Friday, July 14, 2017

Don't fear Montana's mussel decontamination stations

More ramps open to all boaters on Canyon Ferry
Photo courtesy of MTFWP at

I went up to Canyon Ferry Reservoir yesterday to chase some mirror carp, cool off, and also check out the mandatory mussel decontamination stations.  I had been reluctant to launch the boat on Canyon Ferry because I didn't know what the decontamination at the end of the day would entail. At first, the idea of power washing my newly refinished wooden boat with hot water made me a little panicky.

To be clear, decontamination stations are at the boat launches on Cayon Ferry and Tibor Reservoirs (water bodies with detected zebra/quagga mussels).  There are boat checkpoints all over the state that have the ability to decontaminate a vessel but these decontamination stations are a bit more comprehensive.  My plan was to fish all day and then take a few pictures or a video of the decontamination process to share with folks that may be apprehensive or just curious.

So why then, is there a picture from and not a bunch from me?  It's because it went so fast that I didn't even have a chance to ask if it was ok to film!!

Here's why it went so fast.  At the launch, while taking my boat out, I made sure to:

  • Drain the boat 
  • Removed all my flooring mats  
  • I left the oars in place and my trolling motor attached.  
  • I took out all my fishing stuff and pulled the gear out of my storage compartments
  • I used my Montana FWP sponge (free at checkpoints) to quickly wipe up any water that did not drain
I then drove up to the decontamination station and turned off the truck to ready myself for a hot wash and some picture taking.  By the time I got out of the truck and walked over to talk to the inspector that was filling out the inspection form he said, "ok, you're good to go!"  In that time, 2 other inspectors had checked the entire boat (it's a drift boat so, not much to inspect) and I passed inspection. It was just as fast as the checkpoints and because I made sure to show up with a totally dry boat, it honestly took about 3 minutes and I didn't have to be decontaminated.  I essentially did it myself when I dried the boat at the launch.

So there you have it.  Go to Canyon Ferry and have fun.  It's no big deal.  There is a mandatory engine flush for larger gas powered boats which will take a couple more minutes, but still.