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Low flows trigger full fishing closure on upper Big Hole River

Bozeman, MT — A 46-mile section of the upper Big Hole River will close to all fishing due to low flows.

A full angling closure will go into effect at 12 a.m. on Aug. 31 from Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadow Road to the north fork of the Big Hole River. The closure will remain in effect until daily flow is greater than 40 cubic feet per second (CFS) for seven days, or no later than October 31.

A section of the lower Big Hole is currently under a hoot owl restriction, which prohibits fishing each day between 2 p.m. and midnight, due to a seasonal rise in temperatures.

These closures are in accordance with the Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Plan, which calls for angling restrictions when water temperatures exceed 73 degrees for three or more consecutive days, or when flows drop below 20 CFS. The Big Hole River recently met the latter threshold, with flows of 18 CFS near Wisdom.

Restrictions of this nature are enacted to protect fish species like Arctic grayling, rainbow trout and brown trout, which all become more susceptible to disease and mortality when conditions like low flows and high temperatures combine with additional stressors.