New Madison River Fishing Rules Will Finally Be Repealed | State and regional


The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission is about to repeal two new rules on the headwaters of the Madison River.

BRETT FRENCH, Billings Gazette


A rule changing the way anglers can fish the upper Madison River will go into effect in January despite attempts by a task force to reverse the action.

The newly formed Madison River task force unanimously opposed a review of fishing regulations approved by the previous Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2020.

Out of 300 questionnaires distributed to fishermen using the upper part of Madison, 99% of those surveyed opposed the new rule, Hugh Zackheim told the commission. The main concern was the conflict between waders and boaters.

However, for the measure to be revoked, the rulemaking process must be followed. Meeting those deadlines, set by the Montana secretary of state, means the rule will go into effect before the current commission can overrule the regulations.

For those unfamiliar with the state’s rule-making process, the procedure may seem as clear as the muddy runoff of spring.

Under Montana regulations in 2021, fishing from boats was not permitted on the Madison River between the outlet of Quake Lake below the Lyons Bridge. Under the new rule, fishing from a boat would have been allowed in part of that water – from the Raynolds Pass fishing access site to the Lyon Bridge – on Saturdays and Sundays from June 15 to June 30. September as part of a trial program.

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