The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission has approved the first four fishing access projects funded through the Private Land Fishing Access Program.
"Approval of these four sites kicks off the new Private Land Fishing Access Program," said Allan Kuser, FWP Fishing Access Site coordinator.
Established by the 2001 Montana Legislature, the Private Land Fishing Access Program compensates private landowners for expenses associated with providing public angling access such as litter control, weed management, fire protection, fencing, parking areas, gates, cattle guards, liability insurance and other expenses.
A total of $34,500 in funding has been allocated and new projects are already in the early planning stages, Kuser said. The following projects were funded.
· Giem Ranches, on the lower Beaverhead River, offers over three miles of access to brown trout fishing and an opportunity to catch Arctic Grayling. The state will pay a total of $13,000 for the next two years.
· Gheny Pond, south of Twin Bridges, is on private land but maintained by the local American Legion. It offers fishing opportunities for youngsters. The state will pay $6,000 for a 10-year lease.
· Anglers' Roost, on the West Fork of the Bitterroot River south of Darby, is a privately owned campground. The site offers public access to the river and the landowner will provide day-to-day maintenance of the facilities. The state will pay $500 a year for one year.
· Haughian Pond, located 20 miles north of Miles City, at more than 100 acres is a self-sustaining largemouth bass and northern pike fishery with summer and winter access. The state will pay $1,500 annually for 10 years, totaling $15,000.
"We've seen a decrease in the number of areas traditionally open to angling as landowners face the increasing costs related to opening private land to public use," Kuser said. "Compensating landowners for impacts on their land is an incentive to keep their lands open. I think it can be a win-win situation for landowners and anglers."