Floating ideas about public use permits for the Madison River

DUNCAN ADAMS

It seems Average Joes and Josephines should prepare for the day when they will need a special day permit to float the Madison River.

Given angling pressure on the river, with rafts as prolific some days as caddis flies and with trout being hooked and released multiple times, many people believe something has to change.

Add in burgeoning population growth in Bozeman and Gallatin County.

On Wednesday morning, a majority of commissioners for the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission balked at immediately initiating a rule-making process that could eventually require a Madison River float permit for non-commercial anglers.

The commission had before them recommendations from the Madison River Work Group about potential changes to commercial outfitting and guiding and to public use of the Madison River.

Commissioners voted to move forward with a process slated to include analysis of the costs and potential legal snags of the proposed changes, as well as public input.

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The officially sanctioned Madison River Work Group began meeting in September to draft a plan for commercial and public use of one of Montana’s many loved-to-death rivers.

Strong feelings about the Madison River often surface. Thus,

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