What comes to mind when you think about fishing? Patience, relaxation, challenge, and memories are a few words often associated with fishing. You will find all that and a sense of stewardship, conservation, and preservation on this page. We want you to have an enjoyable time during your visit, and for those who come after you to fish. Take some time to explore, learn what the park has to offer and learn your responsibilities before casting a line or flicking a fly into the water.
Dinosaur National Monument allows fishing as a means of providing for public enjoyment, and customary and traditional use, and regulates fishing to ensure that it is managed in a manner that avoids unacceptable impacts to park resources.
For more information on how fishing regulations work in national parks, go to the NPS Fish and Fishing website.
Visitors fishing within Dinosaur National Monument must follow the fishing license requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State, within whose exterior boundaries a park area or portion thereof is located.
Except as provided below, fishing shall be in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State, within whose exterior boundaries a park area or portion thereof is located (36CFR2.3).
For Colorado State fishing regulations go to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
For Utah State fishing regulations go to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website.
The fishing regulations apply to all “finfish” found in the park. Other taxa, including amphibians, mollusks and crustaceans (e.g. waterdogs, crayfish) are not considered “fish” for the purpose of NPS fishing regulations and addressed by NPS regulations governing “wild life” (36CFR2.2).
These fishing regulations apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within the park that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.
The following are prohibited:
Fishing is permitted, subject to all state regulations and licenses of the state in which the person is fishing.
Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters
The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.
Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.
Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.
To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.
Aquatic Invasive Species
Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.
Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.
For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference. To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit the Fish & Fishing website.
Endangered Fish Species
Anglers are reminded that there are four federaly listed threatened or endangered species of fish found in rivers in the monument: Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, humpback chub, and bonytail. These fish should be immediately released with as little harm possible if caught. More information on these fish can be found at the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program site.
Guide to Important Fish Species
Fishing Throughout the National Park Service
We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.
Last updated: March 19, 2023