2017 Boat Restrictions and Requirements

Keeping Montana’s waterways safe from invasive mussels is an ongoing battle. The 2017 boating restrictions and requirements are much the same as those from 2016—but with an added emphasis on owner responsibility.

The State of Montana urges all boat owners to fully clean, drain, and dry boats after use as a vital stop-gap measure to the health and purity of our water.

Invasive mussels will wreak havoc in our Dams—and take over (sometimes eliminating) native water species. Other States are already dealing with the introduction of the fast-spreading mussel.

The Flathead Beacon provided a great resource for boating restrictions:

2017 Boating Restrictions
Glacier National Park
The National Park Service is only allowing hand-propelled watercraft, such as kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, on the water this year. Non-trailered, hand-propelled boats must undergo mandatory inspections before entering the water. Privately owned motorboats and trailered watercraft are prohibited in 2017. Hand-propelled boats will be allowed on Lake McDonald and in the North Fork beginning May 15, and in the remaining areas of the park beginning June 1.

Blackfeet Reservation
The tribal council on May 4 is slated to review potential changes to restrictions, but as of May 1 all reservation waters remained closed to all boats. Fishing from the banks is still allowed, but anglers must have their wading equipment inspected. Felt-bottom boots are prohibited on any lake or stream.

Whitefish Lake
All watercraft must undergo inspections before entering Whitefish Lake. Beginning May 1 and running through the end of September, a mandatory inspection station will be set up at Whitefish City Beach — from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in May, August and September, and from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. in June and July — while a separate city-run watercraft inspection station will operate at Whitefish Lake State Park, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. A decontamination station will operate at Whitefish Marine and Powersports on U.S. Highway 93.

Flathead Reservation
With the exception of Flathead Lake and the Lower Flathead River, only hand-propelled, non-trailered watercraft including kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards are permitted on reservation waters. All watercraft must be inspected and cleared for launching into any Flathead Reservation water body by a certified boat inspector. Felt-soled waders are prohibited in any Flathead Reservation water body. Recreationists and waterfowl hunters must dry dogs to prevent movement of mussel larvae in wet fur entering lakes and rivers.

Flathead Lake and other local bodies of water
All out-of-state boaters must receive an inspection before entering any body of water in Montana, and any boaters who cross the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin are required to get an inspection before launching. All boaters, whether resident or out-of-state, must stop at any inspection station they encounter if it’s open. Inspection stations are located in Polson, Ravalli and FWP headquarters in Kalispell. For more information, visit musselresponse.mt.gov.


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