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'Hoot Owl' Restrictions Cast A Wide Net Across Western Montana

Map of "hoot owl" fishing restrictions in Montana as of August 3, 2021.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Map of "hoot owl" fishing restrictions in Montana as of August 3, 2021.

Additional fishing restrictions took effect Monday for rivers in western Montana. As of Monday night, the entire main stem of the Bitterroot River from Missoula to the confluence of its east and west fork went under a “hoot-owl” closure, prohibiting fishing from 2 p.m. until midnight.

Another stretch of the Clark Fork River will also be restricted, now closing fishing after 2 p.m. on the entire river from its confluence with the Flathead River to its headwaters near Anaconda. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks also announced on Tuesday that portions of Fish Creek and the St. Regis River are now under “hoot owl” restrictions.

The restrictions are intended to prevent fishing during the heat of the day, when high temperatures can stress trout and other cold-water species. According to the FWP’s website, 19 Montana rivers and streams have seen fishing restrictions, and in some cases, complete closures.

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