The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer! My wife is set to return from am month in Antarctica tomorrow afternoon and thus another chapter in the epic tale known as "daddy daycare" is soon to end! I've learned that a 4 year old is a lot of work and I thank God that I don't have to do this all the time! If I had money, I would have a full time live in Swedish nanny and pay her well! I don't think I've ever been so drained in my life, but freedom is fast approaching so I shouldn't complain. It's been good to get the 1-1 time with my son, but I'm good for now.
Onward to things of an angling nature, specifically the status of the Madsion River Rec Planning process. A couple of comments on my part first. I find it ironic that FWP has been able to "find" the personnel and money to put this process into action when all we read about them in the paper is that they are strapped for the revenue required to do their basic responsibilities. Non-resident license sales are the primary source for department funding and that revenue is down. I'm looking forward to paying more for my general fishing license, along with those for my kids and wife.
Anyway, the planning process has been announced and the next step is a series of public "scoping" meetings which are slated for around the region in February. The purpose of these meetings is for the department to get a feel for what the public perception is in regards to their recreational experience on the Madison is generally like. You should go to their website AND learn more about the process, especially if you are a non-resident that spends time on the Madison. According to FWP's data, you are the single largest user group of the Madison River (70% of all users!) and unless you plan on coming to one of these meetings in Feb in Bozeman, Whitehall, Ennis, or West Yellowstone...your opinions will not be heard UNLESS you visit the site and FILL out the public comment form! SO DO THIS as you are the largest user group and there is a BIG risk that you will not be heard!
Just to be clear on that, I am not talking about non-residents on guided trips...I am talking about non-resident anglers fishing on their own. Of course everyone should be represented, but I am most concerned about non-residents not having their opinions heard.
That and the tubers on the lower Madison...I think everyone that spends anytime on the lower in the summer would say that non-angling recreational use of the river and access sites appears to be a significant hindrance to the safety, cleanliness, and overall positive recreational opportunity for other user groups of this stretch of the river. I don't think anyone has any data as to how much non-angling recreational use goes on during this time of year on the LM and it is, in my opinion, one of many "Big Guerrillas" in the room that FWP is going to have to address moving forward.
There is also a call for applications to be appointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee which is largely going to come up with recommendations as to where this plan will ultimately end up. I'm sure there will be a lot of folks submitting applications for this committee (step 2 on the planning process page) and it my sincerest hope that all user groups will be represented fairly. I know there will be plenty of resident anglers, landowners, and commercial users represented but I am worried that the non-resident anglers and non-angling groups will have limited input. Hopefully I am wrong on this.
Anyway, please participate in this process otherwise...who knows where we'll end up.