The Boulder River (mis)

The Boulder River, which flows from the Beartooth and Absaroka mountains through Sweet Grass County before joining the Yellowstone River, has seen an increase in angling pressure over the years. The rise has prompted a Big Timber fishing outfitter to petition Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to enact regulations on the stream to reduce use.

Gazette Staff

HELENA (AP) – The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has rejected a petition by residents and anglers to restrict commercial floaters on a stretch of the Boulder River near Big Timber.

Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday against the proposal after Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said rainbow and brown trout populations are not being harmed. Chairman Dan Vermillion, a fishing guide, abstained from the vote.

The petitioners say more floaters have been on the river since 2011, even after water levels drop. They say that has led to conflicts between floaters and wade anglers and could endanger the fishery.

FWP fisheries bureau chief Bruce Rich says trout numbers are within the long-term range and their average size is increasing. He says agency officials have been meeting with interested groups to resolve the social conflicts.

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