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FWP Commission Delegates Authority For Drought-Related Stream Closures


Fri Jun 28 00:00:00 MDT 2002

Decisions on closing Montana rivers, lakes and reservoirs to angling this summer will be streamlined. The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission, at its June meeting, agreed that FWP Director Jeff Hagener, and a Commissioner representing the area where the body of water is located, may close angling based on a process outlined by FWP. In 2000 and 2001 the Commission delegated this same authority.

"We acted in anticipation of possibly needing rapid, efficient decisions to protect trout and other fish from the effects of extreme low water flow and high temperatures, depending on what summer brings," said FWP Commission Chairman Dan Walker.

Field biologists' recommendations for a closure will follow a decision-making process outlined in FWP's Drought Fishing Closure Policy available on the FWP web site at under Fishing.

The Drought Fishing Closure Policy describes the type of action FWP will take based on the threat to the fishery. For example:

  • a voluntary angling restriction if temperature or flow conditions threaten wild fish;
  • closures from noon to midnight on priority waters and in other waters if the conditions require it; and
  • full closures prohibiting all fishing on a water with species of special concern such as bull trout.
  • "If a region experiences problems this summer, the more drought-resistant lakes and reservoirs in that region will remain open to angling, unless seriously low water levels or other unanticipated conditions occur," Walker said. "This will help offset the potential closing of wild and native trout fisheries that may not be able to sustain fishing pressure when suffering low-water conditions."