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Upper Missouri Paddlefish Applications Due March 27, Bonus Points Available

Paddlefish anglers planning to harvest a fish in the Upper Missouri River (From Fort Peck Dam to Fort Benton) will need to apply for an Upper Missouri River Paddlefish Tag. Applications for this lottery drawing can be made online at fwp.mt.gov or by stopping by any regional or area FWP offices. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 27.

New for this year, applicants will have an opportunity to purchase a bonus point for their paddlefish application, similar to drawings for big game. Applicants may purchase one bonus point per year, either at the time of application or between July1 and Sept. 30 of the current year. The bonus point can be used in future years to place the applicants name in the drawing additional times to increase their odds of drawing a tag. The number of additional chances is calculated by squaring the base bonus point.

“We wanted this bonus point opportunity for those folks who put in for the Upper Missouri paddlefish tag year after year and really want a tag, but may not have the best luck,” said region 6 fisheries manager Steve Dalbey. “This should level the playing field so everyone can get one of these special tags every few years.”

For 2020, a total of 1,000 tags will be available for the drawing. Successful applicants may harvest a fish anytime during the season, from May 1 through June 15. Those anglers not successful in drawing a harvest tag will be issued a “snag and release” license for the Upper Missouri. Anglers, both resident and nonresident, are required to purchase a fishing and conservation license prior to submitting their applications. Party applications (up to five anglers) are available and encouraged. Notification of results should be available by April 10.

Additionally, anglers that did not participate in the tag drawing that want to participate in the snag and release fishery can still purchase an Upper Missouri River Paddlefish Snag and Release License at any FWP office starting April 10.

As in the past, anglers may select only one area to fish for paddlefish in Montana: Upper Missouri River (White Harvest Tag-1000 tags available through the drawing), Yellowstone River and Missouri River downstream of Fort Peck Dam (Yellow Harvest Tag-1000 fish quota), and the Fort Peck Dredge Cut archery-only season (Blue Harvest Tag).

Remember that all harvested paddlefish must be immediately tagged and reported within 48 hours. Reporting options include: on-site where fish were harvested (at check points like Intake Fishing Access Site or roving creel staff), online at myfwp. mt.gov, or on the phone hotline 877-FWP-WILD or 406-444-0356.

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