Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking comment on proposed fishing regulation changes for 2011. The changes, to go into effect March 1, 2011, include proposed changes in the Western, Central and Eastern fishing districts.
· On Flathead Lake, to protect the bull trout population, the lake trout limit would be raised to 100 daily in possession, with no change to the slot limit.
· On Georgetown Lake, due to an improved brook trout population, the catch-and-release regulation for brook trout would be lifted and two fish could be kept daily.
· On the North and Middle forks of the Flathead River, a size restriction for trout will be dropped to be consistent with regulations recently adopted by Glacier National Park. This change would also help to conserve cutthroat trout by encouraging harvest of rainbow trout.
· On Lake Koocanusa, in an attempt to reverse a bull trout decline, FWP proposes to decrease the harvest from two to one bull trout for anglers with a Bull Trout Catch Card. In addition, the number of lines that anglers may use to fish in open water or through the ice would drop from two to one.
· The one-fish harvest restriction for grayling in Rogers Lake, which was intended to protect a genetic reserve population, would be lifted based on new information revealing that these fish do not possess the desired unique genetic qualities.
CENTRAL FISHING DISTRICT
· With a new management plan, numerous regulation changes are proposed for the upper Missouri River Reservoir Complex—Canyon Ferry, Hauser, Holter reservoirs, Lake Helena and associated river stretches. Regulation changes affect daily and possession limits for northern pike, brown trout, yellow perch and walleye. Most notable is the proposed walleye-limit reduction on Canyon Ferry Reservoir to 10 daily, only four over 16 inches and one over 28 inches; possession limit would be twice daily limit.
· In the Missouri River above Toston Dam, and in the three forks (Madison, Gallatin and Jefferson), to protect the rainbow and brown trout populations, the limit for northern pike would be changed from the Central District standard limit of 10 daily and in possession to no limit.
· On the Missouri River Holter Dam to Black Eagle Dam, to protect the rainbow and brown trout populations, walleye bag limits would be raised from the Central District standard of five daily and 10 in possession to no limit.
· On the Yellowstone River, from the Yellowstone National Park boundary to the I-90 bridge in Billings, to produce more larger fish, the combined trout limit would be changed to four daily, only three of which may be under 18 inches and one over 26 inches.
Details on the tentative regulations are available for review on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov on the Fishing page.
Comments must be received by Sept. 6 by mail to: Don Skaar, Fish Management Section Supervisor, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59601; or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The FWP Commission will take final action on the fishing regulations on Oct. 7 in Helena.