Montana paddlefish season gets underway today

A surge of water is heading downstream, just in time for the opening of paddlefish season on the Yellowstone River today, according to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks news release.

“There’s a pulse of water that’s projected to peak Tuesday or Wednesday” at Intake Fishing Access Site near Glendive,” said Mike Backes, FWP Region 7 fisheries manager.

According to the press release, increased flows stimulate paddlefish migration and concentrate fish below the Intake Dam area as they attempt to swim upstream to spawn. Thus, it makes the Intake site a hot spot for anglers.

Monday’s opening day is limited to catch-and-release paddlefishing at Intake only, Backes noted. The first harvest day is Tuesday.

Paddlefish fishing hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily while the season is open. 

Harvest days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while catch-and-release days are Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. The season ends June 30 or when the harvest cap of 1,000 fish is approached.

Montana anglers may harvest one paddlefish per season.

Monday marks the season opener from the Bighorn River to Intake Dam, downstream of Intake to the North Dakota line, and from Fort Peck Dam to North Dakota. The section from Fort Peck Dam to Fort Benton opened May 1, the press relase noted.

The FWP encourages anglers to review the paddlefish regulations for requirements specific to each area.

Paddlefish harvests must be reported within 48 hours of the catch at Intake or by calling 844-668-5932 or 406-444-5604. 

For harvest updates call 853-1616.