The use of the Madison River has been a topic of priority for the commissioners at Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks; now a 12-person group is set to come forward with some recommendations at an upcoming meeting.
“There is a lot of public access to get on and float the river, fish, a lot of camping sites,” says Bozeman resident Brad Palm.
For Palm, using the Madison is one of his favorite things, but the crowds along the Madison means he gets out on the water early.
“It’s been busy for a long time, but we came out early today to avoid the floating rush,” says Palm.
A commercial use cap is supposed to go into effect January 2023; however, FWP is seeking public comment to postpone that cap which would limit the number of fishing and guiding for each outfitter.
FWP commissioners will also hear recommendations for use on the Madison on August 4 from the Madison River Work Group.
“The need to manage it properly to ensure that it's used sustainably,” says FWP Region 3 Communication and Education Manager Morgan Jacobsen.
The recommendations are: allocation of commercial use trip to outfitters; a process to permit new outfitters on the Madison River; rule language to address all recreational use on the Madison River, including the walk/wade and rest/rotation sections; consequences of permit violations.
“All of these pieces fit together to manage recreation and commercial use and to sustain the fishery,” says Jacobsen.
Palm understands that there could be changes in the pipeline.
“I know it puts a lot of stress on the river, you know, when there are so many people on it,” says Palm.
FWP says there will not be public comment at the work session on August 4, but there will be public comment later in the fall.