With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon and the promise of some warmer weather, fishing in Montana will start to flourish.

But here's the "catch." Even if you already bought your Montana fishing license, a new law that went into effect May 19 requires you to buy an additional pass.

A program enacted by the Montana State Legislature is designed to raise significant funding for Montana's fight against aquatic invasive species. The Aquatic Invasive Species Pass will be required for all anglers, not just those with boats. The cost is $2 for residents and $15 for nonresidents.

As with any new legislation of this nature, there have been some growing pains in the first few days of its inception. The passes are supposed to be available at all FWP license providers (sporting good stores, bait and tackle shops, etc.). Sources tell us that hasn't always been the case so far. You can also go online to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks site and obtain one that way.

I'm not suggesting you blow it off, but my guess is game wardens will be rather lenient about enforcement and fines if you don't have one, at least for the first month or so. But. who knows? Better safe than sorry.

As most of you know, all this became necessary when aquatic invasive mussel larvae was found in water samples in some major Montana fisheries, including Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs. So, the governor is asking us to do our part to fund the fight at two bucks a pop.

Here's to a great Memorial Day weekend and good fishing!



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