As air and water temperatures continue to climb, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff urge anglers to use extra care when handling fish during the continuing hot summer days.

“Water temperatures have been steadily increasing, and with warm overnight temperatures and no major cool down in sight, we want to remind people how important it is to minimize handling any fish that they intend to release,” said Jason Rhoten, FWP fisheries manager in Great Falls. “One important way that anglers can help minimize catch-and-release mortality is by limiting their fishing to only the cooler morning hours.”

Rhoten added that it is important to land fish quickly and to not lift fish from the water when unhooking them or taking photos.

“Try to do all you can to minimize any stress to the fish that comes from being handled,” Rhoten said.

Despite low water flows and rising temperatures, the tailwaters of the Upper Missouri River are still currently open to fishing, although other fishing restrictions are in place for numerous rivers across Montana. Biologists are closely monitoring the Missouri, should conditions warrant imposing fishing restrictions there.

“We haven’t yet hit that temperature threshold to propose restrictions on the Missouri,” Rhoten said. “But no one has a crystal ball to see what the rest of our summer weather will look like. We still have a couple months of what are normally some of the hottest weather of the year. We need anglers to do their part to ensure that the fish survive this summer and are there to be caught again in the future.”

For a full list of fishing restrictions, visit FWP’s website: https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions

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