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Madison River public hearing for rule proposal August 2

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will hold a public hearing via telephone to collect comment on an administrative rule change that was proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its June meeting.

The public hearing will be Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. and will be on a rule proposal to postpone the implementation of a commercial use cap on the Madison River. The public comment hearing will be held via phone.

A previous announcement of this hearing, mistakenly referred to it as a Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.

In 2020, the Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted rules regarding recreational use of the Madison River. These rules included a commercial use cap that would limit fishing outfitting and guiding for each outfitter and guide to the number of trips they reported in 2019 or 2020, whichever is higher.

The commercial use cap is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2023. However, the commission has proposed moving that implementation date until after the commission adopts a method for allocating commercial-use trips to outfitters or a comprehensive river plan and rule package. This will be accomplished via future rule-making efforts and commission action, all of which will involve ample public comment.

A commission-appointed work group developed recommendations for allocating commercial use trips and managing non-commercial use on the river. While commissioners did not take any action to implement these recommendations at their June meeting, they did instruct the department to gather public input on the recommendations. This public commenting process will occur later this summer and into the fall. Details will be posted on the FWP website when the public scoping meetings are scheduled and proposals are released for public comment.

Comments on the proposal to delay the implementation of the commercial use cap are due by Aug. 5 and can be submitted online at, by email to [email protected] or presented at the Aug. 2 hearing. They also can be submitted in writing to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attn: Charlie Sperry, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

 To attend the meeting, dial 1-206-337-9723. Participants will be asked for the meeting ID: 813 8036 3244 and the password: 534920.