Hoot Owl - Protecting Our Trout

2 years ago


As the summer temperatures rise, water conditions become dangerous for fish in some areas. In Montana, we protect our fish with mandatory hoot owl restrictions. This means fishing is restricted when water temps become dangerously high. When the water temperature rises above 70-degrees, it becomes stressful for trout. Catching them often means killing them. Montana closes the rivers in the danger zone after 2 pm. If you live in a state without Hoot Owl restrictions, consider a voluntary model to protect your favorite fisheries. Spread the word in your community and choose to limit fishing to the early morning hours. Here are a few alternatives to consider during this time:

Tailwaters - Cold water and year-round fishing. Any river with bottom release dam will provide a chance to fish for trout during the hottest months. Expect picky trout that are larger than average on many of these rivers. The Frying Pan and Taylor in Colorado, Lower Sacramento in California, Green in Utah, San Juan in New Mexico, Lees Ferry (Colorado River) in Arizona, Big Horn and Missouri Rivers in Montana.

Spring Creeks - Spring Creeks remain cold throughout the year and present a great option during the summer. Expect prolific hatches and selective trout during these months. Bring your A-Game to places like Depuys in Montana, Silver Creek in Idaho and the Fall River in California.

Mountain Lakes - Strap on your boots and get to hiking. High mountain lakes have cold water and in many cases, easy trout. Head to the Sierra's, Cascades or Rockies for a lifetime supply of lakes to explore.

Alternate Species - Take a break from the trout go chase some pike, bass, walleye, perch, carp or lake trout. There are many species that will take a fly and some are especially aggressive. Predators like pike and bass will explode on a surface pattern or a streamer.

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