HELENA – This year’s Montana paddlefish seasons kicks off on May 1 with the opening of the Upper Missouri River section from Fort Benton downstream to Fort Peck Dam. Anglers must have a White Harvest Tag to participate in catching and keeping a paddlefish from this section of the river. These tags are issued through a lottery system. FWP mails these tags to successful applicants.
Unsuccessful paddlefish drawing applicants will be issued a snag-and-release only license for the Upper Missouri River. Others may also purchase snag and release tags for this fishery, even if they are not part of the lottery.
The paddlefish season on the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam and in the Yellowstone River below the mouth of the Bighorn River opens May 15, and the archery fishing season for paddlefish in the Fort Peck Dredge Cuts below Fort Peck Dam opens July 1. As in the past, anglers may only select one area to fish for paddlefish in Montana: Upper Missouri River (White Harvest Tag), Yellowstone River and Missouri River downstream of Fort Peck Dam (Yellow Harvest Tag) and the Fort Peck Dredge Cut archery-only season (Blue Harvest Tag).
All harvested paddlefish must be immediately tagged and reported within 48 hours. Reporting options include: on-site where fish were harvested (at check points like Intake Fishing Access Site or roving creel staff along the Missouri), on the phone hotline at 1-877-FWP-WILD (877-397-9453) or 406-444-0356, or online at MyFWP at fwp.mt.gov.