An angler lands a rainbow trout while fishing on the upper Madison River near Ennis, Montana, in June 2015. Crowding and conflict issues have prompted managers to consider tighter rules along the blue-ribbon fishery.

Tighter Madison rules

Montana wildlife managers are embarking on a planning process to deal with crowding and conflict problems at a blue-ribbon trout fishery: the Madison River.

Comments are being received and a survey is open until Monday. Take the survey at Written comments should be emailed to

The scoping process will lead to a proposed rule that the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to release in February. New regulations for the Madison River will address commercial fishing outfitter management, social conflict management on the upper river, lower river recreational management and angler use management on the upper river.

Aspen regeneration plan

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest is planning a big forest burning and thinning project intended to regenerate Ashton,Idaho-area aspen stands that are aging out and disappearing.

An action that’s now on the table and in the scoping stage calls for logging and thinning approximately 10,000 acres of the Caribou-Targhee in the Ashton and Island Park, Idaho, areas. Another 39,000 or so acres would be subject to prescribed fire, with the goal of eliminating conifers that are outcompeting aspen.

Work could start as early as July 2020 and would kick off on a 20,371-acre area on the west side of the Middle Henry’s Fork watershed.

A goal of the project is to help restore aspen closer to their historic condition. On the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District a century ago there were about 35,000 acres of aspens. By 1991 the acreage was down to 7,615 acres, a 79% decline. Caribou-Targhee foresters have set a measurable monitoring goal of 500 to 1,000 aspen stems per acre that are at least 6 feet tall within five years of treatments.

The Caribou-Targhee is fielding comments on its plans for 30 days from the date of a notice published in the Idaho Falls Post Register.

You can bid on a bison

The Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department is accepting bids on 10 surplus bison from the state herd in Hot Springs State Park.

Written bids will be accepted at the park office in Thermopolis until Jan. 7. Four heifer calves, four bull calves and two yearling bulls are being auctioned. Minimum bids are $1,400 for the calves and $1,800 for the yearlings.

Buyers are responsible for transporting their animals and may pick them up Jan. 10.

Call Jody for information at 307-921-2610.

Grazing permits OK’d

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has released a draft environmental assessment reauthorizing livestock grazing in the Sweetwater, Blucher Creek, East Squaw Creek cattle and horse allotments.

Comments on the plans are being accepted again because of a court settlement, and there will be another opportunity to object when the U.S. Forest Service issues its draft decision.

The allotments are in Sublette and Fremont counties along the southwest edge of the Wind River Range.

The Pinedale Ranger District is proposing to continue to authorize 593 cow/calf pairs on the three allotments. The season of use would generally occur between July 10 and Oct. 1.

The draft environmental assessment is available at

Direct any questions to Dave Booth at 307-367-4326.

Comments are due Jan. 13.

CWD comments due

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is accepting public comments on its revised management plan for chronic wasting disease.

The draft plan includes input from the Game and Fish-appointed CWD Working Group and the public. The plan is available for public review online through Jan. 15.

A meeting in Laramie was recorded and posted online. You can review the plan and submit comments online through the CWD Feedback portal at

The final plan will be released in February and presented to the Game and Fish Commission for review and approval in the spring of 2020.

— Mike Koshmrl

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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