Fishing Restrictions Lifted on Dearborn, Smith and Sun Rivers

By BRUCE AUCHLYy for Montana FWP

Fishing restrictions have been lifted on the Dearborn, Smith and Sun rivers in north central Montana, state officials say.

The three rivers in Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 4 have been on “hoot owl” restrictions since July 27. The restrictions closed fishing on the rivers from 2 p.m. to midnight due to low water flows and high water temperatures.

FWP’s drought policy provides for angling closures when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when maximum daily water temperatures reach at least 73 degrees for three consecutive days.

The preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown trout is about 55-57 degrees. Temperatures of 77 degrees or more can be lethal to trout.

For the latest information on drought and fire restrictions and closures around the state, visit FWP’s website at