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Bitterroot River level drops to 30-year low

FISHING -- Much of Montana, and the state's fabled fisheries, are hurting badly for water.

The Missoulian reports the Bitterroot's flows are at a 30-year low.

Low stream flows and continued high water temperatures and prompted Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials on Sunday to close the Upper Big Hole River from Rock Creek Bridge (5 miles upstream of Wisdom) to the mouth of the North Fork Big Hole (approximately 14 miles downstream from the Wisdom Bridge) to all fishing (effective Sunday, August 11) until conditions improve.       

Flows on the Upper Big Hole in the area noted above have dropped below 20 cubic feet per second (cfs) for three consecutive days.  This closure will remain in effect until flows improve to at least 40 cfs for seven consecutive days with water temperatures less than 70 degrees for three consecutive days as well.

FWP biologists will continue to monitor all southwest Montana rivers to ensure the health of local fish populations. FWP appreciates the patience of the angling community.

  • For details on all emergency angling restrictions and other drought updates, go to the FWP home page at and select Drought & Fire under the Hot Topics heading.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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