State seeks public comment on fisheries plans

By Beacon Staff

Anglers are encouraged to comment early on a list of issues that could result in changes to the 2008-2011 fishing regulations.

The early-stage comments will help Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks provide tentative regulations for the FWP Commission to consider in September and finally adopt in October.

Some general statewide issues anglers can consider include:
· requiring unattended fishing devices–like setlines and fish traps–to have owner identification attached.
· eliminating the requirement to leave a one-inch square patch of skin on fillets of all fish except trout and salmon.
· reducing the daily mountain whitefish limit, which is currently 100 per day.
· managing baitfish use to prevent the introduction of disease and invasive species.

For Region 1 of northwest Montana:

· anglers are concerned overharvest is reducing fishing quality for rainbow trout in Frank Lake and the Kootenai River, cutthroat trout in Rogers Lake, lake trout in Tally Lake and spawning bass regionwide.
· There are concerns over the impacts of lake trout and northern pike on native fish in Flathead Lake and River.
· Anglers would like to see larger kokanee in Lake Koocanusa and are concerned about overharvest of larger kokanee in Bitterroot Lake .

Additional issues listed by FWP region, and opportunities to comment, are available online at fwp.mt.gov. A brochure that outlines Montana’s fishing regulation issues is available online at http://fwphlnweb001/default.html, at all FWP offices and many license providers, or by calling 406-444-2449.

Submit comments by June 1 by e-mail to: fwpfsh@mt.gov or mail to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

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