Commission to hold hearing on the use of drones while fishing

HELENA – The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing via a telephonic Zoom platform on Dec. 1, at 10 a.m., to consider a proposed rule banning the use of remote-controlled devices and drones while fishing.

Fish, Wildlife & Parks has increasingly been asked if 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 rule represents a proactive approach to clarify what drone technology and applications are or are not allowed for fishing. To view the proposal notice and submit written comments online please visit

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 Comments must be received no later than Dec. 4, 2020.

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