WY Legislators consider licenses for fishing guides
Credit: Jackson Hole Daily Via Wyoming News Exchange
Author: Mike Koshmrl
Early every summer, Jackson Hole fishing guides trailer their drift boats to the simmered Green and New Fork rivers to cast for trout while the hometown Snake River is still sediment-choked, running high and all but unfishable.
Sublette County Rep. Albert Sommers, whose constituents compete for the same waters, has heard all about the migratory anglers, whose presence is not always welcomed.
"Last year, one day there were 24 or 25 boats at one of the state land access points on the New Fork, and nearly all of them were [county] 22, Idaho, Montana plates — and nearly all of them were guided trips," Sommers said.
Sommers checked in with the Wyoming Office of State Lands of Investments, learning that the agency had issued only six or seven permits authorizing commercial use of the ramps statewide. Everyone else, he figured, was skirting the rules, and the small-staffed state lands office couldn’t keep up with enforcing its regulations.
That experience is part of what motivated the fourth-generation Republican cattle rancher to draft House Bill 276, which would establish a state licensing requirement for fishing guides and outfitters similar to what’s already in place for commercial big game hunters.