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A Call To Action For Those Who Fish the Madison River

Monday, October 05, 2020

A Call to action for everyone who fishes the Madison River or ever wanted to fish the Madison River. Public comment is open until October 30th, and your comments are very valuable. There are different proposals out there on how to manage the river and we need your comments to not allow rest and rotation.

We (the commercial outfitters), have proposed many regulations on ourselves to help reduce crowding on the river. Although we, are only 12% of the problem we are willing to bend, but not break. We have capped our capacity, we have accepted a tax on using the river and we have tried to be proactive with the increased usage on the river. What we don’t want, is preventing non residents the ability to go fishing or the ability for us to take them fishing. This freedom is definitely in danger right now. We need every comment we can get right now. Whether you fished the Madison 20 years ago or planning a trip for next year, your comments are important. Say No “to rest and rotation”. Do not limit where you can fish next year. Rest and Rotation will only concentrate more angling pressure where the you and other non residents can fish.

FOAM's Madison River Details on Proposals

Don’t let proposed rules on the Madison take away your ability to access the Madison River, make your voice heard by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission before public comment ends on October 30!

A petition filed by the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GGTU), would prohibit the public’s ability to use a boat for fishing access on two stretches of the Madison River from June 15th through September 30th. They are also prohibiting, in the form of “Rest and Rotation”, anglers who choose to use a guide or outfitter from fishing on two additional stretches of the Madison River during this time period. This will eliminate the ability to access 23% of the Madison River, which will only further condense use and increase angler conflicts on the Madison.

Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by October 30th. Oppose Rest and Rotation and any limitation on boats for access to the Madison River.

The Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM), also filed a petition that would cap commercial use at the individual outfitters option of 2019 or 2020 recorded use levels and uses several management tools that will provide long-term sustainability for both the outfitting industry as well as for the communities that have come to depend on the economic impact that the outfitting industry provides.

FOAM and GGTU both agree that a no-cost, no-limit user stamp should be implemented for all non-commercial users on the Madison River. Commercial users have been using and would continue to use their Madison River Special Recreation Permit, which was implemented in 2007, as their user stamp.

GGTU’s petition proposes:

  • A commercial use cap set at 2019 levels;
  • Rest and Rotation schedule seasonally, June 15 to September 30:
    • Saturday: Varney Bridge Fishing Access Site (FAS), to Ennis FAS: no commercial activity;
    • Sunday: Lyons Bridge FAS to Palisades Day Use Area: no commercial activity;
  • Seasonal walk/wade, June 15 to September 30 (banning current ability to use boats or any watercraft for access Friday to Sunday in Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge and Ennis FAS to Ennis Reservoir on certain days);
    • Monday to Thursday: Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge FAS and Ennis FAS to Ennis Reservoir: no fishing from watercraft or floatation devices; however, watercraft and floatation devices can be used to access fishing;
    • Friday to Sunday: Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge FAS and Ennis FAS to Ennis Reservoir: no watercraft or floatation device can be used to access fishing.

FOAM’s petition proposes:

  • A commercial use cap set at choice of individual outfitter’s 2019 or 2020 recorded use level.
  • NO Rest and Rotation Schedule. Commercial activity accounts for roughly 13,900 guided trips on the upper Madison, with 224,000 non-commercial angling days. Restricting commercial activity to operate on 23% less river during peak season, which accounts for roughly 10% of the total angler days on the Madison River will cause irreparable financial loss to the communities that depend on the dollars generated from commercial activity, while offering no relief from the ever-increasing non-commercial angler days.
  • The removal of the existing walk/wade reach of the Madison River from Raynolds Pass FAS to Lyons Bridge FAS during Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, effectively allowing fishing from a boat or vessel within this reach 4-days per week, for the entire year. This would be also be quantitatively evaluated, specifically looking at the effects of allowing fishing from a boat or vessel for 4-days per week within this reach. If this adopted regulation proves to be effective, it could be permanently adopted or altered to include additional days.

A link to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, with both petitions:

Please voice your opinion asking Montana’s Fish & Wildlife Commission to not allow the proposed Rest and Rotation and restrictions on boats and other watercraft for angling access proposed in GGTU’s petition to be implemented into a Recreation Plan for the Madison. It unfairly penalizes anglers who chose to use the services of guides and outfitters on the Madison River.

Send your comments to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than October 30, 2020 (include your full name).

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