No license or permits are required to fish inside the boundaries of Glacier National Park. Fishermen need to stop at a Visitor Center or Ranger Station to obtain a current copy of park fishing regulations.
Many people wonder why the National Park Service no longer plants fish in park waters after this was done for many decades to enhance sport fishing. The reason is simple. The introduction of exotic game fishes was found to be detrimental to Glacier's native fishes. Predation and competition for space and food adversely affected several native species, and hybridization between indigenous and non-native species of fish also occurred. The native westslope cutthroat trout has been all but eliminated from several lakes, where it was once the dominant species.
Fishing for bull trout is prohibited and any bull trout incidentally caught must be immediately released.
The rod or line must be hand held.
The use of artificial lures and flies is strongly recommended.
The use of fish or fish parts, including non-preserved fish eggs, of any species is prohibited.
No bait, including insects and worms, may be collected inside the park's boundaries..
Do not deposit fish eggs, roe, food, or other substances in waters to attract fish.
Fishing with nets, seines, traps, drugs, or explosives is prohibited.
Snagging fish in park waters, or from park lands, is prohibited.
Artificial flies or lures with a single hook only:
Lower McDonald Creek (catch and release fishing only)
NOTE: Beginning January 1, 2004, Glacier National Park is prohibiting the use of all lead associated with fishing. This includes weights, lures, jigs, line, etc. The only exception is a fisherman who is using a downrigger may use cannon ball lead weights of 2 to 10 pounds on the downrigger cable. Cleaning Fish When cleaning fish,use garbage cans where available for entrail disposal.
When cleaning fish in the backcountry, puncture the air bladder, and throw entrails into deep water at least 200 feet from the nearest campsite or trail. Do not bury or burn entrails, as they will attract bears.
Consider catch and release fishing; otherwise, keep only enough fish for a meal. Be a clean fisherman! Leave nothing behind--except a few footprints.
Boundary Waters The Middle Fork of the Flathead River is outside of the park, and a Montana State fishing license is required. When fishing from the park lands along the North Fork of the Flathead River, park catch and possession limits, as well as other park fishing regulations are applicable, with the exception of the state regulations pertaining to cutthroat trout. (see Catch and Possession Limits section)
Closed Waters The following areas are closed to fishing:
Kintla Creek between Kintla Lake and Upper Kintla Lake
Upper Kintla Lake
Bowman Creek above Bowman Lake
Logging Creek between Logging Lake and Grace Lake
The following creeks are closed for their entire length: Ole, Park, Muir, Coal, Nyack, and Fish Creeks.
Hidden Lake and outlet creek during cutthroat trout spawning.
Fishing Tips The success of a fisherman depends on skill, lures used, weather conditions, time of year, whether a boat is used or not, and the body of water fished. The following are some helpful tips:
Waterfalls prevented fish from naturally reaching many streams and lakes, If you are going to fish, check before making a long hike.
Fish usually feed in the early morning and evening.
Lake trout (mackinaw) are in deep water during the hot summer months, and are best caught by trolling.
Fish are on the bottom when the water is high and murky. During this time they feed on materials dislodged from the bottom. Lures that imitate insect larvae are most successful.
Later in the season, when streams are clear, flies are better. The best fly fishing is when a fisherman can match a local insect hatch.
Fishing and Bears Consider yourself lucky to see a black or grizzly bear. But remember...the wilderness is their home. Please be a well-mannered guest. Bears are usually shy; however, make no attempt to approach or startle them. They have been known to attack without warning. When hiking make some noise to alert them of your presence. Never offer food to bears and never get between a sow and cub. As bears have an excellent sense of smell, it is important to avoid the use of odorous food. Backcountry camping regulations require that food, cooking utensils, and food containers be suspended from the designated food hanging device at all times, except mealtimes. If needed, when not in a designated campground, suspend food and cooking utensils at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any tree trunk. In the absence of trees, store food and cooking gear in approved bear resistant food containers. Never leave food unattended.
Report all bear sightings to a ranger.