FWP surveys: Upper Madison River crowds dropping angler satisfaction

kmudgn

Active Member
#46
I have fished the Madison a few times including last summer with my son. He had never been "out west" to fish and we used a guide for a float trip starting at windy point. The fishing was not great, but good and steady with a number of fish taken off the banks with ants and chubbys. There were not a ton of boats on the river when we went. Most fishermen (myself included) have a limited number of days to fish while on a vacation. I live in NH so a Western trip for me is something "special". So, in order to maximize my fishing opportunities I often use a guide on a float as that is the only way to experience a large section of water in a short period of time. I understand that since "that" film came out there was a large increase in the number of people who think they can fly fish. Restricting the river, like is done with the Big Hole, simply makes it more expensive for out of area fishers to use the resource. I don't know what the solution is (other than single barbless fly, catch & release only).

It has been my experience that if you want to get away from other fishers it can easily be done; maybe not on a float, but if you are willing to walk a little the crowds thin out quickly. For example, last year my son and I also wade fished near 3 dollar bridge. The parking lot was busy and the area in/around the bridge had many fishers. We walked downstream (there is a good path) about 1/3-1/2 mi. and had the river to ourselves. There were fish rising and fortunately, they were dumb.
 
#48
The Big Hole is still a shit show even with the guide restrictions. The guides back there know that more guide restrictions are on the way. Madison and Mo for sure.

Two summers ago my sons and I were heading from the Big Horn to fish the Madison. Between Bozeman and Ennis, we were in a caravan of 9 cars/trucks pulling drift boats. It was comical. And sad.

And you're right, there are places to get away and enjoy decent fishing. It just takes time to find them through trial and error.

I do feel sorry for the folks in Montana that have to deal with all that fishing pressure.
 

Old Man

Just an Old Man
#50
I don't believe that pinched barbs are a requirement here in Montana. I pinch mine because it is easier to get them out of your fingers and hands.. And I have never seen anything that says Fly Fishing only. I fly fish all waters because I can and I like to.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
#51
You can also float the Madison From Ennis to the lake and be alone all day long, you have to get out of the boat to fish but some of the best streamer fishing on he river is down through there.

I sympathize with people not having their fisheries the way they were back in the 70's 80's and 90's.
but well , at Least the Madison still has an extremely healthy population of fish.
 

Swimmy

Riffle > Run > Pool
#53
You can also float the Madison From Ennis to the lake and be alone all day long, you have to get out of the boat to fish but some of the best streamer fishing on he river is down through there.
Seriously? That section also gets hammered. At least down to Valley Garden.

And it is laughable for you to think outfitters will regulate themselves.
 

creekx

spent spinner
#55
"• More than 25 percent of people interviewed had not fished the Madison River more than one year."

That is a lot of first timers! We are well beyond any effect of "the movie" now. Fly fishing used to be something just a fraction of people had a passion for. Now its part of bro culture.
 
#56
I sympathize with people not having their fisheries the way they were back in the 70's 80's and 90's.
but well , at Least the Madison still has an extremely healthy population of fish.
To think crowded rivers are a new thing is not entirely true. How many fished the Henry's Fork in the 1970s? It was a mess when the "new locals" wanted to drive everyone out by passing laws and harassing fisherman. In the 1970s we fished a river in NZ famous for its picket fence. We are creating more people and no new rivers. It's inevitable, pretty soon we'll be leasing beats on the big rivers and fishing will be less mainstream. Sad but true. I've noticed I've already changed to small streams for solitude and occasionally venture to the big rivers to get a view of my backing, but I'm always amazed how many of the fish I catch have deformed jaws.

We just adjust. Rob Allen is right but even when a very small fraction of people will put in the extra effort as the number of people go up that small fraction may be too many for a stream to support.
 

b_illymac

Member Active
#57
My fear when you start regulating how many people can access a public use area be it hunting or fishing or whatever is that the option is then often a lottery type system. More fees attached of course. Then the people go elsewhere because they didn't get drawn and then those areas are looking at a lottery type system. Eventually what are we left with? Private public lands.
 
#59
I go to the Madison most years and as i said before avoiding the crowds is EASY!!!
Step 1. Get out of the boat!!!!!!
Step 2. Fish the early morning caddis hatch
Step 3. Fish the later morning PMD hatch
Step 3. Fo to town for lunch or into the mountains for some other Adventure
Step 4. Fish the evening caddis/ spinner fall.
Don't fish 10-6
This is the approach we always took fishing the Beaverkill (2 hours from NYC for all of you Westerners) and it worked great. We caught some great fish at dusk and usually had the runs to ourselves. Only problem was the restaurants would be closed by the time we got off the river. Minor problem to having a little solitude.
 

Gene S

Active Member
#60
Restricting the river, like is done with the Big Hole, simply makes it more expensive for out of area fishers to use the resource.
Please explain...
The Big Hole has outfitter and non-resident floating restrictions on certain days alternating on different sections of the river that helps provide a more quality experience. Outfitters have access to other sections of the river when restrictions apply.
 

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