Tuesday, September 30, 2003
The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission will decide on the final 2004-2007 fishing regulations at its Oct. 9 meeting in Helena. A public review of the tentative regulations has been underway since July.
The tentative regulations are available for review on the FWP web site at www.fwp.state.mt.us under Fishing. FWP will recommend that the Commission adopt the tentative regulations with the following revisions based on the public’s comments.
In the Western Fishing District:
- The Fisher River and Little Blackfoot River would be catch-and-release for cutthroat trout to protect these two at risk populations, but the standard limits for combined trout and/or cutthroat will remain as adopted in the tentative regulations.
- To protect bull trout, Dry Creek and Trout Creek, tributaries to the Clark Fork River between Perkins Lane Bridge near Warm Springs and the mouth of the Flathead River, will be added to the list of stream mouths requiring artificial lures to protect bull trout.
- On Flathead Lake the lake trout limit will drop from 21 to “20 lake trout daily and in possession, only one over 36 inches and all fish between 30 and 36 inches must be released,” to make the state limit consistent with tribal limits on the lake.
- The North Fork of Flint Creek will be added to the list of tributaries to Georgetown Lake that will be catch-and-release for brook trout, so the regulation is consistent among all the streams and Georgetown Lake.
In the Central Fishing District:
- The proposal to modify the standard hook and line and setline regulations in the Central District will be dropped from the proposed regulations based on public comment and these regulations will remain essentially as they were in 2003.
- On the Bighorn, Boulder, Madison, Missouri and West Fork of the Madison rivers, FWP recommends that a proposed youth exception to the catch-and-release regulation be dropped. The youth exception however, would remain in place for Hauser Reservoir, Holter Reservoir and Lake Helena. This proposed change generated the greatest public comment, with more concern expressed about the impact on river trout populations than on reservoir trout.
- Big Coulee Creek would be closed to fishing to protect a dwindling population of 150 adult cutthroat trout. The closure should not affect anglers’ overall opportunity, as substantial numbers of brook trout are available in nearby open waters.
- On Canyon Ferry the walleye limit would remain at 20 pending the results of fall walleye and rainbow trout monitoring. If the walleye population shows a decline below the target levels set, FWP would consider a reduction in the daily limit in line with comments received.
In the Eastern Fishing District:
- Bureau of Land Management reservoirs in Blaine and Phillips counties would be added to the list of approved waters for the collection and use of live bait.