Outdoors blog

Motorized boating rules enacted for Missoula-area rivers


After 100 years the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers flow without being blocked by the Milltown Dam on Friday in Milltown, Mont. The rivers now flow where the dam powerhouse once stood. Associated Press
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
After 100 years the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers flow without being blocked by the Milltown Dam on Friday in Milltown, Mont. The rivers now flow where the dam powerhouse once stood. Associated Press (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

BOATING - New restrictions on motorized boating went into effect last weekend on Missoula area rivers, including parts of the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot.

On the Clark Fork, motorized travel is prohibited year-round through Missoula, from the old Milltown Reservoir area to just above the confluence with the Bitterroot on the western edge of town.

The previously unrestricted stretch of river from Kelly Island Fishing Access Site (FAS) to Harper’s Bridge FAS has the following regulations:

  • Motorized travel, except personal water craft (PWC), is allowed only from May 1-June 15.
  • 20 horsepower travel is allowed Oct .1-Jan. 31.
  • Float-only fishing is allowed the rest of the year.

Harper’s Bridge to St. John’s FAS, also previously unrestricted, is now open to motorized watercraft (except PWC) from Oct. 1-June 15 and to 20 hp or less June 16-Sept. 30. The regulations remain the same as they have been below St. John’s.
 

On the Bitterroot, the new regulations prohibit the spring unrestricted motorized travel that once was allowed below Florence Bridge. Under the new regulations, only 20 horsepower or less travel is allowed from Oct. 1-Jan. 31 for the entire river, and the rest of the year is float only.

On the Blackfoot, the former Milltown Reservoir area is now closed to motorized watercraft.
 

 This is just a summary of the recent changes. Boaters should review the new regulations and associated map on the FWP website.

The new regulations were proposed to address public safety concerns, social conflicts and a few outdated regulations pertaining to the Milltown area, officials said.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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