Montana's fishing regulations restrict anglers from importing live bait fish into Montana. It is also illegal to release live bait fish of any kind into Montana waters.
Bait fish and the water they are contained in can carry disease, invasive species or foreign organisms. If released into a body of water the biological impacts can be devastating and irreversible.
"It is illegal to move bait fish between states," said Eileen Ryce, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks."While this regulation is particularly easy to forget for anglers who may cross state lines during a single fishing trip, it is critical these days that we all take responsibility for monitoring our use of baitfish."
Ryce said that issues with the use of bait fish have been found on the Tongue River Reservoir recently.
"Live bait fish can be used when fishing on Tongue River Reservoir, but the bait fish must be acquired in Montana," Ryce said.
Ryce said anglers should dispose of live bait in a zip-lock bag that is put into a landfill or in a garbage bag bound for a landfill site.