Montana fishing outfitters file suit over proposed

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Outfitter group files suit over managed fishing on Beaverhead, Big Hole rivers

1/18/2002

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - Fishing outfitters filed suit Thursday challenging the state's plan to restrict outfitters and out-of-state anglers on two of the state's most famous fishing rivers.
The lawsuit by the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana asks a state district judge to rule on the validity of the state wildlife agency's management rules for the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers of southwestern Montana.

The regulations, adopted in February, are an effort to address crowding along the two popular trout rivers. The rules reserve certain days, river stretches and access points for use by Montanans, while setting aside times and places for out-of-state anglers or outfitters.

They also continue a 1999 moratorium on new outfitters working the rivers, and limit the number of clients outfitters can serve during peak fishing periods.

The association contends the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks did not follow rule-making requirements and exceeded its authority in adopting the restrictions. The state Environmental Quality Council considered that issue in December and rejected it.
 


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