The primary purpose of Glacier National Park is to preserve natural ecosystems for their aesthetic, educational, cultural, and scientific values. Through the management of fish and aquatic environments, the park hopes to encourage an appreciation for the preservation of native fishes in natural and mostly undisturbed aquatic habitats.
Fishing is permitted when consistent with preservation or restoration of natural aquatic environments. To fulfill these objectives, certain regulations, guidelines, and courtesies must be followed.
Season and Possession Limits
Catch and Release Fishing
Daily catch and possession limits will not exceed five fish, including no more than: two cutthroat trout (see ‘catch and release fishing’ above), two burbot (ling), one northern pike, two mountain whitefish, five lake whitefish, five kokanee salmon, five grayling, five rainbow trout, and five lake trout.
No bull trout may be retained and any caught incidentally must be immediately released.Fish Consumption Advisory: If you plan on keeping fish to eat, please check the fish consumption guidelines.
Equipment and Bait
The use of all lead associated with fishing is prohibited within Glacier National Park. This includes weights, lures, jigs, line, etc. The only exception is a fisherman who is using a "down-rigger" may use cannon ball lead weights of 2 pounds or larger on the down-rigger cable.
Alternatives to lead are nontoxic materials such as brass, steel, bismuth, and tungsten, available at major sporting goods stores.
Don't assume because a fish is small, it can't be a bull trout. Juvenile bull trout rear in small streams and can be confused with brook trout. If you don't know, LET IT GO.
Inquire at visitor centers or ranger stations for a Fish in Glacier brochure to help with identification. Information on fishing in Glacier National Park is available at park bookstores or by calling the Glacier National Park Conservancy at 406-888-5756. Request the publication Fishing Glacier National Park ($12.95).
When cleaning fish, use garbage cans where available for entrail disposal.
The skin must remain attached to any fish harvested while in the park for staff identification purposes.
Report all bear sightings to a ranger.
Stocking and Native Fish
The National Park Service is currently engaged in fisheries research to assess the status of native fish in the park and to develop programs to protect and enhance native fish populations. Ensuring the future survival of Glacier National Park's unique native fishes for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations is a key mandate of the National Park Service.
A concern we must all address is the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species (AIS). These are non-native species that can harm native aquatic ecosystems as well as negatively impact visitor use and enjoyment of park waterways. AIS such as lake trout have been extremely detrimental to native bull trout populations, replacing them as the top aquatic predator in the many of the large lakes on the west side of Glacier. AIS can come in many other forms including other animals such as zebra and quagga mussels, plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil, or pathogens such as whirling disease. These species can hitch a ride on boats, trailers, and float tubes, as well as on waders and wading boots. AIS have devastating impacts on native aquatic ecosystems.
Please thoroughly clean, drain, and dry all of your boating, wading, and fishing equipment before coming to the park. A free launch permit is required to launch all motorized/trailered boats in Glacier National Park. In order to qualify for the permit, all such boats must be inspected for AIS by NPS staff. Hand-propelled watercraft such as rafts, kayaks, and canoes need a self-certification form (available at ranger stations, visitor centers, backcountry permit offices, and at many boat launches). The signed form should be kept on the boaters person or in the vessel. The free launch permits are available during normal business hours at backcountry permit stations, visitor centers, and the park headquarters.
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