Low Water Levels, High Temperatures Cause Fishing Closures On Iconic Montana Rivers

Yellowstone river

Some of the most iconic and pristine fishing spots on the entire planet are temporarily closed for business.

Montana is famed for its expansive web of world class trout streams. Fishing is a hugely popular activity for Montana locals, and tourists from around the world flock to the state to try their luck at hooking into trophy Brown Trout.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department has restricted fishing access to reduce pressure at times with low water flows and high water temperatures makes fish more susceptible to disease and death. The closure of rivers for recreational fishing is in accordance with the state’s official drought policy.

Starting on Tuesday, a full fishing closure was implemented on the Shields River from where it meets the Yellowstone River down to the U.S. Forest Service’s Crandall Creek Bridge.

Starting on Wednesday, anglers have been prohibited from the Big Hole River at its confluence with the Beaverhead River and town to the Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site. The Gallatin River is also closed from its headwaters to the Montana Highway 84 Crossing.

Evening fishing restrictions are also now in effect on portions of the Madison, Beaverhead, Missouri, Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers. In most of those areas, fishing will be closed from 2 p.m. to midnight on large portions of waterways on the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.

Be sure to check out the full list of closures from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks prior to planning a fishing trip on one of Montana’s rivers

For Montana residents and visitors interested in scratching their fishing itch while the rivers are closed should look into getting on one of the state’s many reservoirs.

A man holding a fish

According to the Billings Gazette, the walleye fishing is hot right now. Walleye fishing is reportedly good at reservoirs such as Canyon Ferry and Hauser and in the Big Dry Arm at Fort Peck.

There are also reports of some solid chinook fishing action at the Fort Peck reservoir.

Fishing on the reservoirs will be best at the coolest portions of the day, such as the early morning or late afternoon.

The state record Walleye was caught earlier this year, and there have been7 state record fish caught in Montana over the last 9 months, including a new state record large mouth bass at one of the reservoirs.

A man holding a fish

If you plan on doing a little fishing while in Montana, be sure you purchase a fishing license.

The sale of fishing licenses directly funds the protection and enhancement of public boat ramps, aquatic environments, and fish populations in all 50 states.

It also protects you from potentially being fined, having your gear confiscated, and/or losing your fishing privileges. It’s important to remember that just because you have a fishing license in one state, that does not mean it is valid in another state.

And as always, please fish responsibly and save the whiskey until after you’re off the water.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock