Blog

FOAMLine, Vol. 33, No. 2, May 2024

IN THIS ISSUE:

2024 FOAM Annual Meeting Recap

Guiding for the Future Recap

Guiding for the Future Funding

What are Additional Insureds?

Swan River Rainbow Trout C&R

2025-2026 Fishing Reg Proposals

FOAM Meeting 2024 Recap

The 2024 FOAM Annual Meeting was held on Friday and Saturday, 1 and 2 March, 2024, at the Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula.

 

On Friday, 1 March, FOAM held its monthly Board of Directors meeting, which was attended by a few FOAM members. 

 

The morning session of our meeting consisted of excellent presentations on the State of The Fishery from Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP’s) Chief of Fisheries by Dr. Eileen Ryce; Region 1 Fisheries Manager, Pat Saffel presented on the State of the Fishery around the Missoula Area; Region 1 Fisheries Biologist, Leo Rosenthal presented on the Swan Lake Lake Trout Removal proposal.  We also got a premier on what is new in the state regarding Aquatic Invasive Species from FWP’s AIS Bureau Chief, Tom Woolf.

 

Following a terrific lunch, the afternoon session consisted of a discussion of fisheries policy with Trout Unlimited’s Colin Cooney; FOAM’s Annual Report and business issues were presented by Mike Bias; Russell Parks gave a brief summary of our advanced guide-training course, Guiding for the Future; and, we had a room-wide a discussion of last year’s accidental drowning on the Clark Fork with Mike Hillygus.  These presentations were followed by a lively question-and-answer discussion panel with our own Mike Bias, Dr. Eileen Ryce, and Clayton Elliott. 

 

This year we had a number of vendors that set up their wares and were present throughout the meeting.  Vendors present included:  Trestle, NRS, Cheeky, Simms, Sage, Clacka, DuckWorth, and others.  Thank you, vendors, for an awesome tradeshow-like atmosphere.

 

Following our meeting we held our after-meeting reception with raffles, beer – provided by Lewis and Clark Brewing, and snacks.  Our own Russell Parks won the new 2024 ClackaCraft 16-foot LP Drift with all proceeds going to help FOAM’s Conservation Fund and G4F. 

Guiding for the Future Recap

The 2024 Guiding for the Future (G4F) class graduated 18 students this year.  The G4F course practicum was held from March 5th through the 7th at the Bighorn Angler in Fort Smith, Montana.

The goal of the G4F program is to enhance the stewardship of aquatic ecosystems while increasing knowledge, professionalism, and ethics of fishing guides, outfitters, and members of the fly-fishing industry.  Led by the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM) and guided by a volunteer advisory committee of industry professionals, G4F is a continuing education program for fishing guides and outfitters in the state of Montana and beyond.  G4F is a voluntary course of a 3-month self-directed study, classroom study, fieldwork, and evaluation.  Participating outfitters and guides undergo a curriculum that strengthens competence, increases knowledge and skills, and establishes their commitment to become stewards of the rivers on which their livelihoods depend.  Successful completion of this course provides participating guides, outfitters, and fly shop staff with a set of credentials that distinguish them to outfitters, clients, other river users, and agencies. 

Guiding for the Future (G4F), borne from the challenges of outfitting during the 2016 closure of 183 miles of the Yellowstone River, is a program that provides advanced levels of knowledge and skill development for professional fishing guides and outfitters across Montana.  The program’s goal is to enhance the dedicated stewardship of aquatic ecosystems while increasing knowledge, professionalism, and ethics of fishing guides, outfitters, and the fly-fishing industry. 

The G4F graduating class of 2024 marked four cycles of the program completed, with nearly 80 students now graduates of the program and Guiding for the Future Ambassadors.  The G4F Maine program graduated 12 students in 2023 (see G4F Expansion below).

Some common positive comments of the 2024 G4F program were:

“This course should be required to become a licensed guide”

“Best CPR/FA class ever taken”

“Casting instruction class was very informative”

“I was blown away by the content and can’t wait to bring this knowledge into the next season”

“More time for Entomology!”

2024

  • 18 participants
  • 373 hours logged online

2023

  • 21 Participants completed the online curriculum, attended the required classroom meetings and field practicum, and completed the comprehensive exam
  • 383.5 total hours were logged among the students to successfully complete the online portion of the G4F course, averaging 18.3 hours of online study per student
  • Despite another year of below freezing March temperatures, all participants completed all hands-on field exercises during the three-day field practicum
  • 2023’s G4F practicum was held on the bank of the Bitterroot River near Hamilton, Montana at the Bitterroot River Lodge

2022

  • 15 Participants completed the online curriculum, attended the required Zoom meetings and field practicum, and completed the cumulative exam
  • All participants passed the online curriculum with 82% or higher
  • Participants spent a total of 293 days in the online curriculum, with the average number of days being 19.5 (ranging 9 – 36)
  • Despite a frigid weather window in Craig, MT, participants completed all hands-on water activities during the three-day field practicum
  • Speaking to the effects of Mentoring, at any given point during the field practicum there was over 300 years of guiding and outfitting experience in the room. Of course, some of the instructors were industry professionals and not guides or outfitters

2019

  • During our 2019 pilot year, we graduated 22 outfitters and guides through the G4F program.
  • The original G4F program in 2019 gathered all participants and instructors at the B-Bar Ranch in the upper Yellowstone River watershed for an intensive four-day in-person course practicum.

G4F Expansion

Since its inception, FOAM and supporters of G4F have discussed the opportunities and challenges of bringing the concepts and core principles of the G4F program that could benefit guides and clients beyond the borders of Montana.  Through the efforts of Keep Fish Wet, FOAM, the Maine Association of Charterboat Captains, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources, during May, 2023 the G4F Montana program was adapted for the tidewater guides on the coast of Maine.

The Maine G4F course was focused on striped bass.  Any Maine tidewater guide was eligible to apply and participate regardless of preferred gear type (G4F Maine was not fly fishing only program).  Maine G4F was sponsored by the Maine Department of Marine Resources.  Montana G4F coordinator, Russell Parks; instructor, Michael Bias; and Advisory Committee member, Sean Blaine attended the 2023 G4F Maine program.

To find out more about FOAM’s G4F program visit guidingforthefuture.org.

To contribute directly to FOAM’s G4F program go to donations.guidingforthefuture.org.

Guiding for the Future Funding

At the 2024 FOAM Annual Meeting in Missoula this year, membership voted unanimously to raise membership dues by $10 to help fund our Guiding for the Future (G4F) program.  The $10 fee increase across all FOAM membership categories, Outfitter, Guide, and Business, will provide approximately $10,000 annually for FOAM’s advanced guide-training program. 

In 1999, FOAM, a 501 (c) (6) organization, established the Montana Fishing Outfitters Conservation Fund (a 501(c)(3) organization) to accept charitable donations for conservation and environmental education projects.  The $10 membership dues increase will be transferred directly into FOAM’s Conservation Fund every month.  FOAM member contributions to the Conservation Fund and G4F will be capped at 8% in the future if membership dues are increased. 

Our G4F program is delivered through the Conservation Fund and directed by FOAM’s Board of Directors and a volunteer advisory committee comprised of representatives from the fly-fishing industry, aquatic conservation community, and other professionals.

G4F is a new advanced continuing education program for fishing guides in the state of Montana.  G4F is a voluntary course of study, evaluation, and certification.  Participating outfitters and guides undergo a curriculum that strengthens competence, increases knowledge and skills, and establishes their commitment to help steward the rivers on which their livelihoods depend.  To graduate, participants must complete a rigorous 3-month online curriculum hosted by Montana State University, attend a three-day intensive Field Practicum, and pass a final exam.  Successful completion of this course provides participating guides, outfitters, and fly shops with a set of credentials that distinguish them to outfitters, clients, other river users, and agencies.

To find out more about FOAM’s G4F program visit guidingforthefuture.org.

To contribute directly to FOAM’s G4F program go to donations.guidingforthefuture.org.

What are Additional Insureds

By:  Art Hoffart, Bissell Agency

If you attended the FOAM Annual Meeting in Missoula, Additional Insureds proved to be a very popular topic.  In an insurance policy, an additional insured refers to anyone other than the policyholder who is covered by an insurance policy. Coverage might be limited to a single event or it could last for the policy’s lifetime.

Additional insured endorsements extend coverage from a subcontractor, vendor, or other third party’s insurance policy to another entity, typically the contracting party.  The third party, who is the “named insured” or policyholder, will add other entities like a general contractor or property manager as required by the contract to their policy as “additional insureds.”  The additional insured benefits from coverage and rights under the named insured’s policy in the event of a claim.  The purpose of additional insured endorsements is to keep the burden of risk closest to those parties most likely to create losses, which typically is third parties contracted to perform the work.

What does the above mean in relation to a Fly Shop/Outfitter vs a 1099 guide? 

If you are an outfitter or anyone employing a 1099 individual, I advise that you have the 1099 guide you hired, list you as an “additional insured” or AI on their policy.  What this will do for you is this.  As an example, you set up the trip for the client to go fly fishing. You have one of your contracted 1099 guides take that client out.  If an incident were to happen, with the client getting injured or killed, in all likelihood, there will be some sort of legal action.  Because you set up the trip for the 1099 guide to take out the client, you, the outfitter, will also be named in that legal action.  However, if you are an “Additional Insured” on the 1099 guide’s policy, the guide’s policy limits will protect both him and yourself.  The guide’s policy normally comes into play first as he was the one guiding at the time of the incident.  That basically gives you, the outfitter, $1,000,000 coverage for legal defense and settlement costs before your policy will ever need to come into play.  Do as you wish, but I strongly suggest you do this to give yourself an additional layer of protection.

What does this cost?

In most cases its free. Some carriers may charge a small nominal charge, but for now, mostly it’s no additional cost.

For more information contact Art Hoffart at the Bissell Agency, 406-586-6230 or ahoffart@bissellagency.com

Swan Lake Rainbow Trout C&R

At the April 17th Fish & Wildlife Commission Meeting, the Commission voted unanimously to reinstate the historic catch-and-release regulation for rainbow trout on the Swan River.  On behalf of the board of directors and over 1,000 professionally-licensed guide and outfitter members of the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM), we testified in strong support for the recently proposed Swan River fishing regulation amendment to reinstate the historic catch-and-release regulation for rainbow trout on the Swan River. 

There was growing concern among the guiding and outfitting communities that the continued allowable harvest of rainbow trout on the Swan River is detrimental to the trout fishery of that river.

The current regulation on the Swan River allows for the harvest of five rainbow trout daily and in possession.  This current regulation was first proposed by Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) at the 15 August 2019 Commission meeting for the 2020 Montana Fishing Regulations.  At that meeting, the catch-and-release regulation for rainbow trout was removed and the Western District Standard regulation (5 fish, only 1 over 14″) was adopted for rainbow trout on the Swan River.  Prior to the adoption of the 2019 FWP proposal for the 2020 Fishing Regulations, fishing regulations on the Swan River were catch-and-release for cutthroat trout and rainbow trout since the early 1990s – nearly 30 years.

FOAM’s complete comments can be read here, FOAM Swan River Cmmts.

2025-2026 Proposed Fishing Regulations

On behalf of the board of directors and over 1,000 professionally-licensed guide and outfitter members of the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM), we provided detailed comments on the Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) 2025-2026 Fishing Regulation Proposals. 

FWP recently moved from a four-year fishing regulation cycle to a two-year cycle.  Implementing a two-year cycle is expected to reduce staff time needed for fishing regulation evaluation while providing opportunity for public input.  With this change the fishing regulations booklet will be printed only on odd-numbered years, with any changes made outside the printing cycle updated on the FWP website and through other public outreach and posting. The regulation setting process for the 2025-2026 fishing regulations begins through public input on changes the department is considering as well as providing opportunity for the public to propose regulations for the department to consider.  The department will use this public input to develop a regulations proposal package to present to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in fall 2024. An additional comment period will occur before the final regulations package is presented to the commission; this comment period is expected to occur late August.  FWP is scoping the following 64 proposals with associated information on biological rationale, regulation type and associated reference to the Statewide Fisheries Management Plan.

FWP’s 64 fishing regulation proposals can be found here,  scoping_2025-26-fishing-regs.

FOAM’s detailed comment letter can be found here,  FOAM Comments Fis Reg Proposals 25 26.