Explanation of Fishing Regulations

Fishing in your national parks is managed and regulated by the National Park Service and State and Federal partners to conserve fish while providing fishing opportunities. Regulations within parks allow for reasonable use and enjoyment of fish resources without affecting the health of fish populations. Sport-fishing regulations are generally established in consultation with the state(s) where the park is located.

Areas inside park boundaries may be closed to fishing to protect spawning and nursery areas, threatened and endangered fish species, or other resources that are at risk due to habitat loss or over-fishing.

Fishing Regulations

Fishing in national parks is conducted in accordance with the NPS Service-wide general fishing regulations, published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 36 CFR §2.3. State regulations, of the state within whose exterior boundaries a park area, or portion thereof is located, are adopted as federal regulations under §2.3 (a), as long as they do not conflict with the NPS general regulations. When there is a conflict between an adopted state regulation and the general federal regulations, the federal regulation applies. These federal regulations apply at all times in all parks.

For many parks, these regulations are the only ones that an angler needs to know. However, they may be modified to meet park-specific management goals or when the NPS general fishing regulations and state regulations, by themselves, are inadequate to protect park fish resources consistent with the NPS conservation mission. These permanent Special Park Regulations can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 36 CFR §7 and 36 CFR §13.

Sometimes, in order to protect important resources, it is necessary for a park to adopt temporary or emergency fishing regulations. These are published in the Superintendent’s Compendium; the annual compilation of designations, closures, permit requirements, and other restrictions made by the Superintendent, in addition to what is contained in the NPS General Fishing Regulations (36 CFR §2.3) and Park Special Regulations (36 CFR §7 and §13).

By understanding and following applicable fishing regulations, you can be an important steward of the resource. If you have any questions about which regulations are in effect in your park, ask the park directly.

Last updated: February 13, 2018

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