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  • Friday, July 14, 2006

    IS IT A DITCH OR . . . . . . .

    $$$$$$ talks
    5 years of "ownership"
    70 Years Of Tradition
    20 YEARS OF VERBIAGE
    LEGAL DEFINITION OF SLOUGH




    <-Mitchell Slough?
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    <- Mitchell Ditch?

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    . The conversation, discussion, argument, has been going on for 20 years. The court case has a history nearly as long. Now it's going to the Montana Supreme Court, (and maybe more.)
    .. This situation stems from a 1979 consolidation of some land in the Bitterroot Valley and the resultant 'inholding' of a little stretch of water. The case is complex and involves everything that the Hollywood tabloids would love: Rock & Roll, Money, Traditional Values, Money, Fly Fishing, Money, The Environment, Money, Property Rights, Money, Public Access, Money, History, Money, Big Business, Money, and The American Way Of Life - Money.
    .. The outcome of the case will ultimately affect every fisherman in the United States. It will also affect every landowner in the United states. The legal question is simple: "At what point can a stream be converted into a private ditch?" The ramifications will impact Montana's cherished public access tradition & the status of public access across the nation.
    .. The best synopsis of the case was compiled in 2004 by The Hunting & Fishing Journal. Since then there have been a large series of sources that detail the court battle as it has wound it's way through the Montana court system. Just type Mitchell Slough into GOOGLE for a sampling. Some of the best resources include: Missoulian.com, TheWesterner I, The Westerner II, The Westerner III, NewWest I, NewWest II, Flyfishmagazine.
    .. THE MITCHELL SLOUGH is in good shape now but just beginning to get warm. Fat Brookies are taking size 12 Royal Humpy's in the main channel, and at the second cross fence. From the headgate to Victor Crossing Brown Trout are taking size 14 - 18 drys, and gobs of nightcrawlers near dusk. In the Siebel stretch a good pod of Rainbows is working on Wooly Buggers and streamers - this is the same stretch that produced the 7-pound fish earlier in the spring. If you still have the old "Sooper-Dooper" that grandpa gave you, it will take some nice fish right around the beg bend at Bell Crossing. If you fish in the next week say hi to Huey Lewis for us.