Montana’s Central and Eastern fishing districts enjoy year-round access to most rivers and streams, which has raised concerns for some ranchers.

With spring also comes calving, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is reminding anglers on small streams in the Central and Eastern districts to be aware of seasonal livestock operations. Calving on private bottomlands can be sensitive to human disturbance.

“This is a great time of year to get out and fish small streams around the state,” said Greg Lemon, spokesman for FWP. “But a little awareness of your surroundings can go a long way. If cattle are calving in stream bottoms please be sensitive and don’t disturb them.”

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The Western Fishing District opens for the general fishing season on May 18.

Under the Montana Stream Access Law the public may use rivers and streams for recreational purposes up to the ordinary high-water marks. Although the law gives recreationists the right to use rivers and streams for water-related recreation, it does not give them the right to enter private lands bordering those streams or to cross private lands to gain access to streams without landowner permission. Complete rules are available at any FWP office.

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