Anglers saw it coming - restrictions on Bitterroot River fishing are now in place. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks put "Hoot Owl" restrictions on the Main Stem of the Bitterroot, effective immediately. The rules prohibit fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight. FWP cited low water levels and warming water temperatures, which have been happening all over the Treasure State.

The restrictions do not include the East Fork and the West Fork of the Bitterroot River on the south end of the valley, south of Darby. Officials are also urging anglers to limit their fishing to allow the fish less stress. Even in the cooler hours of the day, fish should be caught with barbless hooks, should be kept in the water as much as possible when landing it and let the fish recover before releasing it back into the river.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks also added similar restrictions on all of the Clark Fork River, from its confluence with the Flathead River upstream to the confluence with Warm Springs Creek. Silver Bow Creek, including the Warm Springs Ponds, are also under Hoot Owl restrictions from the confluence with Warm Springs Creek to Montana Street in Butte. Other rivers throughout the state have already seen restrictions, including in the Big Hole.

Officials said the conditions are continuing to worsen and FWP may be adding more restrictions. The full list of the current rules are at the FWP website. Check 'em before you head out. They'll be talking about this on KGVO's Catchin' The Big Ones on Friday morning on KGVO and the Montana Outdoors Radio Show Saturday morning on KLYQ and KGVO.

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