Flows on the Jefferson River at Twin Bridges dropped below 400 cfs last week, triggering a call by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Jefferson River Watershed Council to ask anglers to limit fishing to the morning hours on the full length of the river. Water users were asked to conserve water to help maintain a minimum flow in the river for fish.
The watershed council’s Drought Management Plan calls for voluntary angling restrictions on the river when flows reach 400 cfs at the Twin Bridges gauge.
The Jefferson River fell to below the 400 cfs trigger last week. On July 29 the flow at Twin Bridges was 450 cfs and conditions worsened downstream where flow was about 275 cfs at Three Forks. Daily maximum temperatures are very warm, ranging from 77 degrees near Twin Bridges to about 81 degrees near Three Forks.
When flows fall to 250 cfs at Twin Bridges, FWP will evaluate a mandatory fishing closure, as called for in the Jefferson River Watershed Council’s Drought Management Plan.
More information on the impact of drought on the Jefferson River can be found on the watershed council’s web site at www.jeffersonriverwc.homestead.com or on the FWP home page at www.fwp.state.mt.us under Drought & Fire ’03.