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Updated for 2018. The fishing season begins the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (usually the last weekend in May) and extends through and includes the first Sunday in November. Exceptions are noted within the Exceptions to General Regulations table within the Fishing Regulations handbook. Also note that there are areas within the park that are permanently closed to human entry and disturbance, have seasonal area and trail closures, off-trail travel and daylight hour limitations, and party size recommendations.

Recent Regulation Changes and Barbless Hook Requirement


To reduce competition, predation, and hybridization stress on native fishes, Yellowstone has increased harvest limits of rainbow and brown trout in waters where they co-exist with cutthroat trout and fluvial arctic grayling. Two areas with differing regulations now exist: the Native Trout Conservation Area and the Wild Trout Enhancement Area. A map of these areas and list of the regulation changes are found within the handbook, which can be downloaded below. In addition, Yellowstone has adopted a barbless hook rule, to reduce handling time and injury, and improve the overall condition and appearance of fishes, especially in heavily fished waters. It is advised to bring your own barbless tackle as it is not readily available at the park.

Permits and Fees

A permit is required to fish in Yellowstone. Anglers 16 years of age and older are required to purchase either a $10 ten-day or $20 season permit. Anglers 12 to 15 years of age are required to obtain a non-fee permit. Children 11 years of age or younger may fish without a permit when supervised by an adult. The adult is responsible for the child's actions. Fishing permits are available at all ranger stations, visitor centers, and Hamilton General Stores. No state fishing license is required in Yellowstone National Park.

Non-toxic Fishing

Yellowstone National Park has implemented a non-toxic fishing program. Nationwide, over three million waterfowl die from lead poisoning through ingestion. Because lead from fishing tackle concentrates in aquatic environments, tackle such as leaded split shot sinkers, weighted jigs, and soft weighted ribbon for fly fishing are prohibited. Only non-toxic alternatives to lead are allowed.


Did You Know?

Lake Trout Illustration

Lake trout are an invasive species of fish that is decimating the native cutthroat trout population in Yellowstone Lake.

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