The Madison River is the most heavily fished river in Montana! Currently, “The Madison River is experiencing unprecedented growth of fishermen and recreation on its historic waters”, according to the Madison River Foundation, MT FWP, and many other organizations. Angler days have doubled in the past 5 years! Angler satisfaction surveys show a steady decline.
A State Rule Making committee, that has been formed to address this concern is fragmented, in conflict, and indecisive. Science supports the need to address the overfishing and stress on the fishery. The river is still recovering from Whirling Disease. Many veteran anglers remember the Madison as a different river a few decades ago.
So far, the only recommendations include;
Maintain separate Walk/Wade and float fishing areas on the upper river
Support Montana’s Stream Access laws
Prohibit commercial use of the river from Grey Cliffs access to the confluence of the Jefferson River. This will protect the primitive and natural experience of the lower river.
Control the growth of Guided and commercial float trips as a first step in controlling angler pressure.
Make intelligent decisions and choices using Science to protect the fishery and ecosystem.
Hopefully, organizations like the Madison River Foundation, will continue as the Stewards of the Madison. Biologists have indicated that the Trout Fishery, in the Madison River, is at a tipping point. Finding a balance between the wants of sportsmen and the needs of the resource is imperative.
Don’t Get MAD, Get Smart!
For more Montana Grant, catch him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.