An Ounce of Prevention

Can Keep Flathead Lake Free of Invasive Mussels

Protect the lake by following these simple Do-It-Yourself rules and guidelines:

If you are hauling a watercraft of any kind, motorized or nonmotorized you must stop. Here are the details:

If you suspect an infestation orsee a boat or trailer with mussels attached, this is what to do:

Zebra and Quagga Mussels Can Use Your Boat to Invade Additional Waters

Once a boat has been in infested waters, it could carry invasive mussels. These mussels can spread to new habitats on boats trailered by commercial haulers or the public. Zebra and quagga mussels attach to boats and aquatic plants carried by boats. These mussels also commonly attach to bait buckets and other aquatic recreational equipment. An adult female zebra mussel can release up to a million eggs in a year. Please take precautions outlined on this website to help reduce the chance that zebra or quagga mussels will spread from your boat or equipment to uninfested areas.

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Boaters, Anglers, Paddlers, and Seaplane Pilots


Completely remove all mud, water, and vegetation before leaving the access area.

Inspect your boat, trailer, and all gear. Pay attention to crevices and hidden areas.

Remove all vegetation (by hand or sprayer).

Remove all mud (use a pressurized power sprayer, found at most do-it-yourself car washes).  The hot water kills organisms and the pressure removes mud and vegetation. No need to use chemicals or soap.

Dispose of debris in trash or on dry land away from water or ramp.


Drain all water from watercraft and equipment.

Drain or remove water from boat, bilge, live well, engine, internal compartments, and bait buckets by removing drain plugs before leaving the access area.


Aquatic invaders can survive only in water and wet areas.

Dry your watercraft and fishing equipment thoroughly; this will kill most invasive species.  The longer you keep your watercraft, trailer, waders, and other equipment outside in the hot sun between fishing trips, the better.


Check Stations Closed for the Season
Check Back Next Spring for Times and Locations

If you are from this area and do not have an inspection, you can have your boat inspected at Blue Bay if needed. Telephone 406-270-3386 to set up a time.

For boats physically limited to use on Flathead Lake you can obtain a Flathead Reservation Watercraft Inspection Certificate by clicking on one of the links below:

CSKT Rules and Regs

2017 CSKT Emergency AIS Boating and Watercraft Regulations Flathead Indian Reservation

  1. Before launching the first time in 2017, all boats and watercraft must be inspected for aquatic invasive species (AIS) and certified clean of any AIS by a Tribal, State or other authorized agency AIS inspector. Operators of the boats or watercraft must possess proof (certificate, decal or receipt) of an inspection at all times and show it upon request from any law enforcement personnel of any competent jurisdiction.

  2. Gasoline-powered boat motors are prohibited on all watercraft on all water bodies of the Flathead Reservation, with the exception of Flathead Lake and the Flathead River. Watercraft with electric trolling motors are allowed on Flathead Reservation water bodies along with hand propelled, non-trailered watercraft including; kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards.

  3. Boat trailers are not permitted to enter Flathead Reservation water bodies with the exception of Flathead Lake and Flathead River.

  4. All persons hauling or trailering boats and watercraft must stop at any open boat AIS check station along their route of travel.

  5. All boats and watercraft leaving the Flathead River Basin of Montana during the 2017 year and returning to Flathead Reservation must obtain a new boat inspection prior to launching into Reservation waters.

  6. The use of felt soled waders in any waters of the Flathead Reservation is not permitted.

  7. All water use gear and equipment must be clean and dry before use on any water body of the Flathead Reservation.
For more information on regulations for watercraft or to schedule watercraft inspection contact Tom McDonald or Germaine White, Natural Resources Department, at 675-2700.

State of Montana Rules and Regs

New AIS administrative rules in effect April 15

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Regulations aimed helping the fight against aquatic invasive species in Montana go into effect April 15.

These new regulations require that all watercraft coming into Montana be inspected prior to launching on any Montana waterbody, mandatory inspections of watercraft traveling across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin within Montana, and a prohibition of transporting surface water – lake, pond and river water – in Montana.

The regulations take the form of administrative rules and were presented for public comment in February and March. These rules amended existing regulations and were necessary in developing a response to the discovery of invasive mussel larvae in Montana last fall.

Invasive mussel larvae were detected for the first time in Montana in October 2016 in Tiber Reservoir – and a suspect detection turned up in Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

The discovery triggered a natural resource emergency in Montana and led to several recommended strategies to manage the threat of invasive mussels spreading to other areas.

For more information on Montana’s mussel response, please look online at


Check Stations Closed for the Season
Check Back Next Spring for Times and Locations


Report a Suspected Aquatic Invasive Species

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