Some Tips for Fishing Yellowstone National Park

Hikers and bears share the DeLacy Creek Path | photograph by Rachel Andona

At the beginning, it’s your accountability as an angler to know and observe the fishing laws put forth by the Nationwide Park Service. You’ll want a Yellowstone-specific fishing license, which—together with a replica of essentially the most up-to-date laws—is on the market at most fly retailers in gateway communities like West Yellowstone, Gardner, Jackson and Cody. Pay shut consideration to opening dates, significantly in native cutthroat nation—cutthroats spawn within the spring, and the Nationwide Park Service retains many cutthroat fisheries closed, typically into July and August, to guard spawning cutthroats.

Additionally of observe, as of 2018, felt-soled wading boots are now not permitted within the park. There are worries that the felt can serve to unfold aquatic invasive species, like whirling illness and New Zealand mud snails (each of which, sadly, are already present in some park waters). Keep in mind to concentrate to updates over the course of the summer time—in sizzling summers, lots of Yellowstone’s rivers can be closed periodically to stop stress to wild trout when rivers get too heat for his or her liking. Usually, when rivers attain seventy levels, trout fishing is ceased. Water hotter than that may be lethal to trout, significantly in the event that they’re confused by being caught and launched.

Second, keep in mind that you’ll be fishing on this planet’s first nationwide park. This place is particular to lots of people, and 4 million of us go to yearly. Be variety. Be thoughtful. Give youngsters the right-of-way, significantly on roadside streams the place entry is simple. Don’t strategy wildlife—typically, significantly in locations just like the Firehole or the Lamar Valleys, you will have to maneuver round a bit to keep away from getting too near bison.

Third, bear in mind this little bit of recommendation. The farther you get from the highway, the higher the fishing will get. Stretch your legs. Discover. Wander a path alongside a small, alpine stream or bushwhack by the willows when you possibly can. Most folk who go to Yellowstone don’t go away sight of their autos (regardless that, for essentially the most half, they’ll). Be a rogue—enterprise a bit into the backcountry. Chances are high, you’ll be by your self and revel in some actually good fishing for wild trout.

However be protected. Bear spray is all the time a good suggestion. Have it, and know how you can use it. Your possibilities of encountering a bear are slim, significantly in case you make noise (I all the time discover myself whistling the tune from the previous World Struggle II movie The Bridge on the River Kwai after I’m fishing in bear nation) and let bears you may not see know you’re round.

Fly Fishing in Yellowstone

A bull moose wanders the willows alongside the Snake River | photograph by Chris Hunt

In marshy areas with willows, be looking out for moose. Moms with calves will be testy—don’t get too shut. The identical applies, clearly, to bison, which inflict extra accidents on Yellowstone vacationers than another animal.

Pay attention to thermal options. Usually, extremely popular, scalding water is situated just below the crust close to sizzling swimming pools and sizzling springs. Watch the place you’re strolling. Carry some primary first-aid gear in case you can.

Earlier than you enterprise down a path, do some easy recon. Know the place you’re headed, what the path can be like from an elevation-gain or elevation-loss perspective. Understand how lengthy it’s going to take you to get the place you’re going (and the way lengthy it’ll take to get again). Carry water (or a minimum of water filtration tools) and a snack or two for prolonged hikes. It’s all the time a good suggestion to hold a small headlamp, simply in case you get delayed and also you’re compelled to stroll out after darkish.

I all the time prefer to plan my backcountry Yellowstone hikes by wanting on the space I’m visiting utilizing Google Earth or Google Maps. On the very least, contemplate holding a replica of De Lorme’s Atlas and Gazetteer for Wyoming in your automobile. The maps or satellite tv for pc photographs will provide you with sufficient knowledge to be largely aware of your vacation spot and the issue of the path you’re contemplating.

Lastly, let somebody know the place you’re headed. Should you don’t present up if you’re imagined to, they’ll a minimum of contact officers within the park who can come in search of you.

Yellowstone is a magical place, and lots of people adore it and go to typically. With all of the site visitors you’ll see on the roads, it could not look like wild nation. That’s an incorrect assumption. Getting off the crushed path comes with dangers—as I mentioned, most folk don’t do it. The few who do ought to all the time be ready for the issues that may go fallacious.

Merely put, be sensible. Don’t take pointless probabilities. Should you’re smart, you’ll get to expertise many nice journeys into the Yellowstone backcountry.


Excerpted with permission from Catching Yellowstone’s Wild Trout: A Fly-Fishing History and Guide (The Historical past Press, June 2019, all rights reserved).

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