The following is an update on a story we covered recently regarding the proposed use of drones to fish in Montana.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing via a telephonic Zoom platform on Tuesday, December 1, at 10:00 a.m., to consider a new rule pertaining to banning the use of remote-controlled devices and drones while fishing.

Fish, Wildlife & Parks has increasingly been asked the question of whether it is permissible to use a remote-controlled boat, drone, or other remote-controlled device to fish. Currently, Montana law does not specifically address remote-controlled devices or drones, and gives the commission discretion to allow or prohibit 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.

The proposed rules seek to clarify the regulation of this activity and would make it clear that the use of remote-controlled devices for the purposes of fishing is prohibited. If you'd like to review the proposal and submit written comments, you can that here.

Also, public comment will be taken during the public hearing. Written data, views or arguments may also be submitted to: Phil Kilbreath, FWP Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mailed to pkilbreath@mt.gov. Comments must be received no later than Dec. 4, 2020.

And to participate in the telephonic public hearing, call 1-646-558-8656, enter the meeting number: 956 6313 6821, followed by the password: 198904.