Montana Fly Shops, Guides Struggle with River Closures

Montana relies heavily on the media to push fly fishers its way during the summer months, but this year the news is not the friend of fly shops and outfitters, some of whom are complaining that the state is going overboard with closures. “Fly-fishing businesses are largely reliant on tourists who come from all over the world to fish Montana’s legendary trout streams in the summer, and as Kris Kumlien, manager of Bozeman’s Montana Troutfitters explains, misperceptions about the situation are only making things worse.” David Nolt in New West magazine. (Thanks to reader Grant Carter for this link.)
Reality is that even this summer there is enough good, cold water in Montana to hold ten times the anglers that good PR could send its way. Start with spring creeks, then hike up to mountain streams and high lakes that aren’t noticeably affected by the warm temperatures. And do what we do, which is go fishing when the naysayers are huddled in their hotel rooms.

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  • Good Post – All true. I’ve been in Missoula the whole summer, and while fishing has been up and down, it has held strong and there is no reasons that visitors should not still come. And also things are cooling down – if you look at the water temperatures in the streams, they are dropping and returning to normal (see Rock Creek and Clark Fork).

  • Sam Bishop

    We just came back from Montana on Monday after a week of fishing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. The fishing was fabulous, however the day we left, all trails were closed due to fire danger.
    Also, most of the other more accessible rivers are under restrictions and you cannot fish after 2 pm, or sometimes noon.
    Cutthroat fishing does not really get good until afternoons usually, so it would be very disappointing to come all the way to Montana to fish and find you had to quit at noon.

  • I have just returned from the FFF conclave in Livingston and found the Yellowstone closed from noon to midnight. The river had come up a bit with mountain rain and was muddy. It settled down in a day and the fishing was excellent. However, the water was warm enough to wet wade comfortably. I don’t know enough about the situation to say the rivers should be open all day, but as a FFF officer, I choose the fish over the pressure.