Earlier this month, I was contacted by a writer named Ben Jervis who told me that he was working on an online piece for National Geographic about climate change and fly fishing. Since I don’t consider myself an expert on the topic, I put Jervis in contact with my friend Todd Tanner at Conservation Hawks, figuring he’d have better info. Boy, was I right. Jervis’s article, “Climate Change Spells Trouble for Anglers” appeared online yesterday, and it’s a compelling read:
This month, anglers who flock to Montana in search of their own authentic A River Runs Through It experience are out of luck. On September 4, the Blackfoot River, centerpiece of Norman Maclean’s beloved story (and its film adaptation that gave the entire fly-fishing industry a boost in the early 1990s), was closed to fishing by officials from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. They cited “an effort to protect fish from the stress of low stream flows.” (The river has since been reopened to fishing, but drought conditions remain.)
Such river closures have become more common in recent years, in Montana and beyond. They’ve become necessary as coldwater fish populations struggle to deal with low flows and warmer waters, symptoms that scientists link to the rising global temperatures brought about by climate change.
These are issues that seem to be getting more prevalent, so it’s worth trying to understand what’s behind them