Water temps are on the rise and Hoot Owl Restrictions are in place on several of our local rivers. It's only the second week of July. We've got a lot of summer ahead of us. There is still some really great fishing to be had, but you do have to keep a couple things in mind.
Use enough rod and a strong enough tippet to fight the fish quickly and easily. If you play a fish for too long in the warm water, it can't recover from the build up of lactic acid in its muscles. There also isn't as much oxygen in the warm water. Get them in quickly.
Leave them in the water as long as possible. If you have to get a picture, frame it out and have everything ready before you pull the fish out of the water. LIft the fish up, get your picture, and put them right back in. Minimize the time they aren't wet.
Be gentle. You never want to hold a fish too tightly. This is especially true in the summer when water temps are high. Be very gentle when handling fish. Get the hook out as quickly as you can too. Fishing barbless hooks in the summer is helpful.
Let them recover. Give the fish time to recover and catch their breath as it were before letting them go. Gently hold them in the current, and when they are ready to go they will go. Never just throw fish back right after catching them. Bigger fish will need more recovery time.
Unlike many other states, Montana doesn't stock any of our rivers. These are all wild populations of fish. If we don't take care of them, we won't have a fishery to enjoy. Please take care of what we have.