Madison River rules repealed; walk-wade section remains intact

Brett French

Two rules that were set to take effect in 2022 on the Madison River in an attempt to understand and control overcrowding were repealed by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission on Monday.

While rejecting the rules, the commission also specifically reinstated currently existing regulations allowing only walk and wade fishing on the section from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge and from Ennis Bridge to Ennis Lake.

Confusion over whether repeal of the rules would not result in reversion to existing regulations had confounded some anglers, so the commission made it apparent in its motion that regulations would stay the same as in 2021 regarding the walk-wade sections.

The other repealed rule would have established a rest-rotation system for commercial use from Raynolds to Lyons on Saturdays and Sundays from June 15 to Sept. 30.

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The rules were crafted as a compromise between two competing petitions submitted to the previous commission, one from outfitters and guides and the other from a coalition of Butte-area sportsmen’s groups. These were the latest attempts in a long-running debate over the best way to manage the popular waterway.

Representatives of

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