Volunteer Flyfishing Program-How You Can Actively Participate!

A man casts his fishing rod into a river.

Yellowstone National Park Fly Fishing Volunteer Coordinator Tim Bywater.

Although Yellowstone’s fisheries staff have directed much of their efforts at emerging crises such as lake trout removal and whirling disease in recent years, there are a multitude of other fisheries issues and questions that need attention. There are an estimated 2,650 miles of streams and 150 lakes with surface waters covering 5% of Yellowstone’s 2.2 million total acres. Because NPS staff cannot address all of the park’s aquatic issues, a program was established wherein flyfishing volunteers use catch-and-release angling as a capture technique for gathering biological information on fish populations throughout the park. Conducted each year since 2002, the Volunteer Flyfishing Program has resulted in an immense amount of information that would otherwise have not been available to park managers.

Two people fishing in a park stream.

Fly Fishing Volunteers fishing the upper Gibbon River.

Photo courtesty of Bill Voigt

Projects have included determination of the range of hybridized Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the Lamar River, its major tributaries, and several other park waters; and documentation of the status and movement patterns of Arctic grayling in the Gibbon River system. Under this incredibly successful program, volunteer anglers from across the U.S. and elsewhere have traveled to the park to participate as an active component of the Yellowstone’s Fisheries program. Volunteers experienced many fisheries issues first-hand, and the biological data collected greatly contribute to understanding of the park’s fisheries.

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