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Our first e-FOAMLINE!

After some 25 years of printed-and-mailed or printed-and-published-online newsletters, FOAM has moved on to this emailed newsletter.  We've kept the layout simple so you can find the news you want easily, added a a classified ad section by request, and completed the familiar "look and feel" by including contact information for our directors. We hope you find the new delivery system useful.
Vol. 24 #2 June 2015 
  • New e-FOAMLINE
  • Fishing Outfitter Qualifications update
  • Director Reports
  • Warm & Low Water Ethics
FINAL REMINDER: The comment period for the proposed new qualifications for a fishing outfitter endorsement closes on Thursday, July 2 at 5 p.m. FOAM has worked for 18 months setting the requirements of: 3 years and 120 days of on-water experience as a fishing guide, a limit of 50 days experience waiver for any reason(s), and an implementation date of 1/1/2016.

Please support the new qualifications by emailing your comments to before Thursday afternoon, 7/2. The Board of Outfitters will consider all comments, then vote on the qualifications proposal during their September full-board meeting. Your support will help keep our industry vital and our clients safe in all water, weather, and flow conditions. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
Director Reports

Phil Sgamma (Ennis, W. Y'stone): 
Beautiful SW Montana fishing is in prime form as we approach July.  Happy anglers, river enthusiasts, and guides and outfitters are all seamlessly sharing the rivers appropriately; We strive and reach for this every day, and hope that we can achieve!

It's been a great season so far, and I'm happy to be the new FOAM Region 5 representative.  I started on the board last fall and absorbed and learned the issues and concerns of our profession from our Executive Director and fellow board members.  I'm ready for more.

What I'd like is to hear from you, my members in the Ennis, W.Y'stone area.  Your comments and concerns about our profession and industry are important to me.  Let me know what you feel are the issues and how to address them so I can represent you at the FOAM board meetings.  Help me help you and our profession in our region.

One outfitter members I know suggested I get more involved in the Madison River Foundation as a way to represent outfitters in that organization . . . to be the outfitter's voice.  It's a fantastic suggestion, and I'm following up on that.  

Give me more to chew on with the topics you think need addressing and the concerns that face our rivers and profession - and throw in any possible solutions you have.

Gotta go - clients waiting patiently.  Have a great summer season, everyone, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Mark Raisler (Missouri):
Hot and getting hotter. The rivers here are getting warmer with the water temps in the low 60's. The Smith is going to close, we hear, and that will bring additional pressure to our neck of the woods.

PMD's and Caddis and Sally's have brought us happiness. The weather again is the conversation. We have water for the summer at 4100 cfs due to good May precip.

Will it last? Yes. Will we be able to absorb the crossover for m other resources as they may not be in as good a shape as we are? Maybe.

Proper etiquette and fish handling procedures will be what we as guides and outfitters practice and preach. Educating through example will be the key to get us through these difficult summers. 

Be good and do good work, pray for rain, and we can all get along in this wonderful fishing business!

Brant Oswald (Yellowstone):
One piece of local outfitting news from the Yellowstone region is that that I have heard there has been a conflict with a landowner on the main Boulder at one of the traditional accesses. Outfitters and guides who are concerned about floating access on the Boulder can contact me directly, as I will be gathering information on this issue.

The season is shaping up to be a long, dry one for many of us. On the Yellowstone, flows are under 6000 cfs and water temps at Carter’s Bridge were nearing 70 this weekend, and it is still late June. Unless we see a miraculous change in weather, it appears are are headed toward stream closures on many streams. With that probable eventuality in mind, it is a good time to think through our role as outfitters and guides and our perception by the public.

First of all, I hope we will all support whatever fishing restrictions are put in place. Even though you may not agree with the specifics of the closure protocols, the closures are designed to protect our fisheries for the long term, and this provides us with an opportunity to show the public that we respect the resources that we share. In other words, the public’s view of the outfitting business will not be enhanced by outfitters complaining publicly about closures.

Fishing restrictions and closures may also end up forcing some outfitters and guides onto different waters, so crowding (and the potential for breaches of stream etiquette) may be more of an issue this season. Let’s all remember to show one another—and the non-guided public—respect and courtesy. We have the opportunity to train our clients and other anglers on the stream by good example, so don’t waste the chance to show them that we can share the resource without conflicts or rude behavior.

Try to stay cool. Reapply your sunblock at lunch. Keep your clients hydrated. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to fall weather already.
Warm & Low Water Ethics

Recent FWP reports indicate we're in for some low flows and warm water this season.

"In many areas we're seeing stream flows fall below average for this time of year, and some that are the lowest ever recorded," said Stephen Begley, a water conservation specialist for FWP in Helena.

The FWP Commissioners have already discussed their concerns about fisheries health and may resort to "hoot owl" restrictions (fishing available from midnight to 2 p.m.).  Outright closures pending increased flows or more suitable water temperatures are also possible, but are only imposed as a last resort to protect our famous fisheries.  

For years, FOAM, TU, and FWP have promoted "Warm, Low Water Ethics."  Check our drought guidelines for complete info. In the meantime, consider these basic points when fishing in warm or low waters:
  • Be honest with your clients about the very real possibility of drought conditions. If possible, book clients earlier in the season; avoid August and September dates.
  • Use cooler stretches or start earlier to avoid rising water temperatures.
  • Ask clients to limit the number of fish they catch and release. If appropriate, use slightly heavier gear and tackle to land fish quickly. Show clients how to land and release fish quickly.
  • In general, salmonids prefer temperatures in the range of 54° F. to 63° F.
  • Dissolved oxygen can be reduced when water temperatures rise. Depending on water temperatures, ideal dissolved oxygen concentrations for active fish can be around 10 parts per million (ppm) or higher. When levels of dissolved oxygen drop below 6 parts per million, trout become stressed. Feeding, predator avoidance and sustained swimming becomes difficult. Below 4 ppm, trout can die.
  • In general, depending on species, once temperatures rise above the mid–60's F., trout can start feeling the adverse effects of high temperatures. Feeding will be reduced. Sustained swimming becomes more laborious. The ability to compete with other species for common food sources is reduced once temperatures approach the 70's. Higher temperatures can affect equilibrium. Lethal temperatures, depending on species, range from 74° F to 79° F. However, it's possible for trout to survive at these temperatures if they locate cool thermal refuges, or if these high temperatures are moderated by drops in temperature at night.
Finally, take the long view on your fishing with clients: Tomorrow's income is dependent on today's fishery.  We're all in this together - you, your clients, FWP fisheries biologists, and the FWP Commissioners who have to decide when and where to impose restrictions in order to preserve the fish so vital to our industry.  I guess we could say, "Keep a cool head when it heats up."  Thanks for your cooperation and concern.

The Governor's Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee's webpage provides information and links that report conditions and current forecasts at
Classified Ads
Blue Ribbon Shuttle Service (BRS) is a full-service support company that allows you to focus on your clients’ fishing adventure or whatever exciting activity you have planned. BRS can customize its services to fit your needs including providing and setting up essential camping equipment, airport shuttle service, one-way, round trip, and multiple day excursion shuttle needs, and we can tow your boat.

A permanent camp will be set up on private land, just south of Livingston, with access to the Yellowstone River. Full camp packages can include provisions and meal preparation. Wall tents, cots, electricity, and all essential gear provided.

BRS is owned and operated by Jimmy Briggs, resident of Montana since 1993, I am perienced hunter, camper, fisherman and all-around outdoor-activity lover. Call or text me at 406-581-0391 or email
FOAM Directors and Staff
Region 1 (Kooteani, Flathead)
Matt DiPaulo

Region 2 (Bitterroot, Clark Fork)
Russell Parks

Region 3 (Missouri)
Mark Raisler

Region 4 (Big Hole, B'head)
Matt Greemore

Region 5 (Madison)
Phil Sgamma
Region 6 (Gallatin)
Dave McKee

Region 7 (Yellowstone)
Brant Oswald

Region 8 (Bighorn, Ft. Peck)
Matt McMeans

Guide-at-Large Director
Jason Brininstool

FOAM Office
Robin Cunningham
Copyright © 2015 FOAM, All rights reserved.

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