2017 Regulations for Watercraft on the Flathead Indian Reservation

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have begun extensive public education and rulemaking to prevent the spread of invasive Quagga and Zebra mussels into the Flathead Basin. Invasive Mussels were detected in Montana in 2016.

  • No use of motorized watercraft or boat trailers on any Reservation water, with the exception of Flathead Lake and the Lower Flathead River below SKQ dam.

  • Pablo Reservoir and Ninepipe Reservoir are closed to all watercraft.

  • Once a watercraft has been inspected it will not be required to have another inspection this season unless that watercraft is used in another water body outside of the Flathead Basin.  All watercraft includes canoes, kayaks, rafts, paddleboards, personal flotation devices and any equipment that is put into the water.

  • Once a watercraft has been inspected, it will not be required to have another inspection this season unless that watercraft is used on another waterbody outside of the Flathead Basin.  Documentation of the inspection will be provided to the watercraft owner to verify that an inspection has occurred.

  • Watercraft used only in Flathead Lake and are non-transportable or launched only by rail or shore stations, can apply for a Flathead Lake Local Boat Certificate to fulfill the need for inspection prior to launching in Flathead Lake.  For more information about Local Boat Certification contact the Natural Resources Department.

  • Boaters are required to stop at all watercraft inspection stations.

  • Locals and visitors frequenting reservation waters are encouraged to Clean, Drain, Dry all equipment including anchors, ropes, waders and even pets that enter waters of the Reservation.

  • A watercraft check station is currently in operation and is located on the Salish Kootenai College campus off Highway 93 next to the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center.  The hours of operation are from 8 am until 8 pm. On April 15th the watercraft check station will move from the Pablo site to Ravalli at Highway 93 next the highway maintenance shop.  Natural Resources Department staff offer watercraft inspection by appointment.


For more information on regulations for watercraft or to schedule watercraft inspection contact Tom McDonald, Georgia Smies or Germaine White, Natural Resources Department, at 675-2700.