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An 18-mile stretch of the lower Big Hole River will close to fishing during the afternoon each day due to a seasonal rise in water temperatures.

A hoot owl restriction will go into effect at 2 p.m. on Aug. 8 from Notch Bottom fishing access site to the confluence with the Beaverhead River. Hoot owl restrictions prohibit fishing each day between 2 p.m. and midnight.

This closure is in accordance with the Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Plan, which calls for restrictions when water temperatures exceed 73 degrees for three or more consecutive days, or when other thresholds are met.

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The restrictions are enacted to protect fish species like Arctic grayling, rainbow and brown trout, which all become more susceptible to disease and mortality when conditions like low flows and high temperatures combine.

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This section of the river will reopen when daily peak temperatures are below 70 degrees for three consecutive days, but no later than Sept. 15.

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