July 2013

Big Hole River Update: July 24, 2013

The winter was mild, the spring was wet, and now the summer is hot.  The river is closed from 2pm-12am at the very top and very bottom of the river.  The middle three sections, where all of the best fishing is, remains at a flow well above closure status.

Please play your fish in to the net quickly, keep them underwater when unhooking, and revive the fish in moving water before releasing.  An improperly handled fish may swim away, but due to buildup of lactic acid it will die soon after swimming off. 

Save this river for years to come!  The Drought Management Plan is detailed below.

Big Hole River Drought Management Plan
Actions & Restrictions Through 7/24/13
As predicted, flows are low and temperatures are high this season. The Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Management Plan (DMP) has been implemented on several occasions. We would like to let you know the actions surrounding the DMP so far this summer:

Flows Triggers:
Section I: Headwaters to North Fork Big Hole (measured at Wisdom Bridge) dropped below 40cfs in early July. DMP notice went out July 3 and landowner plans under the CCAA program were implemented. Flows rose by July 5 and remain above 40cfs, the first flow trigger in the DMP.

Section V: Notch Bottom to Mouth (measured at Hamilton Ditch near Twin Bridges) flows are low in this section. DMP is implemented in an effort to raise flows and implement conservation measures. As of today, flows remain at 127cfs and 27cfs above a river closure.

Temperature Triggers:
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks determined that the following sections warrant a "Hoot Owl" fishing restriction due to high water temperatures:

Section I & II (Headwaters to Dickie Bridge) "Hoot Owl" fishing restriction beginning 7/22/13
Section V (Notch Bottom to Mouth) "Hoot Owl" fishing restriction beginning7/25/13

BHWC and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue to watch Big Hole River flows and water temperatures and implement DMP actions accordingly.

Details of actions, reports, results and the DMP 2013 are posted on our website: http://bhwc.org/initiatives/drought-management/streamflow-2013/

The middle portion of the river continues to maintain flows with Sections II, III, and IV well above the first flow triggers.

Thank you for your role in supporting the river this year.