Fishing in and Around Glacier Park

If you’re planning a trip to Glacier Park, you’re probably wondering about a favorite local activity: fishing. And for a good reason. Northwestern Montana has some of the best fly fishing in the country, and fishing in GNP is too good to miss.

Here’s what you need to know about fishing in or around Glacier Park.

Do I Need a Fishing License to Fish Inside Glacier National Park? 

No, you don’t! In that way, fishing inside the park is unique. While you need a fishing license to enjoy most of the other rivers and lakes in Montana, Glacier National Park is an exception. According to the National Parks Service

“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.”

While you don’t need a license to fish in the park, boundary waters are different. If you decide to fish the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, for example, you will need a license. If you’re planning to fish any of the boundary waters of the park, pick up your fishing license at Sportsman Ski Haus in Whitefish or Kalispell, or any of our locally-owned fly shops. 

Fishing Regulations within the Park

Additionally, there are a few regulations to know about, which apply to all waters within the park. These include the following:

  • Fishing for bull trout is prohibited. Any bull trout caught accidentally must be released.
  • Any rod or line used to fish must be handheld.
  • Anglers cannot use fish or fish parts as lures, including non-preserved fish eggs of any species.
  • You cannot collect any bait, including worms and insects, within the park’s boundaries.
  • Chumming the waters to attract fish is illegal. 
  • Fishing with nets, traps, drugs, explosives, or seines is illegal.
  • Snagging fish in park waters is illegal.
  • Anglers must use artificial flies or lures with a single hook only.
  • Any fishing on Lower McDonald Creek must be catch-and-release. 

Anglers should also know that the park prohibits felt-soled wading boots. This measure seeks to protect Glacier’s streams from the introduction of aquatic invasive species. 

What Kind of Fish are in the Rivers Around Glacier National Park?

While Glacier National Park used to stock fish in park waters to promote fishing, they ended the practice in recent years. Today, you’ll find native fish in Glacier’s waters. Species include cutthroat trout, bull trout, lake trout, and brook trout. If you’d like additional help identifying local fish species, stop at the visitor center or a ranger station to pick up a Fish in Glacier brochure.

Should You Book Guided Fishing Tours?

While the park offers some of the best fishing in the world, it can be tough to navigate it on your own. That’s why so many visitors choose to book guided fishing tours with Great Northern Resort. 

Our skilled guides fish these rivers all season long. They know exactly where to find the biggest fish, and what to do to catch them. We provide equipment, boats, and expert know-how so that you can make the most of your GNP fishing experience. 

When your day of fishing is over, we also offer a comfortable lodge and resort, perfect for relaxing and kicking your feet up. Extend your trip with a few days of whitewater rafting, and some delicious meals at the Red Caboose Cafe. We’re the one-stop-shop for all your Montana fun. 

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