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Private Fish Ponds

Photo of children looking into Giant Springs Fish Pond

Giant Springs Fish Pond

A person who owns or lawfully controls a private fish pond may obtain a license from FWP to stock the pond with fish. Only lawfully purchased fish may be planted.

Approved fish hatcheries (aka commercial fish ponds) for purchasing fish for private ponds:

Some additional sources of information are listed below:

A Guide to Building and Managing Private Fish Ponds in Montana

The purpose of this handbook is to provide the prospective pond builder with an overview of the process of planning, permitting, constructing, and managing a successful private fish pond. For those considering building a pond, several sources of information are listed in the references at the end of this guide.

Registration of Koi or Goldfish Ponds

Koi and goldfish are controlled exotic fish species that can be legally kept indoors in an aquarium or outdoors in ponds that meet certain criteria. Such ponds must be registered with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. For stocking of other fish species in ponds please contact your local FWP office.

Private Ponds License Search

Search for existing private pond licenses by name, business name, or license number.

No fishing license is required to fish on licensed, privately stocked fish ponds. Fishing license requirements apply to all other ponds and/or waters on private land.



The license application fee for a private or non-commercial fish pond is $10.

Fish Pond Applications


Regulations are intended to allow the stocking of private fish ponds while ensuring that public resources are not adversely affected by unwanted fish or fish diseases, that nuisance aquatic species are not planted into ponds where they can escape or be introduced into state waters, and that habitat of wild fish is not harmed.