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Ice fishing on small lake

Fish Fishing Contests

Approved 2023 open water fishing contests 

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has approved the 2023 open water fishing contests for the 2023 season. Participants must comply with state fishing regulations, including daily and possession limits.

Applications for fishing contests were approved, approved with conditions, or denied by the FWP Fisheries Division in Helena. Conditions placed on contests may help to minimize fish mortality, regulate harvest, reduce user conflicts, and/or require additional access site maintenance when needed.

Applications for the 2023-2024 ice fishing contests may be submitted May 1, 2023 through July 1, 2023.

 Mail to:

FWP Fisheries Division
Attn: Fishing Contests
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701

Or email:

Questions? Call 406-444-2449

Fishing Contests

Fishing Contest Rules

Any event where an entry fee is charged or where people may win prizes for catching fish in Montana is considered a fishing contest.

Fishing contests involving fewer than 30 people and cash prizes or merchandise worth $500 or less do not require a permit; but must comply with all fishing contest regulations (PDF). It is also best to notify the local Regional Fisheries Manager of the date and contact info for the event, just as a heads-up for all parties concerned. All other contests must submit an application and be permitted. No contests will be permitted for holiday weekends.

Contests involving any Montana listed species of special concern are prohibited except for lake/reservoir stocked Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout or Westslope Cutthroat Trout, including upper Missouri Cutthroat Trout.

All contests involving wild trout in streams/rivers are prohibited. 

Important Dates

Ice Fishing Contests

Applications for ice fishing contests are accepted between May 1 and July 1.

Open Water Contests

Applications for open water contests are accepted between September 1 and November 1 of the year prior to the event.

Applications & Permits

Late applications will not be accepted. For more information, please review the Reference Guide for Fishing Contests (PDF).