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.

My Image
 
My Image
My Image

Boaters, Anglers, Paddlers, and Seaplane Pilots

CLEAN.

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. 

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.

DRY. 

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.

 

If You are Transporting a Watercraft

You Must Stop Watercraft Inspection Stations

It's the Law

My Image

Inspections include an interview, boat inspection, and if needed, decontamination
with pressurized hot water of at least 140° F to remove and kill invasive species.



Spring 2018 Mack Days Anglers

Mack Days Fishing Events will continue to require that anglers have AIS Inspections prior to participating in the event. Proof of inspection will be required when you enter your fish or they will not be counted. Although Montana law does not require inspections for all boaters, we will continue the requirement for consistency and to be sure that Flathead Lake is protected. We are especially concerned about anglers from out of the Flathead Basin. Inspections will be done at Blue Bay beginning March 13th. Please arrange times by calling 406-270-3386. (Anglers can also call Kalispell and Thompson Falls offices of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for boat inspections.) For inspections to go fast and smoothly, be sure your boat is clean, drained, and dry. No mud, dried plants, etc. in live wells, on lines, etc. Thank you for your cooperation.


For Watercraft that Remain in the Flathead Basin

Watercraft that remain in the Flathead Basin will not require an annual inspection before launching the first time each season. This action does not apply to boats that have left the Flathead Basin or are entering the Basin.
 
Even if you have remained in the Basin, you must stop at a check station if you pass one. It is state law that all watercraft must stop at mandatory Watercraft Inspection Stations (if the watercraft passes an Inspection Station after hours of operation, the watercraft must be inspected before launch).    Watercraft can be inspected at the check station in Ravalli and Jesco Boats in Kalispell. A Check Station is also located at the Mt Fish, Wildlife and Parks at Region 1 in Kalispell.   For more information on watercraft inspection requirement changes, hours of operation or locations contact Tom McDonald, Erik Hanson or Germaine White at 675-2700. 


CSKT Rules and Regs

CSKT AIS Boating and Watercraft Regulations Flathead Indian Reservation

  • Before launching the first time in 2017, all boats and watercraft from out of the Flathead Basin 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.

  • Watercraft that remain in the Flathead Basin will not require an annual inspection before launching the first time each season. But even if you have remained in the Basin, you must stop at a check station if you pass one. It is state law that all watercraft must stop at mandatory Watercraft Inspection Stations (if the watercraft passes an Inspection Station after hours of operation, the watercraft must be inspected before launch). Watercraft can be inspected at the check station in Ravalli and Jesco Boats in Kalispell. A Check Station is also located at the Mt Fish, Wildlife and Parks at Region 1 in Kalispell.
     
  • 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.

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

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

  • All boats and watercraft leaving the Flathead River Basin of Montana during the 2018 year and returning to Flathead Reservation must obtain a new boat inspection prior to launching into Reservation waters.

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

  • 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

Summary of Montana AIS Laws

Watercraft Inspections
If you are carrying or towing any watercraft or water-based equipment (non-motorized and motorized), you MUST stop at all watercraft inspection stations you encounter in Montana.

Illegal Transportation and Release
It is illegal:

  • To transport AIS into or within Montana.
  • To transport live fish, even baitfish, into Montana. Leeches may be imported if purchased from an approved dealer and accompanied by a receipt.
  • To move live fish, aquatic plants, or invertebrates from one water body to another without FWP authorization.
  • To release live aquarium or bait fish into Montana waters.

Enforcement
You can be charged with a felony and fined up to $5000 if you knowingly or purposely attempt to introduce AIS into Montana waters.

You can be cited for driving past an inspections station if you are hauling or carrying a watercraft.

Different areas of the state have different fishing regulations, especially the transportation of live fish. Do not assume that regulations you follow in eastern Montana apply to central and western Montana. KNOW THE REGULATIONS before heading out to fish.

Commercial Watercraft Haulers
Commercial boat haulers and those towing oversize boats must contact the Fisheries Office with FWP at (406) 444-2449 prior to entry into Montana.

Download the Montana State Regulations

 

Check Station Locations

The CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation is now staffing a boaters check station in Ravalli. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Statewide Map of Check Stations
(click the map to enlarge)

My Image

Close-up of Reservation-area
(click the map to enlarge)

My Image
 

Report a Suspected Aquatic Invasive Species

Because of malicious ‘bots’, we need to know if you are human. Please answer this question:
What is 80 + 3?

Please verify that you are human by answering the question.
This field must contain Alpha characters
This field must contain an email address
This field must have this format: 123-456-7890
This field must contain Alpha Numeric characters
This field must contain Alpha Numeric characters
This field must contain a zip code

Please tell us, as specifically as possible, the location where you made your observation and a description of what you saw.

Thank you! Your submission was successfully sent :-)×
Opps! Some went wrong... Your submission did not go through :-(×