Catch a Fish

 
 
 
Angler fishing on a lake
 
 

Yellowstone Fishing Regulations

Click the arrows on the right-hand side to expand each section below and learn more.

 
Two floy tags

Floy Tags

Park biologists are conducting a study to determine fish movement patterns and population sizes in Yellowstone Lake and several other park waters. Biologists have attached a Floy tag near the fish’s dorsal fin. The tags are typically orange or yellow in color and have a unique identification number.

If you catch a tagged cutthroat:

  1. Record the tag number (photo or written) and release the fish unharmed.
  2. Note the location the fish was caught.
  3. Call or text 406-404-4877 and report the tag number and location of catch.
  4. If the fish accidentally died, please include that detail in your report.
 


Volunteer to Help Manage Yellowstone Fisheries

The activities necessary to preserve and restore native fish varies by species and drainages across the park. In order to promote the preservation of native fish in Yellowstone, the park has designated the Native Trout Conservation Area for special management. Within that area, fishing regulations are structured so that recreational anglers help selectively remove nonnative species from the area without damaging the native fishery. In some areas, anglers' harvests will help to save the native fish and the natural ecosystems they support.

Anglers have contributed to the fisheries database by reporting their catch. This information helps monitor the status of fisheries throughout the park. Since 1979, anglers have been asked to keep records on fishing trips - stream or lake visited, time spent fishing, fish species caught, lengths of fish - to help park managers understand fisheries status and track changes in specific populations. Decisions about how best to achieve native fish preservations and recovery goals must be based in sound sceintific research and consistent with the mission of the National Park Service.

During the 2024 Fishing Season, Yellowstone National Park will not be collecting angler surveys. Please check back next year for a national creel survey program that will benefit the park.

Angler groups have also lent support to management actions, such as closing the Fishing Bridge to fishing in the early 1970s. Yellowstone cutthroat trout support a $36 million annual sport fishery to the local economy. Also, money generated from fishing licenses helps fund research on aquatic systems and restoration projects.

Decisions about how best to achieve native fish preservation and recovery goals must be based in sound scientific research and be consistent with the mission of the National Park Service. In past years, a team of fishing volunteers assisted the fisheries program with several other projects. These projects included nonnative species removal, species composition, fish barrier evaluation, and injury and mortality rates of barbed and barbless hooks. Their extensive help collecting data and biological samples allows park biologists to learn about many more areas than park staff would have time to access.

Volunteer Fly-fishing Program

Again this year, a team of fishing volunteers assisted the fisheries program with several other projects in the volunteer fly-fishing program. Sponsored by Yellowstone Forever, projects include nonnative species removal, species composition, fish barrier evaluation, and injury and mortality rates of barbed and barbless hooks. The volunteer cadre's extensive help collecting data and biological samples allows park biologists to learn about many more areas than park staff would have time to access.

 

Fishing Areas & Regions

 
Map of Yellowstone showing the four fishing regions
 
Map of the northwest part of Yellowstone
Fish in Yellowstone's Northwest

Review specific regulations to fishing in the northwest region of Yellowstone.

Map of the northeast part of Yellowstone
Fish in Yellowstone's Northeast

Review specific regulations to fishing in the northeast region of Yellowstone.

Map of the southwest part of Yellowstone
Fish in Yellowstone's Southwest

Review specific regulations to fishing in the southwest region of Yellowstone.

Map of the southeast part of Yellowstone
Fish in Yellowstone's Southeast

Review specific regulations to fishing in the southeast region of Yellowstone.

 

Fish Identification

The fishing map within the fishing regulations indicates known locations of fish species within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. It also includes descriptions and identification tips for both native and nonnative sportfish. In Yellowstone, anglers are required to return all native fish back to the water immediately, including arctic grayling, cutthroat trout, and mountain whitefish.

Harvest of non-native trout is allowed, and in some cases required, in many park waters. Please check the fishing regulations for details. It is the angler's responsibility to be able to distinguish one fish species from another, to ensure that cutthroat trout and other native species are not harmed!

 
Westslope cutthroat trout Westslope cutthroat trout

Left image
Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Native)
Credit: (© Joe Tomelleri)

Right image
Rainbow Trout (nonnative)
Credit: (© Joe Tomelleri)

Take a look at this comparison to see the differences between westslope cutthroat trout (native fish) and rainbow trout (nonnative fish). Look for: the number of spots on head, the presence of slash on lower jaw, side markings, and color on fin edges.

 
Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
Duration:
5 minutes, 5 seconds

Yellowstone's fishing regulations vary depending on the species, so fishermen should know how to easily tell them apart. Duration: 5 minutes

 

Last updated: July 16, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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