Montana FWP seeks input on Brown Trout Regulation

tallguy

Active Member
We need more fisherman funded non-profits to buy senior water rights and leave the water in the river... Water shouldn't be for sale, but it is..
 

Mike.Cline

Bozeman, Montana
I think you’ll learn in the coming weeks and months that indeed the MT FWP is taking a proactive approach on the brown trout decline issue. The Region 3 Fisheries Managers and the river biologists are working hard on a plan that will help them evaluate scientifically not only what is driving the declines, but what specific tools (read angling regulations and policies) could be implemented to improve brown trout populations. This is not a simple problem as the watersheds experiencing the declines are not only varied in habitat and flow from source to mouth, those habitats are significantly different from river to river. Identifying a single driver of the decline is just not in the cards.

From what I understand, the plan is to recommend to the MT Fish and Game Commission (the sole decision maker on any regulation or policy change) a series of regulation changes on the affected waters that would allow the biologists to actually test the efficacy of any regulation change. Based on the lifecycle of the brown trout, this has to be a 3-5 year effort. In other words, if you implement a regulation on a specific reach of a river, does that regulation actually help improve the population or not. Using control reaches on the same river (no new regulation), this process helps validate the efficacy of the imposed regulation. These test regulations (or not) have to be conducted on reaches where there is established sampling.

One of the positives that is coming out of this issue is the MT Fish and Game Commission’s mandate to involve concerned citizenry in this process. The FWP Fisheries managers and biologists can’t just impose regulation change recommendations. They must seek citizenry inputs and use those inputs to help formulate their recommendations to the commission.

A recent focus group I attended with Region 3 Fisheries managers and biologists had representation from landowners, conservation groups, outfitters and ordinary citizens representing the affected watersheds. It was rewarding to see the consensus developing over key aspects of the MT FWP plan moving forward. At this point it is unknown what specific recommendations will be made going forward but there are four specific sets of tools the FWP is planning to consider. 1) The greatest consensus was around Fall closing of critical stream sections into springtime to protect spawning grounds. 2) Mandatory C&R on selected sections (although there’s legitimate debate around C&R mortality rates) and whether or not harvest rates are impacting the populations. 3) Regulatory “Hoot Owls” in the late summer on selected streams (versus policy “Hoot Owls” based on transitory temperature situations. ) 4) Gear regulations, particularly the use of barbless hooks (again, the scientific evidence on the efficacy of barbless over barbed on mortality is mixed).

So what I think you will see is some straw man set of recommendations being presented to the Commission next month that will open up more public debate on this issue. At that point the commission will gather public input and lay out the path ahead.
 
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bakerite

Active Member
One of the positives that is coming out of this issue is the MT Fish and Game Commission’s mandate to involve concerned citizenry in this process. The FWP Fisheries managers and biologists can’t just impose regulation change recommendations. They must seek citizenry inputs and use those inputs to help formulate their recommendations to the commission.
I hope the biologists still have the final say. Here in Oregon, I was interested in seeing if some regulations could be changed to protect wild trout in some Snake river tributaries. Current regulations are a five fish limit with bait allowed. I was told that any change would have to be backed by most of the local anglers. I other words keep the status quo.
 

Fast Action Freddie

Having a drink in The Buff
  • Implement streamer and sub-surface fly restrictions on some or all of the following rivers or sections of rivers and/or tributaries: Big Hole River, Ruby River, Boulder River (tributary to the Jefferson), Beaverhead River, upper Yellowstone River, Madison River, Shields River, and upper Stillwater River (tributary to the Yellowstone), or any other river fished by Swimmy. This regulation would limit fishing to the use of dry flies only, no longer than 3/16th of an inch, hook size no larger than 22. Mouse patterns and imitations of other terrestrial prey also prohibited, whether they meet the size restrictions or not.
Problem solved.
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
  • Implement streamer and sub-surface fly restrictions on some or all of the following rivers or sections of rivers and/or tributaries: Big Hole River, Ruby River, Boulder River (tributary to the Jefferson), Beaverhead River, upper Yellowstone River, Madison River, Shields River, and upper Stillwater River (tributary to the Yellowstone), or any other river fished by Swimmy. This regulation would limit fishing to the use of dry flies only, no longer than 3/16th of an inch, hook size no larger than 22. Mouse patterns and imitations of other terrestrial prey also prohibited, whether they meet the size restrictions or not.
Problem solved.
Bass fishing in Montana is about to blow up when all these people need to figure out what to do with the 19 boxes of 7" trout flies they have.
 

Shack

Active Member
Damn, what a mess we’ve made. I was/am saddened to be living through the decline of salmon and steelhead. The decline of trout wasn’t even in my wheelhouse.
Wait til you learn about what invasive species like brown trout did to the native fish
 

Shack

Active Member
Those fucking oppressive colonizing brown trout! Indigenous fishes deserve reparations!
It’s not the brown trout’s fault that 1800s white guys were idiots lol. I would never blame the fish themselves. But maybe if the river/tribs had good passage and were made up of fish that could tolerate and migrate into high gradient oxygenated streams during drought conditions like the native cutthroat then there would be better survival
 

Jim Travers

Active Member
The idea here is to satisfy. See, what you have to understand here is that once my main amendment goes thru, they're gonna be needin to set the laws to what people agree with cause otherwise the regs would be WAIVED under my main amendment!!! Based on people disagreein' with them!!!
 

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