Hackles sometimes rise when a fish and wildlife agency contemplates changing guidelines governing public use of a beloved resource like the Madison River — a trout stream renowned for the quality of its fishery and scenery.
Yet many outfitters, fishing guides and every day Montanans who float or wade the river fear it is being loved to death.
Beginning in September 2021, the 12-person Madison River Work Group focused on providing recommendations to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission about managing commercial and non-commercial use of the river.
The Work Group’s recommendations in May included a call for developing a mandatory Madison River Float Permit for recreational floaters as a way to initially gather data about river use and to eventually help manage that use.
For commercial users, the work group recommended capping the number of river trips for an outfitter at the number of trips he or she reported for 2019 or 2020, whichever was higher.
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Information about additional recommendations, and directions related to submitting public comment, can be found online at Madison River Work Group: https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/madison-river-workgroup
A fourth and final public scoping meeting related to the group’s