MADISON RIVER RECREATION PLAN
Here is a link to a summary of the proposed plan:
Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has put out a proposed Madison River Recreation Plan with the purpose of limiting commercial use on the river. It is 67 pages long with lots of numbers, data, charts and graphs…but here are some basics:
* Overall use on the Madison River continues to grow due to an increasing general population, (especially the exploding growth in Bozeman, Mt., only fifty short boat trailer miles away), a healthy fishery and a growing interest in fly fishing and river recreation.
* Upper Madison River use has doubled in the last four years from 88,000 to 179,000 angler days per year.
* There were 213 active Special River Permits (green sticker) for outfitters on the Madison in 2017. General outfitter licenses (red sticker) issued for the state total over 30,000 since inception, both active and inactive.
* Outfitter trips on the Madison increased 72% in the last 10 years.
* Since FWP opened the Upper Madison to year-round fishing, springtime outfitter trips increased dramatically.
* Quake Lake outlet to Lyon Br. “walk and wade” outfitter trips have doubled since
* 42% of the property bordering the banks of the Upper Madison is privately owned.
* There is a pervailing negative attitude toward fishing outfitters from Montana residents.
* There has been a hidden, automatic camera located between Lyon Br. and Windy Pt. taking photos of drift boats every three seconds since 2015.
* 60% of boat traffic on Upper Madison is commercial.
* From a 2016 FWP “mail-in” survey, 54% of residents and 30% of non-residents feel the number of float users on the Madison is either
“unacceptable” or “very unacceptable”.
* Trout populations in the Upper Madison are at all time highs.
* Proposed “no commercial use zones” are as follows:
Ennis-Ennis Lake…no Thursday
Outfitters will be allocated limited days of operation in these areas based on historic use.
* A cap (moratorium) will be placed on SRP (commercial outfitter) permits issued for use on the Madison River based on 2016, 2017 use.
* No restrictions on non-commercial users between Lyons and Ennis.
* A ban of all float craft, commercial and non-commercial, is proposed in the two wade-only areas of Quake-Lyon Br. and Ennis Campground to Ennis Lake.
Lots to digest and ponder. Until then, the Soup of the Day is Rocky Mtn. Whitefish Chowder.