Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks

  • Agency: Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks
  • Address: 1420 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, 59620-0701 MT
  • Chief:
Phone: (406) 444-2535
Fax: (406) 444-4952 (406) 444-3186

Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks is located at 1420 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, 59620-0701 MT. The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks phone number is (406) 444-2535.

Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks News

Once upon a time, in a state far, far away, there were few people and fewer animals. Let’s call this place and time Montana 1918. Fast forward 100 years. We are now past one million people, and approaching 200k elk, 1k wolves, 5k mountain lions, 15k black bears and 2k grizzly bears (including the Yellowstone population, which spreads over Montana, Idaho and Wyoming). Meanwhile, the state’s boundaries remain constant.How much can we take? How much do we want? To some people, the more of everything the merrier. If you see a problem with that, raise your hand. Thank you. There are those rural Montana folks who love where they live because there are so few other people. Conversely, there are some residents who don’t mind their crowded communities – crowded by Montana standards. However, when an animal population increases and intrudes into our lifestyle it can be a problem no matter where you live. To read full article visit https://buff.ly/2kzaCqa

FWP's Wibaux watercraft inspection station intercepted a boat carrying zebra mussels last Thursday. The owner purchased the used boat and was transporting it to Alberta, Canada. The last launch of the boat was in Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin. Mussels were found on the outboard motor. Inspectors washed the outside of the boat but were unable to do a complete decontamination. The boat has been locked and will not launch in Montana. This is the fifth boat with mussels that watercraft inspectors have stopped this year. FWP reminds all those transporting motorized or nonmotorized boats into Montana to have their watercraft inspected before launching. Boat owners are required to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations. Persons purchasing used boats should ensure the watercraft are clean, drained and dry before crossing Montana state line. To find a watercraft inspection station visit www.cleandraindrymt.com.

You could win a Hunt of a Lifetime! FWP is once again offering a SuperTag lottery for hunters to take another shot at the dream. Eight lucky hunters will win a SuperTag license. SuperTag chances are available for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, antelope, elk, deer, bison, and mountain lion. One SuperTag will be drawn for each species. The SuperTag can be used in any hunting district in Montana-including Montana's legendary trophy districts. Revenue from the new SuperTag sales is used to enhance hunting access and boost FWP enforcement efforts. Purchase deadline is June 28, 2018. Visit fwp.mt.gov today!

As you may be aware, bears and their cubs are moving into lower elevations at this time of year. As Montanans take to the outdoors to enjoy Memorial Day weekend, Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor Cooney are sharing tips to prepare for safe outings and how to properly use bear spray.

Quentin Kujala, Wildlife Management Section Chief, gives an update on the large wolf-like animal shot and killed May 16th near Denton.

Two goats wandered from home over to Giant Springs State Park. Blue & Princess are donning matching bandannas and bells. They claim they don't even know how they goat here. The Department of Livestock has relocated them to Western Livestock in Great Falls where they are eagerly waiting to be claimed. They miss their owners baaa'd. Please let us know if you have any information.

High water in south central Montana’s major rivers has prompted FWP to restrict 11 fishing access sites to walk-in only. Sites that have restricted access along the Yellowstone River include Grey Bear west of Big Timber, Indian Fort at Reed Point, Buffalo Mirage near Park City, Duck Creek west of Billings, Gritty Stone and Voyagers’ Rest east of Shepherd, Bundy Bridge near Pompeys Pillar and Captain Clark southwest of Custer. Sites on the Musselshell River include Selkirk and Harlowton. Grant Marsh fishing access site on the Bighorn River also is restricted to walk-in only. In all instances, high water from the rivers has flooded roads and other improvements, making them unusable for vehicles. They will remain closed until water levels recede and FWP crews take the opportunity to assess and repair any water damage. https://buff.ly/2LstVhs

Shawn Steward has only ever wanted to be a Wildlife Biologist. Whether his is manning hunter check stations in the fall or doing sheep surverys in the spring, Stewarts career has spanned almost a half a century.

Don’t forget – the deadline to apply for Deer B, Elk B, Antelope and Antelope B licenses is Friday, June 1. Residents and nonresidents can 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. Sportsmen and women must have a 2018 conservation and base hunting license as a prerequisite to apply. Applications may be applied for online at fwp.mt.gov, any FWP office or by mail, your applications must be postmarked on or before June 1.

Montana FWP is seeking a current high school student to fill a two-year term on the Future Fisheries Citizen Review Panel. FWP’s Future Fisheries Improvement Program grants approximately $650,000 annually for projects to improve and restore Montana’s wild fish habitats. The 14-member Citizen Review Panel meets twice a year to review proposals and recommend projects to the Fish & Wildlife Commission for funding. Review panel members are appointed by the Governor, or his representative, and must represent a variety of interests including: conservation districts; commercial agriculture; irrigated agriculture; silviculture; fisheries restoration; Montana anglers; members of the Montana House of Representatives and Senate; high school students; mining reclamation; fisheries; and one ex-officio member from the Montana Department of Transportation. To learn more please visit https://buff.ly/2KQ9eux

A middle-age Billings man drowned Monday while floating the Smith River about eight miles upstream of the Eden Bridge take out, south of Great Falls. He was with another man when their boat hit a rock broadside, swamped and threw both men into the river. He was not wearing a life jacket, a witness said. Rivers throughout Montana this year are running high from melting snow and rain. That water is powerful and cold, even on a hot, sunny day. At Eden Bridge, the Smith was flowing almost 1,700 cubic feet per second at the time of the accident. The long-term average is about 950 cfs. Water temperature was in the low 50s. A person without a life jacket can drown in a matter of minutes when falling into cold water. Everyone in a boat or even near rapidly flowing water should wear a well-fitted Personal Flotation Device or life jacket. Our condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

The Dunes Fishing Access Site on the Missouri River south of Great Falls and just upstream of the town of Ulm has been closed due to high water. The Dunes FAS will remain closed until the Sun River recedes, the area can be cleaned up and is deemed safe for recreation.

Check out this action packed video of the Vandalia Wildlife Management Area opening. Glasgow-area biologist Drew Henry, was the lucky gate opener while videographer Marc Klocker stayed back and caught aka waited for the commotion...movement...anything. But if you listen carefully, eager attendees did include some western meadowlarks and various grassland song birds. Thanks for sharing Region 6! #wideopenspaces #montanahowwelikeit

Life jackets save lives! If a boater is wearing one, their chance of survival from capsizing or a fall overboard will dramatically increase. Did you know drowning is the reported cause of death in four out of every five boating fatalities? Don’t just store a life jacket for a “what-if” situation, always wear a life jacket while boating – or to work. FWP celebrated wear your life jacket to work day last week. #lifejacket2work #safeboating To learn more about boat safety please visit http://bit.ly/2IALzll.

Check out this drone footage of the Sun River WMA opening. There was a large crowd and a lot of people left with some great finds.

Saving a little water for trout can greatly improve a fishery.

Wildlife Management Areas around the state opened yesterday. Shown is a video of the Sun River opening. Did you attend one? If so please let's see what you found...share your photos, videos or stories below. #mymontanafwp

What happens to fish in high river waters? Are the spawning beds destroyed? Are the fish ok? Below is an explanation to these questions and more from FWP's Fisheries Research Coordinator, David Schmetterling. In general these high flows will be really beneficial in the long run for fish. Fish in Montana have evolved to take advantage of the seasonal changes across the landscapes they inhabit. High flows from spring snowmelt creates new habitat, invigorates some stretches of river, provides nutrients, and allows fish to access areas. There are a lot of different responses to high flows, and depending on the species they behave differently. Some fish use these high waters to access areas that are otherwise inaccessible some times of the year. Also, many fish spawn during these flows, ranging from Paddlefish in the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers to many sucker species around the state. Some fish also use these high flows to trigger migrations for spawning, to find food, and move to areas where they will spend the summer. Some of these movements may exceed 200 miles. Many fish don’t leave the rivers but simply change their behaviors and avoid the high flows by moving toward the bank, where velocities are less because of the roughness of the banks. Westslope Cutthroat move from the rivers to smaller tributaries this time of the year where they will spawn with the declining flows on newly scoured and sorted substrate. Bull Trout on the other hand will use declining flows and warming temperatures in the rivers to trigger their migrations to tributaries where they spend the summer and spawn in the fall. Many insects rely on big years like this for habitat, like salmon flies. Also, in the Yellowstone River where we have experienced PKD outbreaks and fish kills, hopefully these flows will scour the rocks and redistribute the substrate and “reset” the habitat conditions that have been favorable to the intermediate host of those pathogens. Similarly, a long period of high turbid flow will prevent large algal blooms, cause by low, clear water from affecting many of our rivers. However, despite all the good things high flow years like this can have, some fish will be affected from the sediments, either causing physical trauma or from the lack of ability to feed in the turbid water.

Hooray for all the moms and special ladies in our lives! Happy Mother's Day to you!

Stop Tagging Walleye FWP is asking the person responsible for putting plastic Zip Ties into the jaws of Missouri River walleye to stop. Over the past several weeks, FWP Region 4 game wardens have seen two walleyes with red Zip Ties in the fishes’ jaws. The fish were caught near the town of Cascade and just below Holter Dam. In one case the plastic strip had grown into the fish’s jaw and created a deformity. FWP has also received several other reports of walleye caught with the plastic strips implanted in their jaws. “We don’t put jaw tags in fish anymore because it causes damage,” said Grant Grisak, FWP Region 4 fisheries manager. “Whoever is doing it should stop,” he said. “It confuses the public, making people think FWP is putting the plastic jaw tags out. We are not. But some anglers might catch and keep a fish they normally wouldn’t, because they think we want the information or there is a reward or something.”

Due to high water, flood conditions and associated public safety concerns, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has closed many fishing access sites (FASs) around Montana. To keep up to date with closures please visit https://buff.ly/2rBLXEO.

High-water safety during spring run off with FWP's Adam Pankratz.

BOW still has space at their June BOW weekend workshop at Boulder Hot Springs June 8-10. There are single rooms, a few double rooms, and lots of camping available. So many classes to choose from! To view the class choices check out the registration packet at http://fwp.mt.gov/education/bow/