Yellowstone: Afternoon Fishing Prohibited in Rivers, Streams
Written by Andrew-Rossi on July 26, 2021
An unseasonably warm summer is forcing changes in Yellowstone National Park, as the survival of fish is prioritized over people’s pleasure in the park’s waters.
With Summer 2021 continuing to be hot and dry, wildlife across Wyoming are struggling to stay cool. Yellowstone National Park is no exception, but now persistent conditions require new rules in the park’s rivers and streams.
Effective Saturday, July 24, Yellowstone’s rivers and streams will close to fishing in the afternoon and evening. Fishing will be prohibited from 2 p.m. until sunrise the following day.
Yellowstone officials say these protections are in the best interest of native fish populations. The afternoon closure will remain in effect “until further notice.”
Anglers are still able to fish every day from sunrise to 2 p.m. Also, Yellowstone Lake and other lakes in the park are still open to fishing from sunrise to sunset, as specified in the Yellowstone Fishing Regulations booklet.
The afternoon closures of rivers and streams are due to high temperatures and “unprecedented” low stream flows.
In mid-July, water temperatures in Yellowstone were recorded exceeding 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius.) Simultaneously, flows on many rivers are approaching historic lows.
These conditions are incredibly stressful and can be fatal to fish. This closure will protect the park’s native and wild trout fisheries.
The ongoing effort to restore native fish populations in Yellowstone has seen extraordinary success. After two decades and $20 million, millions of non-native lake trout have been removed from Yellowstone Lake, encouraging a rise in the number of cutthroat trout.
High temperatures are a unique threat to these fish populations. Unfortunately, the extended forecast for Yellowstone calls for continued hot and dry conditions with a slight chance of isolated afternoon thunderstorms. These conditions will not end the continued low stream flows and high water temperatures.
Yellowstone officials have an additional request for anglers: don’t play with your food.
“Please fish during the coolest times of day and land fish quickly–do not play hooked trout to exhaustion. Gently handle fish in the water as much as possible and let them recover before release. Your cooperation will protect the park’s fisheries and may preclude the need to prohibit fishing at all times of the day on some rivers and streams if conditions worsen.”
If the summer’s heat and dryness worsen moving into August, complete closure of certain waterways is a distinct possibility. Once again, it is beholden on Yellowstone visitors to act responsibly while exploring the park.