As expected, fishing restrictions are starting on the Bitterroot River and other rivers in Western Montana, due to low water and high water temperatures.

The "hoot owl" fishing restrictions start Friday, July 29, on the north end of the Bitterroot River, from Tucker Crossing to the confluence with the Clark Fork River near Missoula.

That means no fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight on that stretch of the river. In a news release, Pat Saffel of Fish Wildlife and Parks said, "Limiting fishing to the cooler morning hours is very important to reducing stress on fish right now, especially with a weather forecast that continues to be hot and dry."

The latest weather forecast for the Bitterroot Valley indicates no rain and high temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s for at least another week.

The Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited had predicted "hoot owl" restrictions earlier.

The restrictions include these rivers:

  • The entire length of the Blackfoot River
  • The Bitterroot River between Tucker Crossing and the Clark Fork River.
  • Upper Clark Fork River from headwaters at Silver Bow Creek to Rock Creek.
  • Silver Bow Creek from Blacktail Creek to its mouth and confluence with Warm Springs Creek.
  • Blackfoot tributaries - North Fork and Copper, Monture and Morrell Creeks.
  • Saffel said fishermen should limit fishing on any western Montana stream to the morning hours, even though area-wide restrictions are not in place.

    For more information, check the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website.