Montana, often referred to as “Big Sky Country,” is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. With its vast array of rivers, lakes, and streams, it offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the United States. However, before you can cast your line, you need to obtain a fishing license. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the costs, types, and purchasing methods for fishing licenses in Montana.

How Much is a Fishing License in Montana
How Much is a Fishing License in Montana

Fishing in Montana is not just a hobby; it’s a way of life. The state boasts over 34 million acres of public land, making it a prime destination for anglers. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, understanding the licensing requirements is crucial to ensure a legal and enjoyable fishing experience.

Who Needs a Fishing License?

In Montana, anyone aged 12 and older must have a fishing license to fish legally. This requirement applies to both residents and non-residents. Children under 12 can fish without a license, but they must follow all fishing regulations.

Types of Fishing Licenses

Montana offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different needs. Here are the main categories:

1. Conservation License

A Conservation License is mandatory for all anglers. It includes the State Lands Recreation Use Permit, which covers fishing, hunting, and trapping. This license is also required for accessing fishing sites and wildlife management areas.

2. Base Fishing License

The Base Fishing License is available for different durations:

  • 2-Day License
  • 10-Day License
  • Season License

3. Angler Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP)

Introduced in 2017, the AISPP is required to protect Montana’s waters from invasive species. All anglers must purchase this pass in addition to their fishing license.

4. Special Licenses

Montana offers special licenses for residents with disabilities, visually impaired residents, and military veterans with a Purple Heart or Legion of Valor Medal. These licenses often come at a discounted price or with additional privileges.

Cost of Fishing Licenses

The cost of fishing licenses in Montana varies based on residency status and the type of license. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

Resident Fees

License TypeCost
Conservation License$8.00
Youth Conservation License (10-17)$4.00
2-Day Fishing License$11.00
Season Fishing License$31.00

Non-Resident Fees

License TypeCost
Conservation License$10.00
1-Day Fishing License (16 and older)$31.50
5-Day Fishing License (16 and older)$73.50
Season Fishing License (16 and older)$117.50
1-Day Fishing License (12-15)$24.00
5-Day Fishing License (12-15)$66.00
Season Fishing License (12-15)$110.00

Purchasing a Fishing License

Fishing licenses in Montana can be purchased through various methods:

1. Online

You can buy your fishing license online through the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) website. This is a convenient option, allowing you to obtain your license before your trip.

2. Local Fly Shops

Many local fly shops in Montana, especially in popular fishing areas like Ennis and Bozeman, sell fishing licenses. This option is ideal if you prefer to buy your license in person.

3. FWP Offices

You can also purchase your fishing license at any FWP office. This is a good option if you need assistance or have specific questions about the licensing process.

Conservation Efforts

Fishing license fees in Montana support various conservation initiatives. These funds are used for habitat restoration, public access improvements, and the management of fish populations. By purchasing a fishing license, you contribute to the preservation of Montana’s natural resources.


Fishing in Montana is a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to comply with the state’s licensing requirements. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, obtaining the appropriate fishing license ensures that you can enjoy your time on the water legally and responsibly. Remember, the fees you pay help support vital conservation efforts, ensuring that Montana’s fishing opportunities remain abundant for future generations.

For more detailed information and to purchase your fishing license, visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website.

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