Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Apparent Attack on Montana's Stream Access Law

Much to my dismay I opened an article from the guys at Chi Wulff in my RSS reader today to find that someone in the Montana legislature (apparently a guy named Jeff Wellborn from Dillon) is trying to mess with Montana's fantastic stream access law. Chi Wulff has the details from a TU email that went out last night. The worst part is that the vote on this particular bill is Monday. Not much time to contact representatives and let them know we are opposed to this thing.

Essentially, the changes would redefine the water types that fall under the current public easement.* Waterways that have been altered by us humans would be classified as "ditches" and be off limits to fisherman. The waters in close proximity to The Eddy include Poindexter Slough (never fished it but its on my list), the Ruby River below the Ruby irrigation dam, some channels of the Yellowstone near Livingston, and several other waters currently open to fisherman.

*Please note I only read the TU email, not the whole bill, and I am kind of slow as a rule, so I could be wrong.

Speaking as an almost exclusive wading fisherman when it comes to rivers, access is a huge issue and this seems like an attempt at an end run to deny access that Montana anglers have enjoyed for decades. Please check out the Chi Wulff link and let your voice be heard.  


  1. It is unfortunate to hear that such a law is being considered in Montana. If it's passed it'll be a step in the wrong direction and would make it easier to restrict access even further in the future. Wyoming has deterred fly fisherman with its policies concerning water rights. Let's hope Montana doesn't make the mistake of heading down that road as well.

  2. You are right, Montana's current stream law is everything that Wyoming's is not. Utah and Oregon are fighting this battle as well.