New boating rules apply to all western Montana public lakes and reservoirs (any lake with legal public access) and to lakes surrounded by Plum Creek Timber Company lands in western Montana (FWP Regions 1 and 2). The new rules, adopted by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission last fall, include:
Exceptions include: a few older-style personal watercraft which must maintain a certain minimum operating speed to stay upright and motorized watercraft towing a water skier from or to dock or the shore.
Both must travel the most direct route through the no-wake zone.
Lakes greater than 35 acres located within the Thompson Chain of Lakes are excluded from the rule on no-wake speeds within 200 feet from shore. Wake restrictions on these lakes were set earlier by the Commission in a public process specifically related to the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
The FWP Commission adopted these rules as a result of comments received during a series of public meetings held across the state last year.
No-wake restrictions were also set last year on the Tongue River and Tongue River Reservoir for motorized watercraft, including jet skis or personal watercraft. The ruling created a 300-foot-wide no-wake zone extending around three-quarters of the shoreline on the northeast and west sides of the reservoir. Also, no-wake restrictions apply to five bays: Rattlesnake Point, Camper Point, Pee Wee Point, Cormorant Bay and the cabin site area on Corral Creek. The Tongue River from the Wyoming state line to the reservoir is a no-wake stretch of the river.
The Commission's authority to resolve water-based recreation conflicts was granted by the 1999 Montana Legislature.