policy provides for angling closures when 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. Warm and dry conditions are expected to continue during the coming weeks.
Angling restrictions are implemented based on several considerations: stream flow, water temperatures, angling pressure and other angling restrictions in the area that may divert use to waterways where circumstances are increasing stress on the fishery.
When conditions are stressful for fish, disease outbreaks and fish kills are to be expected. The public should report any unusual sightings of dead or diseased fish to their local FWP office.
Under normal conditions, fish can fight off infections. However, under the stress of high temperatures and low flows, they are more susceptible to these diseases.
Anglers can help reduce stress for fish by following these practices when catching and releasing fish, though fish mortality may still occur:
  • Fish during the coolest times of day, where permitted.
  • Land the fish quickly.
  • Keep the fish in water as much as possible.
  • Remove the hook gently. Using artificial lures with single and barbless hooks can make hook removal faster and easier.
  • Let the fish recover before releasing it.
Before you go fishing, please be aware of the conditions. Numerous other rivers in Montana are also under fishing restrictions. For a full list, visit FWP’s website: https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions.
If you’re looking for angling opportunities, many ponds, lakes and reservoirs in Montana provide good mid-summer angling options. For more information go online to fwp.mt.gov. Streams at higher elevations that don’t experience higher temperatures are another good option.
 

LePetomane

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I have written off fishing in Montana for the season. This allows me to spend more time with my granddaughter when I visit Bozeman.
 

mikemac1

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Among the guides and hard core locals these concerns are taking off. Rumors of reductions of brown trout numbers in the fish counts are a topic of conversation. It may all be idle gossip, but I personally saw several browns last Fall that had fungus growth. I hope the MT FW&P biologists are ahead of the game on what’s happening to the brown trout population.
I think you’ll learn in the coming weeks and months that indeed the MT FWP is taking a proactive approach on the brown trout decline issue. The Region 3 Fisheries Managers and the river biologists are working hard on a plan that will help them evaluate scientifically not only what is driving the declines, but what specific tools (read angling regulations and policies) could be implemented to improve brown trout populations. This is not a simple problem as the watersheds experiencing the declines a not only varied in habitat and flow from source to mouth, those habitats are significantly different from river to river. Identifying a single driver of the decline is just not in the cards.

From what I understand, the plan is to recommend to the MT Fish and Game Commission (the sole decision maker on any regulation or policy change) a series of regulation changes on the affected waters that would allow the biologists to actually test the efficacy of any regulation change. Based on the lifecycle of the brown trout, this has to be a 3-5 year effort. In other words, if you implement a regulation on a specific reach of a river, does that regulation actually help improve the population or not. Using control reaches on the same river (no new regulation), this process helps validate the efficacy of the imposed regulation.

One of the positives that is coming out of this issue is the MT Fish and Game Commission’s mandate to involve concerned citizenry in this process. The FWP Fisheries managers and biologists can’t just impose regulation change recommendation. They must seek citizenry inputs and use those inputs to help formulate their recommendations to the commission.

A recent focus group I attended with Region 3 Fisheries managers and biologists had representation from landowners, conservation groups, outfitters and ordinary citizens representing the affected watersheds. It was rewarding to see the consensus developing over key aspects of the MT FWP plan moving forward. At this point it is unknown what specific recommendations will be made going forward but there are four specific sets of tools the FWP is planning to consider. 1) The greatest consensus was around Fall closing of critical stream sections into springtime to protect spawning grounds. 2) Mandatory C&R on selected sections (although there’s legitimate debate around C&R mortality rates) and whether or not harvest rates are impacting the populations. 3) Regulatory “Hoot Owls” in the late summer on selected streams (versus policy “Hoot Owls” based on transitory temperature situations. ) 4) Gear regulations, particularly the use of barbless hooks (again, the scientific evidence on the efficacy of barbless over barbed on mortality is mixed).

So what I think you will see is some straw man set of recommendations being presented to the Commission next month that will open up more public debate on this issue. At that point the commission will gather public input and lay out the path ahead.
 

mandotrout

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Not quite, both the Clark Fork river and Silver Bow Creek have “hoot owls”
That's why I said "with one exception that I know of." That stretch of the Clark Fork has had some problems besides temperature in the past couple of years.
 

caddis75

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Here's the thing. Brown trout aren't native to Montana. They were introduced to the US in the 1880s. That is not a very long time for a species to take root. Plus with a million other issues: overfishing, water rights, climate change, did we expect to have unlimited fishing forever?
 

swanny66

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I just got back form Yellowstone. The lake fishing was really good. We did some backcountry fishing and killed the brooks. 50+ in 1.5hrs of fishing. But the streams have been quite hot so fishing times have been short. And the pressure.....why we went o the lakes in the back country.
 

Swazicar

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I don't see an announcement on the Yellowstone web site, but the park apparently lifted hoot owl restrictions as of yesterday (August 20). I just spent 10 days backpacking in the southwest corner of the park, coming out Wednesday, when it rained all morning.
 
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