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Comments Sought On Tentative 1998-99 Fishing Regulations
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Friday, September 12, 1997

Fish, Wildlife & Parks is now seeking public comment on tentative fishing regulations for the 1998-99 biennium. The proposals were adopted by the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission at its September 4 meeting in Helena.

Included in the tentative regulations on which public comment is being sought are the following:

* Eliminating the use of two poles on lakes and reservoirs within the Central Fishing District. However, anglers on Bynum Reservoir, Lake Francis, Cooney Reservoir and Big Horn Lake would be excepted from this regulation. This regulation change is intended to alleviate enforcement problems caused by anglers fishing without a license.

* Standardizing walleye and northern pike limits in the Central and Eastern fishing districts at five (5) fish daily and 10 in possession for walleye and 10 fish daily and 10 fish in possession for northern pike. Standardizing limits will help limit inadvertent violations by anglers and help clarify confusion among anglers who may travel from one fishing district to another during an outing.

* Requiring owners of ice shelters used on public waters in Montana to identify their shelters with their name, address and telephone number, to have a door which can be readily opened from the outside for inspection by an enforcement officer and to keep the immediate area around their shelters clean of litter. At present, regulations for only a few waters in the state require owner identification. In the past, some ice shelters left on the ice during the spring thaw have become a nuisance due to litter or a boating hazard when not removed in a timely manner. Current regulations require owners to remove ice shelters before ice-out each spring. The proposed identification requirement would help FWP better enforce the existing regulation by identifying ice shelter owners.

* Removing lake trout from under "Limit A" in Western and Central fishing district regulations to simplify regulations and to allow for increased harvest of greatly increasing lake trout populations without the need for enacting special regulations. The daily and possession limit, with some exceptions, would be 10 lake trout on all waters.

* Increasing current limitations on the size of crayfish and minnow traps to allow for changes in the size of those traps that are most commonly available in stores.

In addition to these statewide issues, fisheries managers in the individual FWP regions will be soliciting comments on tentative fishing regulations for specific waters within their regions. For information, please contact your nearest FWP office.

Copies of the complete tentative regulations for 1998-99 are available by writing to FWP's Fisheries Division, 1420 East Sixth Ave., PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or by calling 406-444-2449. Written comments on the tentatives should be sent to the same address or regional FWP offices by October 17.

Commissioners are scheduled to adopt final 1998-99 regulations at their November 7 meeting in Helena.