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Anglers Log Nearly 3 Million Days Fishing In Montana


Friday, November 12, 1999

Montana anglers spend nearly 3 million days a year in pursuit of an array of fish in the state's rivers, lakes and streams, FWP's latest angler survey reveals.

Montana angling surveys, now conducted every two years, have been done as early as 1958, when 1.42 million angler days were recorded. An "angler day" is one angler fishing one body of water for any length of time in a given day.

The 1997 Montana Statewide Angling Pressure Survey shows:

  • Angler's log 2.88 million angler days fishing in Montana.
  • Residents account for 80 percent of angling pressure in Montana.
  • About 86 percent of Montana's angling pressure is directed at either streams, rivers or lakes bearing trout species; rivers and streams account for about half of the activity with lakes accounting for about 36 percent of the trout-fishing activity.
  • For the first time, a warm water lake, Fort Peck Reservoir, accounts for the most lake fishing activity with 108,562 angler days.
  • Anglers after walleye, bass, and other warm-water fish produce a statewide total of 114,217 angler days on streams and 206,483 angler days on lakes.
  • August sees the most angling action with 480,529 angler days, or 16.7 percent of the year's activity.
  • The slowest angling month is November with 73,638 angler days, or 2.6 percent of the year's activity.
  • Most fishing activity takes place in Region 3 of southwestern Montana, which includes areas near Livingston, Bozeman, Dillon, Helena, and Butte, with 26 percent of the statewide total pressure.
  • The upper Missouri drainage experiences the most use483,580 angler days. The upper Missouri drainage includes the area above the mouth of the Marias River, excluding the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson drainages. It includes the Missouri River proper, the Missouri River reservoirsHolter, Hauser, Canyon Ferry, Toston, and the Helena Regulating Reservoir, Spring Meadow Lake, the Sun River, the Teton, Smith, and Dearborn rivers, Prickley Pear Creek, and Belt Creek.

Montana's 1997 Statewide Angling Pressure Survey, aimed at determining facts about fishing activity in Montana, is compiled by Bob McFarland, Systems Analyst with FWP Fisheries Research in Bozeman. The report is the result of monthly random samplings of licensed anglers, both resident and non-resident. McFarland, and his assistant, Deanna Meredith, sent out more than 85,000 angler surveys during the course of the year.