Aquatic invasive species (AIS) threaten Montana’s waterways and fisheries. AIS are plants, animals and pathogens that are not native to Montana and cause harm to Montana’s native plants, animals and fish. AIS populations can reproduce quickly and spread rapidly because there are no natural predators or competitors to keep them in check.
Anglers can help prevent the spread of AIS by following these 3 simple steps:
Clean. After you’re done recreating or fishing in a water body, completely remove all plants, animals, mud, and standing water from your vessel and equipment. Inspect your boat, trailer, and all gear. Pay close attention to crevices and hidden areas. Clean your fishing nets and waders. Felt soled waders stay wet longer and trap micro-organism to can be transported to other waterbodies. Consider using new slip-resistant alternatives to felt soles.
Drain. Drain or remove water from your boat, bilge, pipes, live-wells, engine, internal compartments, and bait buckets by removing drain plugs before leaving the waterbody. Keep in mind that some organisms are microscopic for at least part of their developing lives. Standing water is particularly worrisome.
Dry. Aquatic invaders can only survive in water and wet areas. Drying your watercraft and waders thoroughly, if given enough time, will kill AIS and preserve the health of Montana’s lakes and rivers. Putting waders in a freezer for 24 hours can also kill any lingering AIS.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks and our partners have over 30 watercraft inspection station operating around the state. Watercraft owners must stop at any open inspection station they encounter. Typically, these stops are very brief and include a short series of questions about where the watercraft has been and a quick inspection. Watercraft that must stop comprise of all motorized boats and non-motorized vessels including canoes, kayaks, rafts, drift boats, and personal pontoons used by anglers. In addition, watercraft must be inspected if:
- crossing from east to west over the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin
- crossing into the Flathead River Basin
- entering into Montana from out-of-state
- leaving Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoir
These heightened efforts at protecting Montana’s waters are in response to the of aquatic invasive mussel larvae found in water samples from Tiber Reservoir and a suspect sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir in the fall of 2016.
For more information on invasive mussels and locations of inspection and decontamination stations, visit cleandraindrymt.com or call 406-444-2440.