Flooding Forces Closure Of Fishing Access Sites And FWP Warns Boaters Of Hazardous Conditions

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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials said today that flooding has forced the closure of 11 fishing access sites in the western portion of the state and made conditions hazardous on a number of rivers.

Seven FASs on the Bitterroot River were closed Monday, May 19 including: Hannon Memorial, Wally Crawford, Angler’s Roost, Woodside Bridge, Bell Crossing, Poker Joe and Florence Bridge. On the Clark Fork River the Kona Bridge FAS west of Missoula on Mullan Road is also closed.

FAS sites in southwest Montana closed today include: Four Corners and Gallatin Forks (Nixon Bridge) on the Gallatin River near Manhattan and High Road on the Big Hole River near Twin Bridges. The closures will remain in effect until flood conditions subside.

Currently, high flows on the Missouri River are above Canyon Ferry, with lower flows below the dam. FWP officials are closely watching conditions at Headwaters State Park near Three Forks and said portions of the park may need to be restricted as early as tomorrow if the rain continues.

Water levels on the Missouri River below Holter Dam could increase dramatically over the next week as Canyon Ferry Reservoir fills, or sooner if the heavy rains develop as predicted.

“As water levels continue to rise other FAS sites may need to be closed in the near future. Closed sites will be signed for the public,” said Ron Aasheim, FWP Communication and Education Division administrator.

Aasheim said that conditions in the eastern part of the state include high winds and high water, with floating debris in the Yellowstone and Tongue Rivers.

Although most fishing access sites remain open, visitors to these sites should use caution around rising waters. FWP officials advise boaters to avoid venturing out onto area rivers until flows slow and flood conditions subside.

The water is very cold from melting snowpack and the flows are high and powerful. Snags and debris are also being pushed down the river, creating dangerous conditions.

Aasheim cautioned those recreating outdoors this weekend to be extremely careful along the banks of rivers with high flows and to be aware conditions may change rapidly.