There are many types of recreational fishing license options across the United States, yet Montana has slightly different rules. Most states solely require a sport fishing license, commercial fishing license, or a license to fish in saltwater if the state is coastal. Montana requires both a conservation and freshwater fishing license.

The conservation license is necessary for anyone who wishes to hunt or fish in Montana. Once the conservation license is procured, an angler can then purchase a valid fishing license. There is no saltwater fishing permit available in Montana since it is not a coastal state and does not have access to the ocean. Commercial fishing permits are available in Montana but are for business use only or for anglers who wish to sell their catch. To find out more information regarding recreational freshwater fishing license options in Montana, continue reading below.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Montana?

“Do you need a fishing license for freshwater fishing in Montana?” is a common question asked by anglers. In short, the answer is yes. A Montana freshwater fishing license will be necessary for anyone who wishes to cast a line legally. A game fishing license in Montana must be purchased by all residents and non-residents ages 12 and older. A recreational fishing license is not required for anglers who are 11 years of age or younger. A common exemption when it comes to fishing licenses in Montana is when the fishing event qualifies as an educational event or fishing clinic.

Montana Fishing License Requirements

In order to purchase a freshwater fishing license in Montana, there are a few requirements that must be met. As stated above, a conservation fishing license must be purchased prior to purchasing a game fishing license. Applicants for the conservation license will be required to provide their Social Security Number along with the application information. A valid photo ID or driver’s license will also be required. In addition to the recreational fishing license and conservation license, an AIS Prevention Pass will also need to be purchased. AIS stands for Aquatic Invasive Species, and this pass will become mandatory for Montana anglers in order to protect Montana’s waterways.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Montana

While there are generally a varied mix of recreational saltwater licenses and recreational freshwater fishing license options for many states, Montana has very minimal license options for fishing. The types of sport fishing licenses in Montana vary depending on the type of game an angler wishes to catch. The different recreational fishing permits include:

  • Resident Sportsman License (seasonal)
  • Resident Sportsman license (2-Day)
  • Non-Resident Sportsman License (seasonal)
  • Non-Resident Sportsman License (2-Day)
  • Non-Resident Sportsman License (10-Day)
  • Paddlefish Tag (resident & non-resident)
  • Montana Resident w/ Disability License
  • Lifetime Fishing for the Blind (resident only)

What types of fish can I catch with a fishing license in Montana?

Once an angler purchases a recreational freshwater fishing license in Montana, there will be a wide variety of fish available. Montana has 85 species of fish and nearly everyone can be caught by anglers. Common types of fish which can be caught in Montana include:

  • Sturgeon
  • Paddlefish
  • Crappie
  • Burbot
  • Suckers
  • Yellow perch
  • Bluegill

 

What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in Montana?

The most common type of special sport fishing license needed in Montana is needed to legally fish for paddlefish. Both a resident freshwater fishing license option and non-resident freshwater fishing license option are available for paddlefish fishing. In addition, a Bull Trout permit is also mandatory for anglers who wish to fish for bull trout in the state.

How long is a fishing license valid in Montana?

A valid Montana recreational fishing license will allow anglers to fish from March 1 through the end of February the following year.

How much does a Montana fishing license cost?

The freshwater fishing license cost in Montana varies, depending on the length of time in which the fishing license will be needed. All of these passes outlined below will include both the conservation license fee as well as the AIS Prevention Pass. The fishing license costs include:

  • Resident Sportsman License (seasonal ages 12-17, 62+, or disabled) – $20.50
  • Resident Sportsman license (2-Day ages 12-17, 62+, or disabled) – $15
  • Resident Sportsman License (seasonal ages 18-61) – $31.00
  • Resident Sportsman license (2-Day ages 18-61) – $15
  • Non-Resident Sportsman License (seasonal) – $111
  • Non-Resident Sportsman License (2-Day) – $50
  • Non-Resident Sportsman License (10-Day) – $81
  • Paddlefish Tag (resident) – $6.50
  • Paddlefish Tag (non-resident) – $15
  • Montana Resident w/ Disability License – $20.50
  • Lifetime Fishing for the Blind (resident only) – $12

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Are fishing license discounts available in Montana?

“How much is a freshwater fishing license in Montana if I meet the disability requirements?” While there are very few discounts for recreational fishing licenses in Montana, a few do apply. The most common type of discount for a fishing license is the resident freshwater fishing license. Residents will receive a discount on fees in comparison to non-residents. Residents with a legal disability will receive a discounted pass as well, including those who are deemed legally blind.

Where can I get a fishing license in Montana?

In order to purchase a game fishing license in Montana, anglers can either purchase the license online or visit a local retailer in person. To purchase a freshwater fishing permit online, anglers will need to visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website and provide all the necessary information. Visiting a retailer in person is also an option, as there are many authorized recreational fishing license retailers throughout the state.

How can I replace my Montana fishing license?

If a Montana freshwater fishing license has been lost or damaged, an angler does have the option to order a replacement. For anglers who originally purchased the fishing license online, he or she should have access to reprint the license when necessary. Anglers who will need to purchase a duplicate hard copy will need to contact the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department. Fees may apply.