How Much Does A Montana Fishing License Cost?

Montana has everything a freshwater enthusiast could want, from cold to warm waters, crystal-clear mountain lakes, big rivers, and more than 338 fishing sites. It’s the ideal place to spend a day catching trophy trout and honing your fly fishing skills. 

So how much does a Montana fishing license cost? This guide will go over the various types of fishing licenses available in the state and how much they cost. 

Who Needs A Fishing License In Montana?

All types of fishing in Montana state waters require a valid fishing license. Residents and visitors aged 12 and up must purchase a Montana fishing license to legally fish in Montana waters. This permit allows you to catch and keep any fish that Montana’s fishing regulations permit. Please keep in mind that tickets are not transferable or refundable.

Types Of Fishing Licenses In Montana

Different license types are available to residents and non-residents, depending on how long you intend to fish in Montana waters.

Full Season License

The license is valid from March 1 to February 28 of the following year.

Short-Term License

This type of license comes with two options. One is valid for two days, and the other is valid for ten days.

You must have physically resided in Montana as your primary residence for 180 days and meet other requirements to qualify as a resident. 

You can also satisfy the state’s requirement by purchasing a Resident Sportsman and Non-resident Combination license, including a season fishing license.

How Much Does A Montana Fishing License Cost?

Every year, the Montana fishing license fees are subject to change. These can be found on the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website. The costs for 2021 are as follows:

Full-Season Fishing License

  • Resident Cost: $21
  • Non-resident Cost: $86
  • Youth 10-17 Resident Cost: $10.50
  • Senior 62+ Resident Cost: $10.50

2 Consecutive Calendar Days Short-Term License

  • Resident Cost: $5
  • Non-resident Cost: $25
  • Youth 10-17 Resident Cost: $5
  • Senior 62+ Resident Cost: $5

10 Consecutive Calendar Days Short-Term License

  • Non-resident Cost: $56

Where Can I Get A Montana Fishing License?

Seasonal Montana fishing licenses are valid from March 1 to February 28 of the following year. 2-day and 10-day licenses are only valid for two or ten days from purchase. 

When purchasing a Montana fishing license, you have two options. You can get your support online at the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website. You can immediately print your consent after completing your purchase.

You can go to one of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks license providers spread across the state. The department’s website includes a list of these providers and an interactive map.

Fishing Regulations And Information In Montana

When it comes to fishing, the state of Montana has many rules and regulations. You should be aware of several things aside from purchasing a fishing license. When fishing in Montana, you must follow several rules. For example, if you are 12 or older, you must have a fishing license. Other regulations aid in the protection of fish and population control.

Anyone fishing in Montana’s river, stream, pond, lake, or reservoir must have a valid fishing license, conservation license, and AIS prevention pass.

Montana has over 338 fishing access sites spread out across the state. Anglers easily access numerous streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Check out the Montana Wildlife website to see all fishing access points. The fishing season in Montana typically lasts from early March to late November. Although these are prime fishing months, fishing can be done all year.

Montana Game Fish Species

Montana is well known for its fly fishing but has many excellent fishing opportunities. Here is a list of some of Montana’s most popular game fish, so you know what to look for.

Montana’s Most Popular Game Fish:

  • Bull Trout
  • Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout
  • Northern Pikeminnow
  • Mountain Whitefish
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Brook Trout
  • Golden Trout
  • Lake Whitefish
  • Kokanee
  • Burbot
  • Sauger
  • Walleye
  • Paddlefish
  • Yellow Perch
  • Northern Pike
  • Black Bullhead
  • Columbia River Redband Trout

Common Questions About Montana Fishing Licenses

Q: How Much Is The Fine In Montana For Fishing Without A License?

Most fish and game violations in Montana are misdemeanours, punishable by a fine of no more than $1000 and imprisonment for no more than six months.

Q: Is There A Free Fishing Day?

Every year on Father’s Day weekend, under Montana law, any person (resident or non-resident) may fish for any fish within the state without obtaining a fishing license as long as they follow the seasons, restrictions, and bag limits outlined in these Fishing Regulations. Paddlefish and Bull Trout fishing are the only exceptions, and both require purchasing a Conservation and Fishing License. A Paddlefish tag is also required when fishing for Paddlefish. To catch Bull Trout, you must have a catch card.

Q: What Exactly Is An AIS Prevention Pass?

All people who fish in Montana must have an AIS Prevention Pass. This new program, established by the Montana Legislature in 2017 and signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock, assists in fighting against aquatic invasive species in Montana.

Q: How Long Does A Montana Fishing License Last?

The season fishing license lasts from March 1 to the last day of February the following year. Furthermore, if you purchased a 2-day or 10-day fishing license, it is only valid for 2 or 10 consecutive days.

Q: Is It Legal In Montana To Fish At Night?

Unless otherwise specified, fishing is permitted in Montana at all hours during the open fishing season.


This article above answers the question: how much does a Montana fishing license cost? Montana is a great fishing state on my fly fishing and angler bucket list. It boasts some of the best trout fishing in the country, if not the world. To fish in Montana, you must have a fishing license.

The cost will also depend on your age group and the time of year you intend to travel. If you live in Montana or plan to visit, I would strongly advise you to familiarize yourself with the rules, regulations, and licenses that must be obtained before heading out on the water. I hope you have helpful information in this article. It will assist you in getting the necessary licenses for your next Montana fishing trip.

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