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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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Banana Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Missoula County Closed to motorboats over 10 horsepower.
Blanchard Lake is on the Clearwater River
Bootjack Lake Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Bootjack Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Cad Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Cibid Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed; including the channel between Lavon and Crystal lakes.
Lavon Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
Leon Lake Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Leon Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
Lilly Pad Lake Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Lilly Pad Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
Little Loon Lake Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Little Loon Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
Little McGregor Lake Flathead County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Little McGregor Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
Little Rainbow Lake Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Little Rainbow Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
Lost Lake Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Lost Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Blaine, Choteau, Fergus, Phillips Counties Boats must travel at no-wake speed
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.
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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Myron Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Rainbow Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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 Cascade, Meagher Counties Closed to all motorboats
Requires a recreational float permit.
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 Lincoln County  
Refer to Middle or Upper Thompson lakes for restrictions.
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 Lincoln County Boats must travel at no-wake speed
Topless Lake is in the Thompson Chain of Lakes.
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