Montana fishing licenses are required for anglers interested in participating in the sport via the many state-sanctioned fishing areas. Before attempting to take your first catch, there are some Montana fishing license regulations you should make yourself aware of which are set forth by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (FWP). The type of Montana fishing license you choose will depend on whether you are fishing for sport or for profit. Commercial fishermen, professionals who sell their catch, are subject to more stringent application requirements than are recreational anglers. Additional distinctions between licenses involve your own Montana residency status. Resident fishing licenses come at a reduced fee in comparison with non resident fishing licenses. To establish your residential status with the Montana FWP, you will need to provide proof of residency in the form of a valid Montana driver’s license, a state-issued photo ID or some other form of official correspondence with your Montana address on it. There are a few different methods for buying a fishing license in Montana, including visiting an FWP office, an official license provider or getting a fishing license online through the License Application System that is available on the state agency’s website. Commercial fishing license applications must be submitted in person. For more information on how to get a fishing license in Montana, read the sections below. Getting a fishing license is a process that starts with a choice between the two main types of licenses offered:
- Recreational fishing licenses
- Commercial fishing licenses
New Montana Fishing Licenses
Getting a recreational fishing license in Montana requires the submission of a fishing license application either in person or online through the license application system on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website. Prior to submitting your fishing permit application, gather the necessary fee amount as well as documents proving your residency and identity. Nonresidents of Montana can still apply for a fishing license, though the fee for their license will be a bit higher than it is for Montana residents.
The validity periods of Montana fishing permits vary depending on which license to fish you buy. Montana fishing license options include: two-day fishing licenses, 10-day fishing licenses and seasonal fishing licenses.
In most cases, anglers are required to purchase both a conservation license as well as a fishing license, combining both fees. Resident senior citizens who are 62 years old or older need only purchase the conservation license, as the fishing credential is included.
Additional options include free licenses for Montana residents with permanent disabilities (must still purchase conservation license), as well as reduced-rate licenses for blind Montana residents.
Children ages 14 and younger do not need to buy a fishing license, though Montana resident children between 12 and 14 years old must purchase a conservation license. In this case, the fishing license is included with the conservation license purchase.
Concerning where anglers are allowed to fish, the Montana FWP has set the following seasonal guidelines for state waters: the western district is open every third Saturday of the month while the central district is open for fishing all year round, unless otherwise stated. The eastern district of the state is also open for fishing all year long.
Montana fishing licenses must be carried on your person at all times while fishing in state waters. If you are stopped by authorities and cannot provide sufficient licensure, you may be penalized with fines. So ensure that you are properly licensed before heading out to fish.
Montana Commercial Fishing Licenses
While recreational fishing licenses are required for Montana residents to fish for sport, commercial fishing licenses are required for other anglers who sell their catch to the public for profit. You must apply for an MT commercial fishing permit in order to legally sell your product to the public. There are a few types of commercial fishing licenses available in Montana, depending on the primary type of fishing you will be doing. Options include:
- Fishing ponds: license to sell live fish from a fish pond by the pond’s owner.
- Hook and line whitefish: license to catch whitefish commercially in Montana’s public waters.
- Private fish ponds: license to own and control a private fish pond.
Fees for commercial fishing licenses in Montana vary depending on the license type. Once the commercial fishing license application has been completed, submit it to a local FWP office in person, along with the required fee. Upon approval, you will be issued your Montana fishing permit.