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Waterbody Use Restrictions

The following list of waterbodies have restrictions on the type of watercraft allowed, define no-wake speed areas, and identify lakes with water-ski directional rules.

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Waterbody

County

Restriction(s)

Alva Lake

Missoula County

Boats pulling, taking off with, and landing water skiers will travel in general counterclockwise direction.

Arapooish Pond

Big Horn County

Closed to all motorboats

Banana Lake

Banana Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Bearmouth Rest Area Pond

Granite County

Closed to all motorboats

Bearpaw Lake

Hill County

Closed to all motorboats

Beaver Creek Reservoir

Hill County

Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower; boats must travel at no-wake speed.

Beaver Lake (near Whitefish)

Flathead County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from 5 AM-10 AM and 7 PM-11 PM each day.

Beaverhead River

Beaverhead, Madison Counties

See the Montana Fishing Regulations for special angling and boating restrictions that apply to commercial outfitters and nonresidents.

Beavertail Pond

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Big Hole River

Silver Bow, Madison, Deer Lodge, Beaverhead Counties

Closed to all motorboats. All floaters are limited to a total of 2 launches at or near each official access site each day. See the Montana Fishing Regulations for special angling and boating restrictions that apply to commercial outfitters and nonresidents.

Bighorn River

Big Horn County

Closed to all motorboats from Afterbay Dam to the Bighorn Fishing Acess Site.

Bitterroot River & Tributaries

Missoula, Ravalli Counties

Closed to all motorized watercraft from the headwaters to the confluence with the Clark Fork River.
Exception:  (1) Motorized watercraft of 20 hp or less are permitted from the headwaters to the confluence with the Clark Fork River from October 1 to January 31. [View map of Restrictions (PDF)]

Blackfoot River

Missoula, Powell Counties

Closed to all motorized watercraft from the headwaters to the confluence with the Clark Fork River. [View map of Restrictions (PDF)]

Blanchard Lake

Blanchard Lake is on the Clearwater River

Missoula County

Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower.

Bootjack Lake

Bootjack Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Bozeman Pond

Gallatin County

Closed to all motorboats

Branum Pond

Custer County

Closed to all motorboats

Browns Lake

Powell County

Closed to all boats from April 1 to July 15, that portion of lake as marked or posted.

Cad Lake

Cad Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Canyon Ferry Reservoir

Broadwater, Lewis & Clark Counties

Boats must travel at no-wake speed within 300 feet of dock or as buoyed in the following areas: White Earth, Goose Bay, Yacht Basin, Cave Bay, Little Hellgate, Magpie Bay, Carp Bay, and from Canyon Ferry Dam to Riverside boat ramp.

Carpenter Lake (Tetrault Lake)

Lincoln County

Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower

Carter Ponds (Upper & Lower)

Fergus County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Castle Rock Reservoir

Rosebud County

Manually powered or electric motors only. No vessel of any type nor swimming are permitted within 100 yards of the intake structure.

Cibid Lake

Cibid Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Clark Fork River & Tributaries (Headwaters to Kelly Island FAS/Grass Valley Ditch Diversion)

Deer Lodge, Granite, Missoula, Powell Counties

Closed to all motorized watercraft from the headwaters to Kelly Island (Spurgin Road) Fishing Access Site boat ramp and the Grass Valley Ditch Diversion. [View map of Restrictions (PDF)]

Clark Fork River (Kelly Island FAS/Grass Valley Ditch Diversion to Harper's Bridge FAS)

Missoula County

Closed to all motorized watercraft from Kelly Island (Spurgin Road) Fishing Access Site boat ramp and the Grass Valley Ditch Diversion to Harper's Bridge Fishing Access Site.
Exception:  (1) Motorized watercraft, except personal watercraft, are permitted from May 1 to June 15. (2) Motorized watercraft of 20 hp or less are permitted from October 1 to January 31. [View map of Restrictions (PDF)]

Clark Fork River (Harper’s Bridge FAS to St. John’s FAS)

Missoula, Mineral Counties

Closed to all motorized watercraft from Harper’s Bridge Fishing Access Site to St. John’s Fishing Access Site. Exceptions: (1) Motorized watercraft, except personal watercraft, are permitted from October 1 to June 15. (2) Motorized watercraft of 20hp or less are permitted from June 16 to September 30. [View map of Restrictions (PDF)]

Clark Fork River (St. John’s FAS to mouth of Fish Creek)

Mineral County

Closed to all motorized watercraft From St. John's Fishing Access Site to the mouth of Fish Creek (also known as the Alberton Gorge Whitewater section). [View map of Restrictions (PDF)]

Clearwater Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Clearwater River

Missoula County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from the outlet of Seeley lake to the first bridge downstream from Camp Paxson swim dock; and from Boy Scout Road Bridge north of Seeley Lake to the mouth of Clearwater River at the north end of Seeley Lake.

Cochrane Reservoir

Cascade County

Closed to all boating, sailing, floating, swimming, personal watercraft use, and waterfowl hunting.

Colt Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Cooney Reservoir

Carbon County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in all of Willow Creek arm as buoyed; and in North Shore and Marshall Cover within 300 feet of dock as buoyed.  Boats pulling, taking off with, and landing water skiers will travel in general counterclockwise direction.

Cottonwood Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Crystal Lake

Fergus County

Manually powered or electric motors only

East Gallatin Pond

Gallatin County

Closed to all motorboats

Echo Lake

Flathead County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed.
Exception: upper three islands in the southwest corner of section 5, approximately 1/4 mile southeast of the entrance of Blackies Bay; the narrow corridor that serves as the entrance and exit to Blackies Bay located in the northwest corner of Echo Lake; and the narrow corridor that serves as the entrance and exit to Causeway Bay located in the northeast corner of Echo Lake.

Elsina Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Ennis Lake

Madison County

Closed to all motorboats in Kobayashi Bay swimming area as marked by buoys.

Fitzpatrick Lake

Toole County

Closed to all motorboats

Flathead Lake

Flathead County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from Bigfork Bay to 100 yards west of the Highway 35 bridge, and as buoyed.

Flathead River (North Fork)

Flathead County

Closed to all motorboats from the Canadian border to Camas bridge. Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower from the Camas bridge to the confluence of the Middle Fork.

Flathead River (Middle Fork)

Flathead County

Closed to all motorboats from Bear Creek into the wilderness. Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower from Bear Creek to the confluence of the South Fork.

Flathead River (South Fork)

Flathead County

Closed to all motorboats from Spotted Bear Creek into the wilderness. Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower from Spotted Bear footbridge to the Hungry Horse Reservoir.

Forest Lake

Meagher County

Closed to all motorboats

Fort Peck Dredge Cut Trout Pond

Valley County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Fort Peck Reservoir

Garfield, McCone Counties

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in Rock Creek Marina and Hell Creek Marina within 300 feet of docks or as buoyed.

Frenchtown Pond

Missoula County

Closed to all motorboats

Fresno Reservoir

Hill County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the area around the Fresno boat club docks, public boat ramp area, swimming, and beach area as buoyed and signed.

Gartside Reservoir

Richland County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Georgetown Lake

Deerlodge, Granite Counties

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from the mouth of Stuart Mill Bay as marked by buoys and continuing to shore.

Harpers Lake

Missoula County

Closed to all motorboats

Harrison Lake (Willow Creek Reservoir)

Madison County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in all of Willow Creek Arm and Norwegian Arm as buoyed 6 PM – 11 AM.

Hauser Reservoir

Lewis & Clark County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the following areas: Lakeside Marina and Hauser Lake State Park at Black Sandy beach within 300 feet of the docks or as buoyed. Spokane Creek Bay within 500 feet from mouth of bay as buoyed. From Canyon Ferry Dam to Riverside boat ramp. Devil's Elbow Campground from the shore to 100 feet into the river channel or as buoyed. Clark's Bay from shore to 300 feet from shore or as buoyed. York Bridge fishing access site within 300 feet of boat ramp and dock area as buoyed. White Sandy Recreation Area within 300 feet of docks and swim area as buoyed.

Hauser Reservoir

Lewis & Clark County

Closed to all watercraft from October 15 to December 15, the upper end of reservoir from Canyon Ferry Dam to below Brown's Gulch as marked.

Hebgen Lake

Gallatin County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the following areas: Rainbow Point Bay as buoyed; Loneshomehurst Campground within 200 feet of shoreline or as buoyed; Kirkwood Resort Marina and residential area and private marina within 200 feet of shoreline or as buoyed; Happy Hour Marina Yellowstone Holiday Arm Resort within 200 feet of docks or as buoyed.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir

Lewis & Clark County

Manually powered or electric motors only. Swimming and wading are prohibited.  Windsurfers wearing a wet suit or dry suit are permitted in designated area.

Henry Reservoir

Toole County

Closed to all motorboats

Hidden Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Holland Lake

Missoula County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in Holland Lake Lodge and the Bay Loop campground within 300 feet or as buoyed.

Holter Lake

Lewis & Clark County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the following areas: Bureau of Land Management boat landing as buoyed, Juniper Bay, Log Gulch, Departure Point, Merriweather Camp, and Holter Lake Lodge docks. Gates of the Mountains Marina Marina within 300 feet of docks or as buoyed.

Holter Lake (upper)

Lewis & Clark County

No water skiing on Saturday and Sunday and all legal holidays from the mouth of the canyon on upper Holter Lake to Gates of the Mountains near Mann Gulch, as marked.

Hyalite Reservoir

Gallatin County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Inez Lake

Missoula County

Boats pulling, taking off with, and landing water skiers will travel in general counterclockwise direction.

Johnson Reservoir

Dawson County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Lake Dinah

Missoula County

Closed to all motorboats

Lake Elmo

Yellowstone County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Lake Helena

Lewis & Clark County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from April 1 to the opening day of waterfowl season.

Lake Koocanusa

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in Cripple Horse Bay within 300 feet of docks or as buoyed.

Lavon Lake

Lavon Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed; including the channel between Lavon and Crystal lakes.

Leon Lake

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Lilly Pad Lake

Lilly Pad Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Little Loon Lake

Little McGregor Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Little McGregor Lake

Flathead County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Little Rainbow Lake

Little Rainbow Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Lost Lake

Lost Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Lower Carter Pond

Fergus County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Middle Thompson Lake

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed, only the channel between Middle and Lower Thompson lakes.

Missouri River (see also Canyon Ferry, Fort Peck, Hauser, and Holter Reservoirs)

Gallatin, Broadwater, Lewis & Clark, Cascade Counties

Closed to all motorboats from the Burlington Northern Railway Bridge No. 119.4 at Broadwater Bay in Great Falls to Black Eagle. Also, the part of the river extending from the Warden Bridge on 10th Ave. S in Great Falls to the floater take-out facility near Oddfellows Park at Broadwater Bay as posted.  Personal watercraft prohibited on the headwaters of the Missouri River downstream to its confluence with Prewett Creek, except in Missouri River reservoirs, and including all tributaries but not their reservoirs.

Missouri River

Lewis & Clark County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from Hauser Dam downstream to Beaver Creek.

Missouri River

Contact the Bureau of Land Management for seasonal boating restrictions on the "wild and scenic" portion of river from Fort Benton to James Kipp Recreation Area (Fred Robinson Bridge). Phone (877) 256-3252 or (406) 622-4015.

Blaine, Choteau, Fergus, Phillips Counties

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Morony Reservoir

Cascade County

Closed to all boating, sailing, floating, swimming, personal watercraft use, and waterfowl hunting.

Morrell Lake

Missoula County

Closed to all motorboats

Myron Lake

Myron Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Park Lake

Jefferson County

Closed to all motorboats

Pelican Point Fishing Access Ponds

Cascade County

Closed to all motorboats

Placid Creek

Missoula County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from its headwaters to the confluence with Placid Lake.

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Rainy Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Ryan Reservoir

Cascade County

Closed to all boating, sailing, floating, swimming, personal watercraft use, and waterfowl hunting.

Salmon Lake

Missoula County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the following areas: Clearwater River from the Placid Lake Road Bridge to Salmon Lake; that portion known as Legendary Lodge Narrows near the South end of the lake; and the area south of Salmon Cove Point (Eagle's Nest) to the lake's outlet.

Savage Lake

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed during the hours of 5 AM – 10 AM and 7 PM – 11 PM each day.

Seeley Lake

Missoula County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the northern most portion of lake from where Deer Creek flows into the west side of the lake, following a straight line across the lake to where Rice Creek flows into the east side of the lake and continuing north to shore, as marked. Boats pulling, taking off with, and landing water skiers will travel in general counterclockwise direction.

Smith River

Requires a recreational float permit

Cascade, Meagher Counties

Closed to all motorboats

South Sandstone Reservoir

Fallon County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Spook Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Spring Meadow Lake

Lewis & Clark County

Closed to all motorboats

Summit Lake

Missoula County

Manually powered or electric motors only

Swan Lake

Lake County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed, including northern outlet of Swan Lake approximately 3/4 of a mile south to the southern tip of the southern most island or as buoyed.

Swan River

Lake County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from the mouth of Swan Lake upstream to Porcupine Bridge approximately 4.5 miles. From July 1 to September 15 no-wake speed or the minimum operating speed necessary to progress upstream from where the Swan River flows out of Swan Lake in Lake County to where Bear Creek enters the Swan River in Flathead County.

Tetrault Lake (Carpenter Lake)

Lincoln County

Closed to all motorboats over 10 hp.

Thompson Lakes

Refer to Middle or Upper Thompson lakes for restrictions.

Lincoln County

 

Tongue River Reservoir

Big Horn County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in the following areas: As buoyed in the marina area at Campers Point; the entire Tongue River Reservoir from shoreline to 300 feet from the shoreline from the south point that forms Corral Creek Bay (DNRC cabin site bay), north to the face of the dam, west along the dam face, and south along the west shore of the reservoir to the point where the Tongue River enters the reservoir; Rattlesnake Bay, Campers Point Bay, Pee Wee Point Bay, Cormorant Bay, Corral Creek Bay (DNRC cabin site bay), and Tongue River from the Wyoming border to the Tongue River Reservoir. Exceptions: (1) Personal watercraft which must maintain a minimum operating speed to remain upright and maneuver in the water may travel at that minimum operating speed following the most direct route through the no-wake zone to and from shore.  (2) Motorized watercraft towing a skier from a dock or the shore.

Topless Lake

Topless Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Upper Carter Pond

Fergus County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Upper Thompson Lake

Lincoln County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in middle and lower lobes.

Upsata Lake

Missoula County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Whitefish River

Flathead County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed from its confluence with Whitefish Lake to the bridge on the JP Road.

Whitetail Reservoir

Daniels County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed

Willow Creek Reservoir (Harrison Lake)

Madison County

Boats must travel at no-wake speed in all of Willow Creek Arm and Norwegian Arm as buoyed 6 PM-11 AM.

Wood Lake

Lewis & Clark County

Closed to all motorboats