Outdoor recreation in Montana is among the state's top industries, generating $7.1 billion dollars and providing over 71,000 jobs. Fishing is a major contributor to these numbers for obvious reasons given the fact that we have around 34 million acres of public land hosting some of the world's best trout fisheries.
Montana fishing licenses are a crucial component to maintaining and enhancing the fly fishing experience for all Montanan and out-of-state visitors. The relatively higher cost of licenses for non-residents occasionally receives criticism, but just remember it goes to an extremely important cause...and it's cheaper than golf!
Licenses vary depending on how many days you are planning to fish. There are 2-day, 4-day, 10-day and season licenses available. All of our local fly shops in Ennis, Montana provide Montana fishing licenses. You are also able to purchase your fishing license online in advance of your trip. The process for buying a Montana fishing license online is simple and easy. We highly recommend getting your fishing license prior to your arrival at Madison Valley Ranch, but if not, don't worry we'll help you take care of that before you first guide trip!
Children under 12 years old DO NOT need a Montana fishing license. Everyone else does. During the license buying process you'll be asked to provide some basic personal information including contact information & the last 4 of your social. Your license validity will be based on how many days you plan on fishing. Please note that you do not need a license while fishing within the boundaries of our property, but you will if you fish elsewhere.
Each Montana fishery has its own unique regulations. Each river's specific regulations can vary depending on the section you are fishing and the time of year.
It is important to inquire about certain fishing methods either with your guide, our staff, or using the Montana Fishing Regulation booklet available online or at local fly shops.
The Madison River is catch-and-release. Up to 2 barbed hooks are permitted. Madison Valley Ranch and Eaton Outfitters are strictly catch-and-release operations regardless of regulations.
Below are the current 2021 non-resident MT Fishing license fees which include a conservation license ($10) and an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass ($7.50 for anglers 16 & Older)
The only slightly confusing section of the online application process is selecting which license to get depending on how many days you plan to fish. Keep in mind that these licenses are for consecutive days only.
The 2-day is for fishing 2 consecutive days. If you're going to be fishing 3 consecutive days then you'll need to purchase two 2-day licenses. Just be sure to carefully select the date range you'll be fishing as it is easy to accidentally overlap days.
If you're fishing 4-days, but you have a day off in the middle, you'd select two 2-day licenses for the specific day's you'll actually be fishing.
If you are fishing 5-10 days you'd select a 10-day license, but if you're fishing more than 10 days or you plan on coming back to Montana later in the year, it is best to buy a season license.