Montana fisheries officials are set to embark on developing a statewide fisheries management plan that will seek to establish goals and direction for fish management, habitat protection and improvement, fishing access and angling opportunities for the next five to 10 years.
A statewide plan is essentially a “road map” for managing all of the state’s fisheries, said Bruce Rich, fisheries bureau chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Helena.
“The plan won’t be a substitute for regulation setting, but instead will provide management direction and guidance to decision makers and the public in particular river drainages,” Rich said. “It will also allow for flexibility and discretion where necessary.”
A draft plan will be presented to the FWP Commission at the end of August and a final plan, based on public comment and an environmental analysis, is planned for release by year’s end.
“Public participation is critical to the success of the plan,” Rich said. “FWP’s goal is to develop a plan with the public that will help to resolve some of the questions about suitable species for a particular drainage, desired fishing opportunities, habitat improvement priorities, and placement and development of fishing access sites.”
FWP will schedule a series of public meetings in September to solicit comments on a draft plan. Updates on the planning process are available on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Statewide Fish Plan.” For more information call FWP at (406) 444-2449.