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Emergency Fishing Restrictions Adopted For Big Hole, Beaverhead & Ruby rivers

New emergency fishing regulations are in place for the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Ruby rivers.


The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted the new regulations during its June 8 meeting. These restrictions limit angling during the brown trout spawning season and harvest in some stretches of the rivers.



Trout abundances in several areas of the three rivers have steadily declined since 2011 and are at or near historical lows. Meanwhile, fishing pressure in these areas has increased. The emergency fishing regulations aim to be responsive to fish populations in accordance with Montana’s draft statewide fisheries management plan.


The current fishing regulations for the three rivers are as follows:

Big Hole River

  • Entire river

  • Catch-and-release for Arctic grayling

Headwaters to Dickie Bridge

  • Combined trout: five daily and in possession

Dickie Bridge to the mouth

  • Open April 1 through Sept. 30

  • Catch-and-release only

  • Artificial lures and single-pointed hooks only. No treble or double hooks. Anglers may remove treble or double hooks from the lure and replace them with a single hook, or the shanks may be cut off the other hook points to leave a single hook. Lures with multiple hook attachments may still be used but any treble hook must be replaced by a single hook.



Beaverhead River

  • Entire river

  • Catch-and-release for rainbow trout

  • Artificial lures and single-pointed hooks only. No treble or double hooks. Anglers may remove treble or double hooks from the lure and replace them with a single hook, or the shanks may be cut off the other hook points to leave a single hook. Lures with multiple hook attachments may still be used but any treble hook must be replaced by a single hook.


Clark Canyon Dam to Pipe Organ Bridge

  • Open third Saturday in May through Sept. 30

Clark Canyon Dam to High Bridge

  • Catch-and-release only

High Bridge to Barretts Diversion

  • Five brown trout daily and in possession; all fish must be less than 18 inches

Pipe Organ Bridge to Barrett’s Diversion

  • Open all year under standard Central District regulations


Barrett’s Diversion to mouth

  • Open April 1 through Sept. 30

  • Catch-and-release only

High Bridge FAS to Henneberry FAS

  • Closed to float fishing by nonresidents and float outfitting on each Saturday from the third Saturday in May through Labor Day

Henneberry FAS to Pipe Organ Bridge

  • Closed to float fishing by nonresidents and float outfitting on each Sunday from the third Sunday in May through Labor Day

Highway 91 South Bridge (Tash Bridge) to Selway Bridge

  • Closed to float outfitting from the third Saturday in May through Labor Day




Ruby River

  • Upstream from Ruby Reservoir

  • Combined trout: all may be cutthroat trout


Downstream from Ruby Dam

  • Catch-and-release for rainbow trout. Angling is closed the entire year just below Ruby Dam, from its confluence with Ruby Dam outlet channel upstream to the dam, including the outlet channel.


From Ruby Dam to Alder Bridge (Ruby Island FAS)

  • Catch-and-release for brown trout

  • Open April 1 through Sept. 30


From Alder Bridge (Ruby Island FAS) to the mouth

  • Brown trout: one daily and in possession, must be less than 18 inches


For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/fish.



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