Rising water temperatures have prompted Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) officials to place fishing restrictions on more western Montana rivers and streams beginning Thursday, Aug. 2 to protect important wild trout fisheries. Waters that will close to fishing 24 hours a day to protect bull trout include portions of Rattlesnake Creek, Rock Creek and Fish Creek. Portions of the Clark Fork and Little Blackfoot Rivers will close to fishing from 2 p.m. until midnight.
Beginning Aug. 2, the main stem of Rattlesnake Creek, from the mouth of Beeskove Creek to its confluence with the Clark Fork River in Missoula, will be closed to fishing 24 hours a day. Fishing will also close 24 hours a day on Fish Creek, west of Missoula, from Forks Campground to its confluence with the Clark Fork River.
Rock Creek from the Skalkaho Highway Bridge to Windlass Bridge, will also close to fishing 24 hours a day beginning Aug. 2. Anglers are reminded that fire activity in the area also prompted the Forest Service to close Rock Creek Road July 30, restricting access to all reaches for the creek. Anglers should check with the Forest Service for updates on the road closure.
The Clark Fork River, already closed to angling from the mouth of Rock Creek to the confluence with the Flathead since July 13, will also be placed under additional fishing restrictions on Aug. 2. These new restrictions will close fishing from 2 p.m. until midnight from Galen Road Crossing, just north of Warm Springs, to the mouth of Rock Creek near Clinton.
Beginning Aug. 2, the Little Blackfoot River will be closed to fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight from the Highway 12 Bridge near Elliston to the confluence with the Clark Fork River near Garrison.
Other area rivers that remain closed to fishing from 2 p.m. until midnight include the Bitterroot River from Tucker Crossing to the confluence with the Clark Fork and the entire Blackfoot River. Important bull trout spawning and rearing areas in the Blackfoot drainage that are closed to fishing 24 hours a day include Morrell, Gold, Belmont, Cottonwood, Copper, and Monture Creeks; the North Fork of the Blackfoot River; and Landers Fork.
Restrictions will remain in effect until water temperatures have dropped and the likelihood of meeting criteria for angling restrictions again has diminished, typically in late August or early September for these sections of river and streams. For more on specific closure policy and the latest information on drought and fire restrictions and closures in Montana, visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov, click on "Drought and Fire."