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FWP at first step in setting four-year fishing regulations

Fishing - Region 5

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking anglers and others what issues they would like the commission to consider as it sets the state’s fishing regulations for the next four years.
Earlier this year, FWP biologists started looking at the current regulations and identified issues that they will ask the FWP commission to address this spring and summer. Now the department also is asking the public to list topics they would like the commission to consider.
Anglers and others may submit their thoughts online through the FWP Web site – – and follow the links to “For Anglers” and “2012-2015 Fishing Regs Comments.” Written comments may be mailed to: FWP Fisheries Bureau, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.
The deadline for submitting topics is 5 p.m. April 22, 2011.
The commission then will decide which issues to debate before setting tentative regulations at the August meeting. Following an opportunity for public comment on the tentative regulations, the commission will finalize the regulations at the October meeting. New rules will go into effect for four years starting March 1, 2012.   
Some of the issues already proposed for consideration are:
  • Restrictions on the collection and movement of live bait for reasons to include preventing spread of invasive species.
  • Regulations by species, allowing one standard regulation and one exception for each fishing district.
  • Allowing some harvest of cutthroat hybrids in locations where the hybrids are a threat to pure cutthroat populations.
  • Whether the commission should establish conditions under which bead fishing, currently illegal under the definition of “snagging,” would be legal.
  • Separating sauger and walleye limits to allow more flexibility in managing each species.
  • Simplifying trout limits on the Missouri and Smith Rivers.
  • Reducing burbot and catfish limits to conserve these native species.
A brochure describing the department’s suggestions is available on the FWP Web site and at fishing license providers and FWP offices.