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Montana Stream Access Law


Fri Apr 27 11:24:00 MDT 2012

Under Montana's stream access law, the public may use rivers and streams for recreational purposes up to the ordinary high water mark.

Although the law gives recreationists the right to use rivers and streams for water-related recreation, it does not give them the right to enter private lands bordering those streams or to cross private lands to access streams without landowner permission.

House Bill 190 passed during the 2009 Legislative Session, confirmed the public has access to surface waters by public bridges or county road right-of-way. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, in cooperation with affected landowners and counties, assists in providing access where a fence or other obstruction might prevent it.

Details on Montana's stream and bridge access laws are available on the FWP website at On the Fishing page select the Montana Fishing Guide then Angling Access.