Intake Fishing Access Site, located 15 miles north of Glendive on the Yellowstone River at the Intake Diversion Dam, is the premier spot in Montana, perhaps the nation, for catching the unique paddlefish, leading to Glendive's claim as "Paddlefish Capital of the World." During the spring runoff each year, hordes of paddlefish migrate out of the Missouri River and up the Yellowstone River where they gather below the diversion dam to spawn.
Unique to Glendive and the Intake site is the Yellowstone Caviar Program. The program, run by the Glendive Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, uses the sale of paddlefish caviar—considered a high-quality caviar by connoisseurs—to fund a grant program available to Eastern Montana communities. During the paddlefish season, the program maintains a fish cleaning station at Intake which provides free cleaning and processing of all harvested paddlefish in exchange for the roe. They also maintain a concession stand at the site during the paddlefish season.
Camping is available at Intake. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring. Potable water is available from mid-May through the end of September. Vault toilets are on site.
Rules and Regulations for Fishing Area
While open year-round, the big draw at Intake is the annual paddlefish season. The season runs each year from May 15 to June 30. Montana FWP maintains a "harvest quota" of 1,000 paddlefish per season and will shut down the harvest of any more fish once that quota is reached, though catch-and-release fishing is still allowed (only at Intake) until the season's official close. During the season, there are also "harvest days" and catch-and-release only days. Harvest days at Intake are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. To fish for paddlefish, a person must have a valid Montana fishing license and a special paddlefish tag (paddlefish tags are $6.50 for Montana residents, $15 for non-residents). Visit fwp.mt.gov for more information on standard fishing license costs.
Other regulation notes:
Vehicle length - Maximum trailer length is 20 feet
Stay limit - Maximum stay of seven days
FAS camping with valid fishing license - $12.00
FAS camping without valid fishing license - $18.00
Hints and Tips for Fishing this Area
Paddlefishing at Intake is done from the bank below the diversion dam. It can get crowded along the banks at the height of the season, so it's best to get there early on harvest days to stake out a spot.
Fishing for paddlefish is a unique challenge because as filter feeders, they cannot be caught with standard fishing tackle. They must be "snagged" with a special rod-and-reel rig, which are available for purchase in several Glendive stores (cost from $25-50). Fishing for paddlefish requires patience, endurance and, if you happen to snag one, strength. Paddlefish taken at Intake usually weigh about 100 pounds, and the fish can grow up to 150 pounds or more.
Best Access and Parking Areas
Intake Fishing Access Site is accessed from Montana Highway 16. There is a large gravel parking area on site.
While those with disabilities should be able to move around some of the site, it is not specifically handicap accessible.
Pet Friendly Notes