Friday, November 21, 1997
HeadlinesAt its meeting in Helena on November 7, the FWP Commission adopted final fishing regulations for the 1998-2000 biennium. Included are: 1) walleye and northern pike limits in the Central and Eastern fishing districts will be standardized at five (5) fish daily and 10 in possession for walleye and 10 fish daily and 10 fish in possession for northern pike; 2) lake trout will no longer be included under "Limit A" in Western and Central fishing district regulations. The change was made in an attempt to simplify regulations and to allow for increased harvest of greatly increasing lake trout populations. The daily and possession limit, with some exceptions, would be 10 lake trout on all waters; 3) the rainbow trout limit on the Missouri River from Holter Dam downstream to the Cascade Bridge will now be three fish, with only one over 16 inches in length. The reduced limit was adopted as a result of the discovery of whirling disease along this stretch of the river; 4) to help limit the impact of five new fishing access sites which opened on the river last summer, the daily trout limit on the Ruby River in southwestern Montana will be three fish, with only one over 15 inches in length; 5) fishing for cutthroat trout in all of the upper Flathead River system, including Flathead Lake and all tributaries outside wilderness boundaries, will be catch-and-release only. Catch-and-release regulations for cutthroat also were adopted for several tributaries of the Bitterroot River. The regulations were implemented to maintain fishing opportunities while protecting cutthroat populations; 6) anglers will still be allowed to use two lines when fishing lakes and reservoirs in the Central Fishing District. A tentative regulation to limit most waters to only one line was changed back to the current regulation after the majority of public comment supported use of two lines.