Hot River Tips

Fun boaters
June 21, 2016

Keep cool and be cool to the river.

As the summer heats up, rivers lose their cool, making things a little tougher for our fish and streams.

This summer is shaping up to be another extremely dry one, but you can help reduce the impacts on our rivers and wildlife. Here are five tips to enjoy a water-wise summer:


  1. Give fish a break:  Handle them properly and keep them wet! Land fish quickly, use barbless hooks, keep fish in the water as much as possible, don’t take a photo if you don’t have to, remove the hook gently, and let fish recover before release.
  2. Respect river closures and “hoot owl” restrictions:  Warm water stresses fish and can cause higher post-catch mortality. By the time restrictions are issued, fish are already stressed. Consider fishing high alpine lakes when your favorite river is heating up.
  3. Help protect streambanks:  When floating or tubing, use proper put-ins and take-outs to avoid eroding the banks, which reduces shade cover and degrades water quality. Don’t trample streamside vegetation and avoid bandit trails.
  4. Conserve water outside:  Water lawns in the early mornings, and deep soak only when needed. If grass springs back up when you step on it, it doesn’t need water. Also keep grass at 3 inches or more, which promotes water retention in the soil.
  5. Conserve water inside:  Turn off the tap while washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or shaving. Installing water-saving features like low-flow faucets and toilets can reduce your in-home water use by 35%.

brown troutThese tips are just the beginning of what we can do to help the river during the hot summer months. At the Coalition we work every day to add water to thirsty creeks and streams. Our restoration work reconnects tributaries to mainstem rivers, repairs streambanks, restores instream flow, removes fish passage barriers, and improves water quality.

We also work collaboratively with irrigators to lease or purchase water rights for instream flow. More water in the stream during the key times makes all the difference for the health of the stream, and the fish and wildlife that depend on it.

Please join us in caring for western Montana’s rivers – we invite you to learn more and become a member today. Thanks!

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