There’s a reason why angling in Yellowstone is so popular, in a recreational destination full of a variety of other activities. Despite the fishing season being so short, angling during the months of May through October is considered a great hobby, and many people visit Yellowstone exclusively for fishing.
In this article, we will go over some of the best fishing spots in Yellowstone National Park, including why you may want to visit and fish for yourself. We will also go over all of the different types of fish available, whether they are native or not native. Finally, we will briefly address some of the rules and regulations put in place by Yellowstone National Park so that you can fish safely. Let’s learn everything there is to know about angling and Yellowstone now!
|Yellowstone National Park||Angling Facts and Figures|
|Best Fishing Spots||Firehole River, Slough Creek, Yellowstone River, Joffe Lake, Soda Butte, Lamar River|
|Types of Fish Available||11 native species and 5 nonnative species, including Arctic grayling, cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, brook trout, smallmouth bass, lake trout, and rainbow trout|
|Best Time of Year to Fish||Summer and Fall seasons, May thru October|
|Possession Limits?||Yes, specific to where you choose to fish; make sure you have a permit to fish too!|
|Important Information||No lead-based products or felt shoes are allowed to prevent the spread of disease to Yellowstone’s delicate ecosystem.|
Angling in Yellowstone National Park: An Overview
One of the first things to note about angling in Yellowstone National Park is that you will need a permit. Anyone over the age of 16 needs a Yellowstone National Park fishing permit, which is completely separate from state-regulated permits and permissions. However, they are fairly affordable, with a 3-day permit costing roughly $40.
Yellowstone National Park Rangers highly recommend checking out their all encompassing fishing guide so that you can catch and release fish safely while in Yellowstone. Not only are there a number of rules depending on what type of fish you catch, there are also possession limits and certain species that should not be released back into the river that you catch them from.
This is largely due to the fact that non-native fish species have invaded Yellowstone National Park, threatening certain types of native fish species. This is why the catch-and-release policies founded by Yellowstone are so specific, so it is important to do your research before you decide to catch any type of fish! You should also brush up on what these particular fish look like so that you can safely and efficiently enjoy your angling experience.
Where Are the Best Spots to Fish in Yellowstone?
Curious to know where some of the best spots to fish in Yellowstone National Park are? Whether you have brought your own boat, plan on renting a boat, or simply want to fish from an approved dock, here are some of the best spots for you to fish in the months of May through October.
1. Firehole River
You can experience fly fishing on the Firehole River, but no other types of fishing. This river has hydrothermal water incorporation, likely leading to potential dangers for any tourists hoping to fish in any other way. Speaking of hot water, the trout fishing in this location is better in the fall months, particularly as it begins to get cold. The water is too warm for them during the summer months, and fishing tourism is at its peak during this time too!
2. Yellowstone River
Given the fact that the Yellowstone River is the largest river in the park, you can find plenty of places to fish. Trout and salmon often spawn in this location, though you may feel that the crowds make it difficult to fish, depending on the location. If you are willing to hike or hop on a horse and travel a bit off the beaten path, there are plenty of spots along the Yellowstone River for some excellent angling!
3. Soda Butte
One of the main reasons people choose to fish at Soda Butte is for the view. It offers you sweeping views of many Yellowstone meadows, likely of some wildlife as well, and you can find locations along this river that have fewer people. You can catch trout, including the legendary cutthroat trout, and make sure to enjoy this serene setting as long as possible.
4. Slough Creek
Speaking of cutthroat trout fishing, you should definitely check out Slough Creek for this fish in particular. This area is easily accessible, though most anglers are rewarded if they camp in between popular locations. The farther you go down the trail, the more likely you are to catch some of the best trout in the world!
5. Joffe Lake
A perfect place to fish with the kiddos, Joffe Lake offers visitors a more laid-back spot to fish from. You can still catch cutthroat trout here, but this location is best for beginning anglers not expecting to catch much. It’s also located near Mammoth Hot Springs, making it easily accessible for new visitors to Yellowstone.
6. Lamar River
Meeting up with Soda Butte, the Lamar River is perfect if you want to share your angling experience with a number of different animals in Yellowstone. Plus, this location also gives you sweeping views of the Lamar Valley and other popular locations in Yellowstone National Park, making it ideal for tourists and professional anglers alike! The river, home to cutthroat and rainbow trout, is popular for fly fishing.
What Types of Fish Can I Catch in Yellowstone?
There are roughly 11 native fish species found in Yellowstone National Park, and about 5 different nonnative species, all of which you are encouraged to take and not re release into the ecosystem. Some of the fish you can catch in Yellowstone include:
- Cutthroat trout
- Longnose dace
- Mottled sculpin
- Utah chub
- Redside shiner
- Arctic grayling
- Mountain whitefish
- Lake chub
- Various trout species, including lake, brook, brown, and rainbow.
Remember to do your research as to what fish you can safely catch, and get your permits. No matter what you choose to do in Yellowstone National Park, you’re going to have a great time, especially if angling is your thing!
Summary of 6 Best Spots for Angling in Yellowstone
Here’s a recap of the six super spots to catch fish in Yellowstone National Park that we took a look at.
|Number||Fishing Spot||Fish Found||Tip|
|1||Firehole River||Trout — better in the fall months||Fly fishing is the only type allowed.|
|2||Yellowstone River||Trout, salmon||You can find plenty of places to fish as Yellowstone River is the largest river in the park, though crowds may make it difficult.|
|3||Soda Butte||Trout, including cutthroat||It offers sweeping views of many Yellowstone meadows.|
|4||Slough Creek||Cutthroat trout||Anglers are rewarded if they camp in between popular locations.|
|5||Joffe Lake||Cutthroat trout||It is the perfect place to fish with kids as it offers visitors a more laid-back and accessible spot to fish.|
|6||Lamar River||Cutthroat and rainbow trout||This location has sweeping views of Lamar Valley and other popular locations in Yellowstone.|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Cannon Colegrove/Shutterstock.com
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