Fish population monitoring conducted in 2020 found that Canyon Ferry walleye numbers are slightly below goals, and fish size is also below goals. In Hauser, walleye numbers are meeting goals, but fish size is below goals.
In both reservoirs, the department is proposing to reduce the daily bag limit to 10 fish daily, with only one fish over 15 inches. Reducing the limit to 10 fish daily is expected to reduce the rate of harvest and keep the number of walleye within goal ranges. Implementing a length restriction of only one fish over 15 inches is intended to improve fish size by focusing harvest on more abundant, smaller fish.
The department is also considering changes to the walleye bag limit in the Missouri River from Toston to Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Three management alternatives are being considered for this river section and can be found on the FWP website.
Fisheries management in the reservoir system is guided by the 2020 Upper Missouri River Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan. The plan outlines goals, objectives and management strategies for fisheries in Canyon Ferry, Hauser and Holter reservoirs and for river sections from Toston to Canyon Ferry and from Hauser Dam to upper Holter Reservoir.
The department will accept comments to these proposed changes through Monday, March 15. FWP staff will provide the public comment to the Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Commission will consider the proposals during their April 1 meeting.
Comments can be submitted on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov, via email at [email protected], or via mail to FWP Reservoir Plan, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Public comment will also be accepted at the April 1 Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting.
Additional details and rationale for the proposed changes can also be found on the FWP website at https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/fisheries-programs/upper-missouri-management-plan