With the advent of spring, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks have opened selected watercraft check stations throughout the state.

FWP Information and Education Manager Vivaca Crowser said there are different opening dates for each station.

“Each of them has a different opening date,” said Crowser. “We’ve had some that have been open for some time in the most high traffic areas, and we have another round that has opened in the last week or so, and all the stations will be open by the end of May.

Crowser said anyone hauling any kind of watercraft is required to stop for inspection, even if they have no plans to put in anywhere in the state.

“If you travel by a station and you have a watercraft, be it anything from a stand up paddleboard to a motorized boat, if you pass one of these stations and it’s open, you have to stop. We’ve already had one boat that was infested. There was one boat that had mussels on it and even though it had no plans to launch in Montana, it was being transported from the Great Lakes to Washington State, It was required to stop and it did, so the boat was cleaned and sent on its way.”

Crowser said inspection stations are well organized and the boat checks are free.

“Inspection stations really efficient,” she said. “They get you in and out of there very quickly and usually you’re only there for a couple of minutes. They’re well staffed and even when there are a lot of boats they move you right through, and there’s no fee.”

Crowser said once a waterway had been infested with invasive mussels, there is little chance it can be restored.