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Entries in Montana FWP (59)


High water forcing some fishing access to close 

The Bitterroot is among the rivers starting to flood with the warmer weather(MISSOULA)- High water getting into roads and parking areas is forcing Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to close, or restrict access to several popular fishing access areas on the Blackfoot and Bitterroot rivers. 

Although the rivers are still below their actual flood stages, some water has started to get over the banks and into the boat launches and parking areas. And more flooding is possible later this week as temperatures warm back up. 

FWP announced this afternoon access areas on the Bitterroot with restrictions and closures include Darby Bridge, Woodside Bridge, Bell Crossing, lower portions of the Florence Bridge and the campground portion of Hannon Memorial. 

Because of the safety closure at Woodside, Angler's Roost is the last takeout spot on the upper Bitterroot. Demmons FAS is available for carry-in boats. Blodgett Park, Veteran's Bridge and other sites not managed by FWP may also be closed because of the high water. 

On the Blackfoot, FWP has imposed a partial closure at the Harry Morgan fishing access site. The boat ramp and campground are closed but people can use the upper parking area and still walk down the river. 


Users have until end of May to comment on Bitterroot River closure

(HAMILTON)- Anglers and recreational boaters will have until the end of May to let Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks know what they think of an emergency closure that's shut down several miles of the Bitterroot River.

FWP issued the emergency closure last week, shutting down the river between the Woodside Bridge Fishing Access site and the Tucker West Fishing Access site downstream. 

The "emergency rule" was issued because of safety concerns over the Supply Ditch Diversion Dam, an unmarked dam that's used to pull irrigation water from the river about 3-miles downstream from the Woodside Bridge. FWP managers say the dam has caused "numerous boating accidents" over the years, including the one last year that took the life of a 6-year old Washington girl. 

FWP says the dam crosses the only channel in the river that's floatable through most of the summer and creates dangerous currents that catch floaters unaware. During the early spring and summer, the state says it's difficult to portage around the site. 

While the boat ramps at the two fishing accesses remain open for people to access the Bitterroot on either side of the closed section, signs make it clear the river is off limits. However, after irked boaters posted "free the river" signs this week, FWP is opening up public comments to see what river users think should be done. 

Those options may include modified closures, or finding a way to make the dam site safer. 

FWP will be accepting comments through May 30th. 


Authorities want info on grizzly shooting near Ovando

(OVANDO)- State wildlife agents are hoping to hear from anyone who knows about the death of a grizzly bear that was shot and killed near Ovando earlier this month. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens say the sow grizzly was found on Sunday, November 3rd and they determined the bear had been shot. The bear had three yearling cubs, and FWP was able to trap two of the cubs. They've been transferred to the Bronx Zoo so they can be cared for. At last word, biologists hadn't been able to capture the third cub. The agency says it is possible the lone cub can survive the winter. 

Anyone with information is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT. Callers can remain anonymous and may eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to a conviction. 


Test results show disease carried by gnats to blame for deer deaths

FWP photo(MISSOULA)- Test results are back, and biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have confirmed that epizootic hemmorrhagic disease is what's killed hundreds of deer in the Missoula area over the past month.

Nearly 400 dead dear have been found since the outbreak started in September. The first deaths were west of Missoula, but since then dead deer have been found in and around Missoula, and in the Bitterroot Valley as well. These first test results are for the deer that were found west of Missoula.

EHD is carried by biting gnats and doesn't pose a danger to humans. FWP says it remains to be seen if the cold weather has killed off the gnats and allowed the outbreak to run its course. 

It's the first time FWP has reported EHD deaths west of the Divide. 


FWP hopes for test results on deer deaths next week

FWP photo(MISSOULA)- Biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are hoping to have test results next week which will help them determine whether a disease carried by gnats is to blame for killing hundreds of deer in the Missoula region. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks began receiving calls about large quantities of dead deer west of Missoula earlier this month. As of late last week as many as 100 reports had come in. But now the estimate has climbed to 200 deer. 

FWP spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser says the reports are also coming in from a wider area, with calls of dead deer east up the Clark Fork Valley and in the Bitterroot. 

However, Crowser says biologists are still waiting for test results to determine if the deer died from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, which is transmitted by a biting midge or gnats. If the test results are positive in these cases, it will be the first time EHD has shown up west of the Continental Divide in Montana.