Don’t forget to get your AIS prevention pass for anglers

As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Montana anglers are reminded that they need to purchase a new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass.

The AIS Prevention Pass is required for all anglers, in addition to a fishing license. The cost is $2 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. This is not a license fee increase, but rather an additional requirement from the 2017 Montana Legislature to fund the fight against aquatic invasive species such as mussels.

The pass is available at all Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks license providers and online at If you purchased a fishing license prior to May 19, you will need to obtain an AIS pass.

“We know this will be an inconvenience for some anglers, but protecting the health of our waterways is critical,” said FWP director Martha Williams. “The AIS program we have in place is our best chance at keeping mussels from spreading to other Montana waters and at keeping other invasive species from gaining a foothold in the state.”

Also included in SB 363 was a fee for hydro-electric facilities. The AIS Prevention Pass is anticipated to generate about $3.2 million in revenue per year. The hydro-electric fee will generate about $3.7 million.

The 2017 Legislature provided additional funding for FWP’s aquatic invasive species program after the discovery last fall of aquatic invasive mussel larvae in water samples from Tiber Reservoir. The response plan includes increasing the number of inspection stations around the state, operating decontamination stations at both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoir, an expanded public education and outreach effort, and doubling the water sampling efforts for mussel larvae around Montana.

Also, because it is a separate program and not a fee increase, the pass can be purchased by non-anglers as well who would want to help contribute to Montana’s fight against aquatic invasive species.

AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) Protocols for Glacier Park

With the advent of the aquatic invasive species introduction of mussels, however isolated, in Montana, federal and state agencies are taking strong preventive proactive measures.  This includes Glacier Park, whose mission makes this extremely important.  For those of us on the North Fork, this is having a significant impact on watercraft practices, particular to Bowman and Kintla Lakes.  Watercraft usage is limited to hand propelled vehicles only.  If trailers are utilized, they are not allowed to enter any water. Inspections are going to have a greater impact.  All watercraft are required to be inspected each and every time they enter the park, no exceptions, even for those that never leave the valley.

The only fully authorized inspection station is at Apgar.  However, the Park has gratefully taken us locals into consideration and are offering limited inspections at the Polebridge Ranger Station under the auspices of our new Ranger, Jim Dahlstrom.  He has requested boaters contact him in advance (888-7842 in case he is occupied elsewhere and unavailable, thus avoiding unfortunate inconveniences.  In addition, due to overcrowding at Bowman Lake, new protocols are in place.

Because parking on the road will no longer allowed there when the parking lots are full, vehicle traffic on the Bowman Road may be restricted until parking becomes available.  This is to ensure visitor safety and that emergency vehicles can enter the area.  They are going to do their best to give advance warning to folks, but the entrance to the North Fork at Polebridge will not be affected.  Jim asks that everyone be aware and respect these new protocols, and to contact him directly if they have any questions.