The 28-mile middle reach of the Big Hole River from the mouth of the North Fork to Dickie Bridge has been re-opened to angling as of 12:01 a.m. Sept. 26. This reach had been closed to angling since August 24 due to low flows and record high water temperatures.
The closure followed the Big Hole Watershed Committee’s Drought Plan and was accompanied by voluntary measures by irrigators to improve flows under severe drought conditions. The angling closure was instituted to protect Arctic grayling. Friday’s re-opening marked the seventh consecutive day that flows have remained above 80 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the U.S.G.S. Mudd Creek Gauge, according to Dick Oswald, FWP fisheries biologist.
“Seasonal fall temperatures have reduced thermal stress on the fish, and flows have improved to the point where we can re-open this stretch to angling,” Oswald said. He reminded anglers that the Big Hole River and other southwestern Montana fisheries remain under the grip of severe drought.