MILES CITY, Mont.-- Live bait fish cannot legally be transported across state lines, into or out of Montana (Montana ARM 12.7.201(5)). This can make using them more difficult for individuals living in one state and fishing just across the border in Montana. In order to help anglers abide by the regulation and have a positive ice fishing experience, a minnow vending machine has been placed at the Tongue River Marina located within Tongue River Reservoir State Park.
A cooperative agreement has been made that states minnows will be collected from local waters within Montana to be placed in the vending machine for purchase.
“This regulation is in place in order to reduce the risk of spreading vectors, spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS) or illegal fish introduction which could threaten the established population,” says Mike Backes, Region 7 Fisheries Manager. The AIS of highest current concern are zebra/quagga mussels, Asian carp, VHS and aquatic noxious weeds, e.g., Eurasian Watermilfoil. Prevention is the key management tool. Unfortunately when AIS or illegal fish introduction is established, eradication is costly and often impossible.
Bob Peterson, Tongue River Reservoir State Park Manager, reports that the park has seen an increase in fishermen as ice conditions continue to improve. He is seeing a good harvest of perch, crappie and walleye so far this season.
For more information on regulations please go to http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/regulations/ or call Region Seven Headquarters at 406-234-0900.