An early spring in most of Montana has people getting a jump on boat transports.

Whether they are passing through or enroute to an in-state destination, those transporting watercraft are finding some Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspection stations that have fortunately started to gear up for the season. And the first folks to raise their hands and cry "foul" were the inspectors in Anaconda.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports that the state's first mussel-fouled watercraft of the year was intercepted at the Anaconda watercraft inspection this week. It was a  pontoon boat that had been recently purchased and previously used in North Dakota. The new owner was traveling along Interstate 90, heading west toward Ephrata, Washington.


Montana FWP says that mussels were found along the hull, transom and gimbal areas of the pontoon. Inspectors performed a full decontamination at the inspection station, and the boat was locked to the trailer. The new owner was uncertain of the boat's recent launch history, but believed it had not been in the water since last summer.

fishing in Montana
Image courtesy of MT FWP


Remember, ALL watercraft, motorized and non-motorized, must be inspected. Watercraft must be drained of all water before transporting.

Watercraft inspection stations are Montana’s first line of defense to prevent the movement of aquatic invasive species, which can have devastating impacts on Montana's waters. And just because you stop at one does NOT mean you can skip the next one. Boaters must stop at all watercraft inspections stations they encounter.

Helpful tips, species identification, a summary of state laws and rules and lots more can be found on FWP's AIS website page here.

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