The Madison River Now Open Year Round:
Montana FWP has decided to open the Madison River up to year round fishing. The river has been closed from Quake lake to McAtee bridge from March 1st to Memorial weekend for the past 20+ years. This change was highly debated in the fishing community and we will see how this affects the trout in the river.
On one side it will spread out the off season pressure throughout the entire river system. In the past the river was only open for about 16 miles above the town of Ennis. Many years the river freezes over and ice jams occur, leaving even less fishable water. It can be very busy on warmer days in early spring in this stretch. This new rule change will allow many more fishing options and allow anglers to spread out river wide.
One of the most frequent comments I have heard is that the rainbow trout need to be protected during their spawn as they have been for the last 20 plus years. With the new rule changes anglers will have to be more ethical and careful when wading. Fishing over redd’s (spawning beds) is considered bad form. These trout are vary vulnerable and many times beat up and exhausted. Leaving these trout along to do their thing is the right thing to do for these wild trout. Another issue is anglers walking on redd’s. You can kill trout eggs by tromping through these areas. Redd’s are areas where trout have cleaned off pea sized gravel where they will deposit their eggs for future generations.
The Madison will open year round for the next four years and they will re-evaluate the rules in 2019.
Montana Fish and Wildlife reasoning for these new regulations is to simplify the regulations. The Upper Madison river is one of the most regulated rivers in the state. For the entire article check out the link below from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle-Madison River Regulations.
Fishing rivers requires a shared responsibility to support the natural resources. Finding out more regarding the local issues for those streams and rivers you fish is always encouraged.