Fishing restrictions on the Sun and Smith rivers will be lifted at 12:01 a.m. Friday, state fisheries officials have announced.
The central Montana rivers have had three consecutive days – Aug. 24-27 – when the water temperature did not exceed 70 degrees, leading state fisheries officials in conjunction with the Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission to allow fishing throughout the day on the waterways.
The Smith, Sun and Dearborn have been closed since July 27 to fishing each day from 2 p.m. to midnight after daily water temperatures reached 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.
Afternoon and evening fishing restrictions on the Dearborn remain in effect.
The river sections reopened are 99 miles of the main stem Smith River from the confluence of the North and South forks downstream to Eden Bridge east of Great Falls; and 51 miles of the main stem Sun River from the Highway 287 bridge downstream to the mouth of Muddy Creek west of Great Falls.
Image courtesy Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks