top of page

Yellowstone National Park
Fishing Regulations

Resources Yellowstone Fishing Rules and

General Regulations

  • Purpose: The specific park fishing regulations are designed to protect native fish and aquatic ecosystems, provide recreational opportunities, and preserve the tradition of fishing in Yellowstone.

  • Season & Hours: Fishing season begins the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and extends through the first Sunday in November. Hours for fishing are sunrise to sunset.

  • Permits: Anglers 16 years of age and older must have a YNP fishing permit to fish in the park. Anglers 15 years of age and younger can fish without a permit if they are fishing under the direct supervision of an adult with a valid park fishing permit, or they may obtain a free permit that must be signed by a responsible adult. Fees are: 3-day permit: $18, 7-day permit: $25, Season permit: $40.

  • Native Fish: (cutthroat, mountain whitefish, and Artic grayling) All must be released unharmed.

  • Non-Native Fish: (brown, brook, rainbow, lake trout) No possession limit for nonnative fish, including brown, brook, rainbow, and lake trout. Further, any of these fish caught in the Lamar River drainage, and all lake trout caught from Yellowstone Lake must be killed. It is illegal to release them alive.

  • Bridges & Boat Docks: No fishing from bridges or boat docks, including Fishing Bridge.

  • Footgear: Felt-soled waders are prohibited in the park to reduce the potential for the introduction or spread of aquatic invasive species.

  • Tackle, Lure, & Hook Restrictions: Only lead-free artificial lures or flies may be used. Hooks must have points that are barbless, or the barbs pinched down. A single pointed hook is recommended. No organic or inorganic bait or scented attractants are allowed.

  • Fly Fishing only Rivers: Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon River below Gibbon Falls. Possession limit up to five (5) brook trout is allowed. You must release all rainbow, brown trout, and mountain white fish that are caught.

  • Lewis River System: Possession limit above Lewis Falls, including Lewis and Shoshone lakes and their tributaries, is five combined brook, brown or lake trout; only one of which may be a brown trout.

  • Unhooking, Handling & Releasing of Fish: While handling the fish as little as possible, and while keeping it in quiet water, use pliers to remove hook. If the fish is exhausted and listless, hold the fish around its tail and beneath its belly with the fish facing upstream, and gently move it back and forth until it swims away on its own power.

  • Disposal of Fish & Entrails: Must be disposed of within the waters they were caught, but not within 100 feet of boat ramps, docks, or backcountry campsites.

Regional and Specific Fishing Regulations: In addition to these general fishing regulations, there are regional specific regulations that apply in Yellowstone. The following National Park Service website gives you access to, and the ability to download, the Yellowstone Fishing Regulations booklet.

bottom of page