What section of the Big Hole are you on? This is a river with a good bit of public access and though justifiably famous and a beautiful valley, I do not regard it as "Blue Ribbon" water for the most part. Hatches are not great and in decline and the trout size is average. Also much of the river is riffle/run with only occasional distinct character. I actually am fine paying a reasonable fee for access to uniquely special and exclusive water like a fecund spring creek on a ranch...not so much for a popular well known river with boat traffic.
As I said, I might pay for access for an evening on the Big Hole, depending on where it is. In this case, I would probably just walk down from the state highway bridge upstream. I've walked within the high water mark for miles on the Big Hole before; a lot farther than this. I could also just get in from the BLM land just across the river. I think if you are going to charge for access across private land to public water in Montana, you need to be in a really hard to reach location.I see this as an opportunity to fish prime water when a fisherman does not want to engage a guide or pay for a float or be content with just fishing the public access areas. It is access to private land to get to a portion of the river than sees very few anglers for 80% of the day.
My concern is fairness to the poor man. Regulation should at least try to help those who lack resources to gain access to them, or at the very least place as few restrictions on the disadvantaged as possible. They have fewer options to begin with.i have long thought that Chevelon Canyon Lake should be a pay to play reservoir to try and limit the fishing pressure of this otherwise excellent fishery... $25/day and another $10/day for camping. An additional $15 for trolling motor boats... [M]ost of the smash-and-grab type fishermen would find that fee schedule just too onerous and leave our monster brown trout factory alone...
if $25/day kept a significant number of the goofy "look at me flopping split-shot nymph rigs from a drift boat," crowd off the water, that'd be just fine.
I was gong to build a Gazebo observation deck overlooking one of the honey holes. Perfect place for dinner. Plus you can see and hear the fish splash and slurp. I'll let you know when I finish it. But I don't know when I can get up there. Got a report from a neighbor today, 30 degrees, river is frozen solid but starting to break up downstream. I'm putting Bobsled runners on my Clackacraft.Think of your friends here on this board. I am an ex-French chef, and will cook and bring wine.