Montana Administrative Register Notice 12-535 No. 21   11/06/2020    
Prev Next




In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I pertaining to the use of remote-controlled devices and drones while fishing








TO: All Concerned Persons


            1. On December 1, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., the Fish and Wildlife Commission (commission) will hold a telephonic public hearing via ZOOM meeting platform to consider the proposed adoption of the above-stated rule.  Because there currently exists a state of emergency in Montana due to the public health crisis by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, there will be no in-person hearing.  Interested parties may access the remote conferencing in the following way:


(a) Dial by telephone, 1-646-558-8656

Meeting ID: 956 6313 6821

Password: 198904


            The hearing will begin with a brief introduction by staff to explain the use of the telephonic platform.  All participants will be muted except when it is their time to speak. 


2. The commission will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the department no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 20, 2020, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Kaedy Gangstad, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; telephone (406) 444-4594; or e-mail kgangstad@mt.gov.


3. The rule as proposed to be adopted provides as follows:


NEW RULE I UNLAWFUL USE OF REMOTE-CONTROLLED DEVICES WHILE FISHING (1) The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and all other remote-controlled devices while fishing is prohibited.  The prohibition on these devices includes, but is not limited to, the following:

            (a) carrying a hook or bait to any location on water;

            (b) trolling or otherwise carrying a hook or bait through water;

            (c) scouting the location of fish for the purposes of fishing; and

            (d) hooking and/or landing a fish.


AUTH: 87-1-301, MCA

IMP: 87-1-301, MCA


REASON: The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (department) has increasingly been asked the question of whether it is permissible to use an RC boat, drone, or other remote-controlled device to fish.  Section 87-6-501, MCA, does not specifically address remote-controlled devices or drones, and gives the commission discretion to allow or disallow this activity.  Possible uses of remote-controlled devices and drones while fishing include transporting bait and hooks long distances beyond where anglers can physically cast, transporting bait and hooks to areas that normally are unable to be accessed such as closed areas near dams, scouting large areas above water quickly for fish and filming fish in real time, dropping hooks or bait with exceptional accuracy, and landing fish.  This proposed rule would represent a proactive approach in regulating this activity and would make it clear that the use of remote-controlled devices for the purposes of fishing is prohibited.  


            4. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally at the hearing or in writing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Phil Kilbreath, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mail pkilbreath@mt.gov, and must be received no later than December 4, 2020.


5. Kaedy Gangstad or another hearing officer appointed by the department has been designated to preside over and conduct the hearing.


6. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notice of rulemaking actions proposed by the department or commission. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name and mailing address of the person to receive the notice and specifies the subject or subjects about which the person wishes to receive notice. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to: Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Legal Unit, P.O. Box 200701, 1420 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or may be emailed to kgangstad@mt.gov.


7. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.


8. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the adoption of the above-referenced rule will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.



/s/ Aimee Hawkaluk                                   /s/ Shane Colton

Aimee Hawkaluk                                        Shane Colton

Rule Reviewer                                            Chair

                                                                    Fish and Wildlife Commission


Certified to the Secretary of State October 27, 2020.

Home  |   Search  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Help  |   Disclaimer  |   Privacy & Security