The Basics

Fishing in Montana

You can fish year-round in Montana, but seasonal regulations do exist, and water conditions will affect your success.

Generally, lakes and larger rivers can be fished all year, while smaller tributaries are closed in the winter and early spring to allow fish to spawn. Ice fishing is popular in the winter. The lakes are usually frozen from December through at least March. During the spring runoff when many freestone rivers are high and muddy, flyfishermen find luck in the smaller streams and spring creeks. The prime fishing season is from late June through October.

A Montana fishing license is required for all anglers 15 years of age and older. You can purchase a license just about anywhere fishing tackle is sold or from any of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks offices. Non-residents can purchase licenses in two-day increments or by the season. There are special requirements for youths under 15, residents 62 years of age or older, and for taking paddlefish. Contact Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for a fishing regulations brochure.

Fishing sites
We have marked over 250 fishing sites on our maps. Each section has a reference chart referring to the numbered sites on the maps. The charts include species available and facilities available. The charts are at the end of each section.

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