Brett French reports: Fishing reg changes worry 2 commissioners
By angelamontana

Posted: October 27, 2023

Proposed changes to fishing regulations on southwestern Montana rivers concerned two Fish and Wildlife Commissioners at a recent meeting.

As part of a study of the Jefferson River watershed, and the Madison River, Fish, Wildlife & Parks proposed changing some angling requirements to study fish mortality. For example, getting rid of restrictions on lures on a portion of the Big Hole River has been proposed. Commissioners KC Walsh and Pat Tabor are concerned the changes are being made as the state sees a steep decline in trout numbers in the watershed. Biologist Justin Gude explained the information collected would help FWP’s study of fish mortality, while not significantly increasing mortality. Walsh proposed testing barbless hooks on the lower stretch of the Madison River to look at the effects of hook scarring, which has risen in the river’s trout population. The changes are just some of what’s being proposed for Montana fishing regulations. More details can be found on the FWP website.

To learn more about the mortality study, check out my story at

Written by Brett French | Outdoors Editor for Billings Gazette Communications
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