By Montana Grant

Posted: February 16, 2023

Montana fishing licenses are about to expire. Last year’s license is good until the end of February. On March 1st, you will need a new annual license.

It is always fun to see if your license investment paid off. For some anglers, they buy the license just in case they might get to go fishing. For others, they try and fish at least every week. Other anglers love every moment that they fish, and the investment is priceless. If not, you at least contributed for management, access areas, and enforcement.

How many days did you go fishing?    This number varies with age. As a retired guy, my schedule is way more open than working folks. Weekday fishing is much less crowded, and I can plan around the weather. If you are limited to just weekend fishing, weather, seasons, and other responsibilities cut into your schedule big time. Throw in hunting season and the fishing times shrink even more.

Did you keep any fish?    Not every fisherman keeps fish, but this is a way to supplement food costs. People are Hunters and Gatherers. A limit or so of fish sure is good eating. Trout and walleye can be well over $7 a pound. Throw in the cost of fishing gear, travel, boats, and other expenses, and fish become the most expensive meal you eat.

Did you take anyone else fishing?    Having company when fishing encourages us to fish more often. Solitude is fine but a great companion is fun! If you have a buddy, they will encourage you to fish more often.

Did you take a kid fishing?     There is something magical about taking kids or newbies fishing. Sharing your learned skills is so satisfying. You become a better fisherman when you teach others.

Do you feel that the license was a good investment?      Last year I had to get back surgery. Rehab really cut into my fishing time. We all have annual challenges. Somehow, when I could get out to fish, it was even better. Less was more but I have been making up for lost time this ice fishing season.

When we buy a new license, here are some things to remember.

Buy your license online. Go to the MTFWP website and take care of it. Print out your copy or they will mail you one.

                Take a picture of your license and keep it saved on your cellphone. If you forget the hard copy, you will have a backup option. Wardens will accept a cellphone view of the license.

Print out a few extra copies to store in your vest, tackle box, boat, or… Now you will always be license ready when you get checked.

Get a copy of the fishing regulations, at the local sporting goods store or at the FWP offices. Keep one copy in your truck and another copy in the bathroom. Read the regulations so you are familiar with any changes or information.

The Sportsman License package allows you to get your hunting and fishing license at the same time. You can also make your special tag requests at the same time. The FWP offices can certainly do this as well.  They will make sure that all of the paperwork is correct, and your points/permits will meet muster. This license comes with or without a Bear tag. You also end up with all the other add ons, such as Conservation license, AIS Prevention, etc.

Old Fart licenses are also a bargain. If you are a resident, 62 or older, your pass to piscatorial joy is $20.50. This includes the Conservation stamp and AIS fee.

Kids do not need a license until they are 12 years old. They pay $10.50 a year. At age 18 they are considered adults.

Anyone may fish for FREE on Mother’s and Father’s Day, as long as they abide by the seasons and regulations.

Folks with disabilities and Veterans, also have special exceptions.

Catch a Great Time again this new fishing season!

Montana Grant

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