Montana Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

Montana Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

Montana, with its diverse angling opportunities, is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. From cold water to warm water, big prairie rivers to high mountain lakes, and fly-fishing to trolling, Montana offers something for every angler. However, to enjoy these opportunities, a valid fishing license is required for all types of fishing on state waters for anyone 12 or older.

Montana Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

Montana Fishing License Basics

Montana offers a diverse range of fishing opportunities, from cold water to warm water, big prairie rivers to high mountain lakes, and fly-fishing to trolling. Whether you’re seeking solitude, fish for the supper table, or the trophy of a lifetime, you can find it here. However, to enjoy these opportunities, a valid fishing license is required for all types of fishing on state waters for anyone 12 or older.

A Montana fishing license allows a person to fish for and possess any fish or aquatic invertebrate authorized by the state’s fishing regulations. It is nontransferable and nonrefundable. To fish in Montana, most anglers need two licenses: a Conservation License and an Angler Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP). The AISPP is required for all individuals who fish in Montana. The 2017 Montana Legislature established this program to aid in funding the fight against aquatic invasive species.

License Fees

The license fees vary based on residency and type. For residents, the cost ranges from $2 for the AISPP to $21 for a full-season fishing license. For non-residents, the cost ranges from $7.50 for the AISPP to $100 for a full-season fishing license.

License Type Resident Cost Nonresident Cost
AISPP $2 $7.50
Full-season fishing $21 $100

How to Buy a Montana Fishing License

Purchasing a Montana fishing license is a straightforward process that can be completed online or in person at local fly shops. This license is your ticket to some of the best fishing experiences in the country, whether you’re a resident or a non-resident angler.

Online Purchase

The most convenient way to purchase a Montana fishing license is through the Online Licenses Service provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. This service allows you to purchase all your Montana hunting and fishing licenses without having to visit an FWP office or license provider location.

To start the process, visit the Online Licenses Service website. You will be prompted to select whether you are a resident or a non-resident of Montana. Follow the instructions provided to complete your purchase. The price of items purchased through this service includes a 2.9% + $.30 per transaction service fee.

Once you complete your purchase, you can print your license immediately. This means you can get your license at any time, from anywhere, as long as you have internet access and a printer.

In-Person Purchase

If you prefer to purchase your license in person, you can do so at local fly shops across Montana. These shops can provide you with your license on the spot, allowing you to start your fishing adventure right away.

Resident and Nonresident Options

Montana offers different license options for residents and non-residents. To qualify as a resident, you must have physically resided in Montana as your primary home for 180 consecutive days and meet other requirements, such as filing your tax returns in Montana and licensing and titling your car in the state. Non-residents are those who do not meet these criteria.

Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, you have the option to purchase a Full Season Fishing License, which enables you to fish from March 1 through the end of February of the following year. The cost of this license varies based on your residency status.

License Type Resident Cost Nonresident Cost
Full-season fishing $21 $100

Purchasing a Montana fishing license is a simple process that can be completed online or in person. Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, a Montana fishing license opens up a world of angling opportunities for you to explore.

Montana Fishing Seasons

Montana, known for its diverse and abundant fish populations, offers a variety of fishing seasons throughout the year. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, understanding the fishing seasons in Montana can help you plan your fishing trips and increase your chances of a successful catch.

General Fishing Seasons

The general fishing seasons in Montana vary depending on the district. In the Western District, the season opens on the third Saturday in May and runs through November 30. The Central and Eastern Districts, on the other hand, are open all year. However, it’s important to note that specific waters may have exceptions to these standard regulations, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific regulations for the water you plan to fish.

Prime Months for Fly Fishing

Fly fishing in Montana is a popular activity, and the prime months for this type of fishing vary depending on the species you’re targeting and the weather conditions. The most consistent and enjoyable weather for fly fishing occurs from June through mid-September. However, April through May also sees warm weather and often results in excellent hatches, making it a good time for fly fishing as well.

Daily and Possession Limits for Different Fish Species

The daily and possession limits for different fish species in Montana vary depending on the species and the district. For instance, in the Central District, the daily and possession limits for brook trout are 20, while for combined trout (which includes brown, rainbow, golden, and grayling), the limits are 5 daily and 10 in possession for lakes and reservoirs. In the Western District, the daily and possession limits for brook trout are also 20, while for combined trout, the limits are 5 daily and in possession, with only 1 over 22 inches daily for lakes and reservoirs. In the Eastern District, the daily and possession limits for brook trout are 10, while for combined trout, the limits are 5 daily and 10 in possession for lakes and reservoirs.

Best Times to Fish for Specific Trout Species

The best times to fish for specific trout species in Montana depend on the species and the time of year. For instance, April and late October are great times for pulling streamers for brown trout. Meanwhile, May, June, July, and September are ideal for sight fishing on huge cruisers.

In conclusion, Montana offers a variety of fishing opportunities throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in fly fishing, targeting specific trout species, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, Montana’s fishing seasons have something to offer every angler. Always remember to check the specific regulations for the water you plan to fish in and respect the daily and possession limits for different fish species.

Montana Fishing Regulations

Understanding and following Montana fishing regulations is essential for preserving the state’s diverse fish populations and ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience for all anglers. Regulations vary depending on the fishing district, the type of fish, and the location, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific rules before heading out on your fishing adventure.

Fishing Districts and Standard Regulations

Montana is divided into three fishing districts: Western, Central, and Eastern. Each district has its own set of standard regulations that apply to all waters within the district, including daily and possession limits for different fish species. However, specific waters may have exceptions to these standard regulations, which take precedence over the standard regulations.

Catch and Possession Limits

Catch and possession limits are in place to protect fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing practices. These limits vary depending on the fish species and the fishing district. For example, in the Central District, the daily and possession limits for brook trout are 20, while for combined trout (including brown, rainbow, golden, and grayling), the limits are 5 daily and 10 in possession for lakes and reservoirs. It’s essential to check the specific limits for the fish species and the district you plan to fish in.

Special Regulations and Closures

In some cases, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks may implement special regulations or closures to protect fish populations or respond to environmental conditions. These may include catch-and-release requirements, restrictions on fishing methods, or temporary closures of specific waters. It’s important to stay informed about any special regulations or closures that may affect your fishing plans.

Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention

Montana has implemented an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP) to help fund the fight against aquatic invasive species. All individuals who fish in Montana are required to purchase an AISPP, which is included in the cost of a fishing license.

Fishing License Requirements

A valid fishing license is required for all types of fishing on state waters for anyone 12 or older. Licenses can be purchased online through the Online Licenses Service or in person at local fly shops. License fees vary based on residency status and the type of license.

Adhering to Montana fishing regulations is crucial for preserving the state’s fish populations and ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience for all anglers. Familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations for the fishing district, location, and fish species you plan to target, and always respect catch and possession limits. By doing so, you’ll contribute to the conservation of Montana’s valuable fishery resources and help maintain the state’s reputation as a premier fishing destination.

In conclusion, Montana offers a wide range of fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages and skill levels. However, to enjoy these opportunities, it’s important to understand the basics of Montana fishing licenses, including the fees, how to buy a license, the fishing seasons, regulations, and the different types of licenses available.

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