Given the policy to lift all restrictions on September 15, it's a small win, but a win all the same.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has announced that as of today (Wednesday) lift fishing restrictions and closures on several rivers in western Montana have been lifted. And we can in part thank the unpleasant, smoky haze, not the as-yet-to-come cooler weather.

While cooler temperatures are finally in the forecast in the very near future, Montana FWP tells us that in spite of the hot air temperatures, the smoky conditions have caused water temperatures to cool down enough to meet the criteria to lift closures and "hoot owl" restrictions in Region 2. Kind of a good news/bad news scenario there.

Region 2 restrictions now lifted include the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers. Restrictions on the Gallatin and East Gallatin Rivers in Region 3 in southwestern Montana are also lifted.

A number of factors go into implementing restrictions in the first place. Obviously, the most likely suspects are low stream flows and water temperatures. Once the water's surface temperature hits 73 for several consecutive days, it's tough to move the needle enough to lift any closures or restrictions. The amount of angling pressure adding stress to the fish on a given river or stream factors in, too.

It is the policy of Montana FWP to officially lift these kinds of closures on September 15, anyway. And it's worth noting that, for now, some other rivers in Montana are still under fishing restrictions.

If you plan to venture out of western Montana, FWP advises that you still check their updated lists, at least for another week. You can do that on their closures and restrictions page here.

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