FWP reminds small-stream anglers to be aware of operations

With spring comes fair weather fishing. And while the Western Fishing District must wait for the general fishing season opener on May 18, anglers in Montana’s Central and Eastern districts enjoy year-round access to most rivers and streams.

With spring also comes calving, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks would like to remind anglers on small streams in the Central and Eastern districts to be aware of seasonal livestock operations. Calving on private bottomlands can be sensitive to human disturbance.

“This is a great time of year to get out and fish small streams around the state,” said Greg Lemon, spokesman for FWP. “But a little awareness of your surroundings can go a long way. If cattle are calving in stream bottoms, please be sensitive and don’t disturb them.”

Under the Montana Stream Access Law, the public may use rivers and streams for recreational purposes up to the ordinary high-water marks. Although the law gives recreationists the right to use rivers and streams for water-related recreation, it does not give them the right to enter private lands bordering those streams or to cross private lands to gain access to streams without landowner permission. Complete rules are available at any FWP office.

Montana's special drawing deadlines

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' deadlines to apply for special license drawings is May 1 for bison, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat; and June 1 for the elk B, deer B and antelope license drawings.

Resident hunters applying for bison, moose, sheep and goat licenses need only submit a nonrefundable $10 application fee per license and then pay the full license fee of $125 if successful.

Nonresident hunters need only submit a nonrefundable $50 application fee per license and then pay the full license fee of $1,250 if successful.

In order to apply, an applicant must purchase his or her 2019 conservation and base hunting license.

Residents and nonresidents can also participate in the bonus point system to increase their chances of success in the drawing. Bonus points are $2 per species for residents and $20 per species for nonresidents.

Applying for special big game hunting permits and licenses is a lot easier these days for hunters who apply early and online at fwp.mt.gov .

Future Fisheries Program grant deadline is May 31

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds landowners, watershed groups and others that this summer’s deadline to apply for Future Fisheries Improvement Program grants is May 31.

The goal of FWP's Future Fisheries Program is to restore rivers, streams and lakes to improve Montana’s wild fish habitat. Entities can receive funding for qualifying projects that benefit Montana's wild fish. Each project is assessed by an independent review panel and final funding decisions are made by the Fish & Wildlife Commission.

To learn more about the Future Fisheries Improvement Program and to download the grant application form, go to the Fishing home page on FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov/fishing, or call FWP at 406-444-2432.

Completed Future Fisheries Improvement Program applications must be received on or before 11:59 p.m. on May 31 and should be sent electronically to mmcgree@mt.gov. Paper applications can be sent to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Habitat Bureau, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

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