HELENA — One of the largest crowds of the Legislative session is opposing a bill many say would limit stream access for anglers.
The opponents along with a smaller group of ranchers and property owners in favor of the proposal overflowed out of a hearing room that holds 215 people.
House Bill 309 reopens a 2008 Supreme Court decision saying a slough that runs through the Bitterroot Valley is a public waterway and open to recreational use under the state's steam access law, despite objections of landowners.
Supporters say they just want to ensure that irrigation ditches are not considered streams for purposes of access.
Opponents argue the bill would really close some side channels and streams and would undo the stream access law.