Montana Fishing Licenses
Before venturing on a fishing trip in Montana, anglers are required to obtain a fishing license from the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWPD). However, interested applicants who are getting a MT fishing permit are encouraged to procure a conservation license, which grants the privilege to buy a fishing license. Both regular sport fishing licenses and commercial fishing licenses are available for purchase through the state department. Furthermore, the FWPD offers numerous fishing education opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Montana fishermen and women can also join a fishing club or organization for a more complete fishing experience. Read below to learn more about how to get a fishing license in Montana:
- Types of fishing licenses in Montana
- Fishing education in Montana
- Fishing organizations in Montana
Types of Montana Fishing Licenses
Both residents and nonresidents must get a conservation license as well as a fishing license before conducting any type of fishing in state waters. Before planning your fishing trip review the state fishing rules and regulations, then obtain the appropriate fishing license for your purposes:
- Regular Fishing Licenses
- Commercial Fishing Licenses
Regular Fishing Licenses in Montana
A valid fishing license is required to engage in sport fishing in Montana The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks offers permits to fish to both residents and state visitors. Depending on several factors, you will need to acquire one of several types of recreational licenses to fish:
- Resident sportsman license:
- 12 to 17 years of age
- 18 to 61 years of age
- 62 years of age or older
- Disabled individuals
- Nonresident combination (fishing and hunting):
- Two-day – 12 to 17 years of age, 18 to 61 years of age, 62 years of age or older
- 10-day – 12 to 17 years of age, 18 to 61 years of age, 62 years of age or older
- Season-long – 12 to 17 years of age, 18 to 61 years of age, 62 years of age or older
- Paddlefish tag – resident and nonresident
- Lifetime fishing for the blind – resident only
There are a variety of purchasing options available to anglers wondering where to buy a Montana fishing license:
- Buy it in person from the FWP office or from authorized license providers.
- Buy it online via the MT FWP licensing system by providing your:
- Personal information.
- Driver's license number.
- Fishing license choice.
- Contact details.
- Credit card number.
Commercial Fishing Licenses in Montana
Anglers are required to buy a commercial fishing license from the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks prior to engaging in commercial fishing activities. In addition to the commercial fishing license, fishing businesses are also required to obtain a Fish Health Certificate on an annual basis and report their business transactions to the department. There are a number of commercial fishing license options available in the state:
- Commercial fishing ponds license
- Commercial bait seining license
- Commercial whitefish license
To get a commercial fishing license in Montana, interested applicants must submit the appropriate commercial fishing license application by mail.
Montana Fishing Education
Montana anglers interested in furthering their craft can participate in the FDP department's diverse educational programs. After obtaining your fishing permit, take full-advantage of one or more of the following state-sponsored fishing education programs:
- Hooked On Fishing
- Tackler Loaner Program
The Adopt-A-Fish program offers MT students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience with fish and their habitats. Cooperating with schools, state biologists share their work with students by providing the location of radio-monitored fish. Thus, classrooms can adopt a specific fish, name it and organize field trips to observe their fish in its natural habitat.
Based on the national Hooked On Fishing – Not On Drugs program, hundreds of classrooms across the state expose MT kids to the joys and experiences of fishing with a variety of initiatives:
- Education about fish and their habitats
- Hands-on fishing workshops
- Fishing training for teachers
- FWP staff assistance
The Tackler Loaner Program is maintained by the state department, which regularly lends fishing gear to local anglers.
Note: Lures and live bait are not provided.
Montana Fishing Organizations
Montana anglers have many reasons for joining fishing organizations, from improving their fishing skills to fishing in group tournaments to endorsing the conservation efforts of the state's waters. Promoting all of these activities and more, the
- Montana Wildlife Federation
- Montana Bass Federation
- Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot
Montana Wildlife Federation
One of the oldest conservation organizations, the MWF was founded by individuals striving to preserve Montana's natural riches. As a strong advocate of the conservation cause, the federation has achieved numerous victories including the best stream access law in the country and protection for the state's public waters and lands. The following are some of the activities of the MWF:
- Publishing a newsletter with upcoming events
- Organizing volunteering activities
- Granting scholarships to students in the field of wildlife conservation
Montana Bass Federation
As part of the national Bass Federation, the Montana branch follows the same core principles of promoting sport fishing among youth while also conserving the state's fisheries. Some of the federation's activities include organizing:
- Fishing tournaments.
- Conservation awareness activities.
- Youth programs in state schools.
Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot
A nonprofit organization, Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot is located near the Bitterroot river. The FFB is open to avid anglers who want to share experiences and fly-fish in a group. Some of its activities include:
- Organizing monthly meetings.
- Hosting weekly fly-tying workshops.
- Sponsoring fly-fishing outings.