We have had a very quick snow melt and high temps and now very warm water. There is a significant drought east ot the divide. Anything above 70 degrees can be lethal to trout if caught and the fight takes too long. Warm water means less oxygen to pass through the gills. So in the west, we now have many waters with "hoot owl restrictions".
Why "hoot" owl? Well it really isn't a "hoot" but a barred owl. Actually barred owls aren't even that common in the west. I really don't know where "hoot" came from other than the fact they "hoot" when you hear them at night. They are nocturnal feeders and that is what we want trout to be when the conditions are the way they are right now.
"Hoot owl restrictions" have been placed on many western Montana rivers. A list can be found at the Montana Fish & Wildlife site. What this does is restrict fishing during the hottest time of the day so survivability of the trout is high if caught. You can fish after 2 pm, but I wouldn't recommend doing so and these restrictions are a good thing. Save a trout for the future generations. This is also why we catch and release and fish barbless.
You can still find cold water. I am taking by kid brother to the Kootenai just below the Libby Dam in September. Any tailwater fishery is usually quite cold and safe to fish all day. Also, the higher elevation streams like the upper St. Joe are still okay. Slower moving and low lying streams though are not good to fish in summer. Soon the days will shorten and cool and these restrictions will be lifted.. Be patient. We all will soon be tromping through snow again to get to the fish.
Tags (Try these when water is warm):
Kelly Creek, ID
St. Joe River
Bull River, MT