Statewide Fisheries Management Plan Comment Period

Statewide Fisheries Management Plan

Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) recently released for public comment their new draft comprehensive Statewide Fisheries Management Plan.

“The intent of the statewide management plan is to let people know not only what FWP does but also why FWP does it,” said FWP Fisheries Division administrator Eileen Ryce.  “The tremendous fisheries resources of the state do not happen by accident.  This includes working with a long list of private and public partners.”

The plan outlines the six main fisheries programs at FWP, including aquatic habitat; aquatic invasive species and fish health; fish propagation, allocation and distribution; fish management tools and techniques; youth and family fishing; and, species management.

The plan also proposes fisheries management direction for 40 watersheds in Montana.  Each drainage section of the draft plan includes a map, fisheries management information, and special management issues, among other things.  FWP’s fisheries management philosophy is focused on wild fish management, meaning that fisheries are sustained through wild fish reproduction as much as possible. This management philosophy takes a comprehensive approach to fisheries management requiring adequate water quality, complex and connected habitat, protection from pathogens and invasive species, angler management, and stocking of quality and appropriate fish species only where and when necessary.

The first Statewide Fisheries Management Plan was implemented in 2013.  This most recent draft is the third edition of the plan.  The plan will be updated every four years with extensive input from the public.

Public comment on the draft Statewide Fisheries Management Plan and accompanying Environmental Assessment (EA) will be taken until 25 September.  FWP staff are looking for the public to comment on all aspects of the draft management plan.  For the EA, staff are looking for comment specifically on the environmental impacts of adopting the plan.

Public meetings are scheduled around the state as follows:

28 August, 6 p.m., Region 6 Headquarters Office, Glasgow

29 August, 7 p.m., Region 4 Headquarters Office, Great Falls

29 August, 6 p.m., Region 7, Miles City Community College

30 August, 6 p.m., Region 3 Headquarters Office, Bozeman

30 August, 6 p.m., Region 6, Havre, Best Western Great Northern Inn

31 August, 6 p.m., Region 3, Butte Forest Service Office

31 August, 7 p.m., Region 4, Lewistown, Yogo Inn

5 September, 6 p.m., Region 5 Headquarters Office, Billings

5 September, 6:30 p.m., Region 2 Headquarters Office, Missoula

7 September, 6 p.m., Region 1 Headquarters Office, Kalispell

To view and comment on the management plan and EA, go to

2024 Fishing Regulation Proposals

The statewide fisheries management plan will be critical for the comprehensive look at the proposed fishing regulations FWP will undertake in 2024.  However, in the interim, staff are proposing 42 fishing regulation changes for this coming year.

Those changes include:

Changes to increase clarity and compliance, for example simplifying ice shelter language (Proposal 1);

Restrictions for transport and use of live crayfish due to increasing concerns to native populations and risks associated with the transfer of pathogens (Proposals 5 and 3);

More fishing opportunity, such as allowing for northern pike spearing in the Western District (Proposal 4) and year-round fishing on Bootjack Lake (Proposal 9);

Updates to the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers to allow for responsiveness to changing population trends and to study the impacts of different types of angling on trout populations (Proposal 27 and 28);

and, Increased protection for spawning rainbow trout with seasonal closures on Clark Canyon Reservoir (Proposal 29), Red Rock River (Proposal 34) and Ruby River Reservoir (Proposal 35).

FWP will take comment on the fishing regulation proposals through 19 September.  The Fish and Wildlife Commission will make a final decision on the proposed fishing regulations at their 19 October meeting.

For more information and to comment, go to

Previous Post
Straight Lines
Next Post
Silly Sunday Scenery Headhunters Life

Related Posts

No results found.