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800 pound gorilla

Posted by Sandy 
800 pound gorilla
August 06, 2016 12:53PM
The following is a partial list of fishing closures in effect in Montana right now. Much is missing. There are many other closures in effect right now. This is unprecedented. We've had closures and Hoot Owl restrictions (no afternoon fishing) before. But not on this scale.

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle August 6 '16:
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced in a news release that the Big Hole River from the Maiden Rock Fishing Access Site to the Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site is closed after flows dropped below 190 cubic feet per second.

Madison River from Ennis Dam to the confluence with the Jefferson River.

Ruby River from Duncan District Road to the confluence with the Beaverhead River.

Shields River from Daisy Dean Bridge Road to the confluence with the Yellowstone River.

Yellowstone River from Carter’s Bridge Fishing Access Site to the confluence with the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone east of Laurel.

Other fishing closures remain in effect, including a full closure on the Jefferson River and hoot owl restrictions on the following stretches:

Beaverhead River from Anderson Lane to the confluence with the Big Hole River.

East Gallatin River from Spring Hill Road Bridge to the confluence with the main Gallatin.

Gallatin River from Sheds Bridge to the confluence with the Madison."

For fly fishermen who want to fish for trout in moving water there isn't much choice right now. It's almost all closed.

We've had drought for over thirty years now. It gets worse every year. Hatches are disappearing statewide. The Pale Morning Dun hatches on Big Spring Creek are almost gone and they're thinner every year on Montana's Livingston area Spring Creeks. The Spring Creek fishing there has been in decline for a decade or more. Giant Salmon Fly stonefly nymphs are almost gone now in the Yellowstone's Paradise Valley downstream from Tom Miner basin. There are still a few flies each June, down in the valley. But not many. The Salmon Flies are gone from the lower end of the Madison's Beartrap Canyon.

No one is sure exactly what is going on. Warmer winters with less snow, lower flows, warmer water, siltation, dramatically increased pesticide applications and over fishing all play a part. Last year the Montana Fish and Game shocked a smallmouth bass only a few miles downstream from Livingston Montana. They'll be up in the Paradise Valley before too much longer.

The evidence of over fishing is impossible to miss. On Montana's Big Horn River, in the first 14 or so miles below the Afterbay Dam it's now almost impossible to catch a fish without hooking scars--many with multiple scars and many of them appear as big bulbous, cancerous growths of some kind. It's a little better on Montana's Missouri River between Craig and Cascade. But not much better.

The permanent ice fields on Montana's Beartooth pass are all but gone. Bird migrations start measurably earlier every year. This isn't speculation, there has been a spate of academic papers recently documenting the earlier bird migrations. New bird species appear in Montana every year as the Northern most ranges of many species creep ever further up into higher latitudes.

The fishing industry doesn't want to talk about it. I understand. Fishermen don't want to talk about it either. But this dam has to break at some point. Gradual change for the worse is starting to look like the beginning of a flash flood.

The Emperor's new clothes are before us. It's time to take our heads out of the sand.
Re: 800 pound gorilla
September 20, 2016 07:31PM
The same is happening here on Vancouver Island in the Pacific coast of British Columbia. Rivers are closed to all fishing during the summer months because of low flows and high water temperatures.
The writing has been on the wall for decades about changing and declining fisheries, both recreational and commercial. When there are so many factors affecting this decline it is hard to get sustained pressure on the government to do something. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their PART of the problem so all regulatory bodies, and user groups, simply hang back and keep beating on their part of the resource.
For me it's simple - you have 2 interacting parties: the fisheries resource and the users. The users are the party that has created the detrimental effects on the resource. The users are the party that needs to change to give the resource a chance to respond.
We - the users - thought we were being magnanimous by adopting and practicing catch and release while at the same time ignoring a growing impact on a diminishing resource. Unless you're going to peddle to your fishing, you'll be contributing CO2 to the climate change problem.
So what can you do personally to make a change?
How about fish on alternate days? Use the other day to explore and watch in preparation for your fishing day.
Commit to C&Ring fewer fish by limiting your casts. Most of us have come to learn that success isn't about the number of casts but about the number of effective casts.
Learn to read a river! That day off can really help you to understand where fish are and how to most effectively make your presentation.
Release fish in the water without touching them. If you must have a 'grip & grin', prepare everything so you lift the fish for less than 5 seconds and get it back in the water.
This is not rocket science. It is self discipline that can make a difference.
Write to your elected representatives to express your concerns about these issues, or be prepared to explain to your children or grandchildren why you did nothing!
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