MT fisheries biologist predicts river closures


Mar 11, 2001
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Fisheries biologist predicts river closures


By the Associated Press

DILLON (AP) – A state fisheries biologist expects ongoing drought conditions may close the Beaverhead and Big Hole rivers near Dillon to fishing later this summer.

Dick Oswald said with another year of drought and poor snowpack, parts of the Big Hole River will see low flows by July or August. If those levels drop below flows set in the Big Hole Drought plan, fishing could be closed, he said.

On the Beaverhead, record low storage in the Clark Canyon Reservoir means below-average flows by the end of this month, and even lower levels by mid-August, Oswald said.

“By the beginning of September, flows will probably be reduced to 35 cubic feet per second, which will render floating impossible,” he said. “Heavy algae growth at that point will make fishing difficult as flows drop.”

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will likely be asked again this year to close angling on the Beaverhead River, to protect brown trout spawning in October and November, Oswald predicted.

And as summer flows drop on both rivers, water temperatures in the afternoons and evenings will rise, Oswald said. He asked anglers to recognize that point, and limit their fishing accordingly.

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