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Drive-in public access to Gartside Fishing Access Site near Sidney is temporarily unavailable because a bridge on the main access road to the reservoir is closed after failing a recent inspection. However, Richland County and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are devising a temporary detour route to allow vehicle access, which could begin as early as next week.

A Montana Department of Transportation inspection conducted on Oct. 25 determined that the bridge is no longer structurally sound, and it meets the threshold for emergency closure. MDT closed the bridge on county road 116 this week pending repairs. Gartside FAS remains open, but the bridge is a half-mile from the reservoir, and walk-in access over the bridge is not recommended. Walk-in access to Gartside is possible from county road 115, but that is also some distance from the water. The detour will allow access through the winter while the bridge is repaired.

The dam and water levels at Gartside require monitoring by FWP, so employees have been granted limited access to the site using a light ATV.

Gartside is a popular fishing and recreation spot. Bird hunters utilize the surrounding state lands in the fall, and the reservoir sees a lot of ice fishing in the winter. The reservoir offers a diverse fishery, with bluegill, green sunfish, yellow perch, black crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and channel catfish.

“We regret the inconvenience to the public, but we ask for patience while the bridge and access issues are addressed,” said Jamie Hould, FAS manager in southeast Montana.

FWP will update the public on access status at Gartside as soon as information is available. People can visit the FWP website at https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions.

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