Too many fishermen spoiling the stream

Montana State Roundup

Published March 1, 2001  | March 2001 issue

Montana's streams are filled with trout—and fishermen, a bone of contention to many sports-minded residents.

The popularity of the state's trout fishing has increased dramatically over the past few years. For example, from 1989 to 1999 the total number of Beaverhead River "angler days," that is the total number of days spent on the river by all anglers, nearly doubled to 34,000.

The Montana Fish and Game Commission has proposed several commercial-free zones on two of the state's busiest rivers to give residents a leg up on accessibility to their favorite fishing spots. In addition, the commission proposed a weekly Citizen's Day during the peak seasons, which would close stretches of rivers to out-of-staters on Saturdays in summer and fall. Fishing outfitters don't dispute the need to limit the number of fishermen, but believe the numbers should be split between residents and nonresidents.

Kathy Cobb