Angling in Yellowstone National Park

Angling in Yellowstone National Park is a major reason many visitors come to the park each year and since it was created in 1872, the park has drawn anglers from around the world to fish its waters. In 2006, over 50,000 park fishing permits were issued to visitors. The park contains hundreds of miles of accessible, high-quality trout rivers containing wild trout populations—over 200 creeks, streams and rivers are fishable. There are 45 fishable lakes and several large lakes are easily accessible to visitors. Additionally, the park's remote sections provide anglers ample opportunity to visit rivers, streams, creeks and lakes that receive little angling pressure. With the exception of one specially designated drainage, all the park's waters are restricted to artificial lures and fly fishing. The Madison, Firehole and a section of the Gibbon rivers are restricted to fly fishing only.

Anglers visiting the park to fish will encounter cutthroat, rainbow, brown, brook and lake trout, mountain whitefish and arctic grayling. The park's fishing season runs from the Saturday in May associated with Memorial Day to the first Sunday in November each year. The National Park Service regulates angling in the park and classifies different fish available to the angler as either Native or Non-Native species. Any native species—cutthroat trout, grayling and whitefish—caught must be immediately released unharmed. Non-natives—rainbow, brown, brook and lake trout have different bag limits depending on the waters fished. Some non-natives are also subject to catch and release regulations and all lake trout caught in Yellowstone Lake or river must be killed. All hooks used in the park must be barbless or have their barbs pinched down. Many specific waters or sections of waters are closed either permanently for either safety reasons, wildlife management or to protect thermal features. The National Park Service may also enact emergency closures and restrictions because of low water, high temperatures or fires.

Anglers should always be familiar with the most current regulations, restrictions and closures. A Yellowstone National Park fishing permit is required to fish in the park. State licenses are not required.

Angling supplies are available in the park's concession stores and in the towns associated with major entrances to the park—West Yellowstone, Montana; Gardiner, Montana; Jackson, Wyoming; Cody, Wyoming and Cooke City, Montana

Read more about Angling In Yellowstone National Park:  History, Fly Fishing in Yellowstone, Major Rivers, Major Lakes, Minor Streams, Creeks and Lakes, Regulations

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