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Yellowstone National Park  at Cabela's

Yellowstone National Park

Author: Steve Cook

At 2.2 million acres, the country's first national park has plenty of room for fly fishers who journey here in pursuit of trout.

All rules and regulations are subject to change. For the most recent information on Yellowstone National Park, visit
Yellowstone.  Photo by Mark Williams
Being entirely public lands, visitors have free access to all areas of the park, except where restricted for safety or environmental protection. This vast mountainous preserve has remained relatively unaffected by man, and anglers can find fish populations flourishing in pristine rivers.

General season and Daily Bag & Possession Limits
The general fishing season in the park begins on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through the first Sunday in November and is open each day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. No fishing is allowed from any road bridge or boat dock.
Species2006 Daily Bag & Possesion Limits
Parkwide regulations  
Cutthroat trout catch-and-release only
Graylingcatch-and-release only
Mountain whitefishcatch-and-release-only
Rainbow trouttwo fish, any size
Brown trouttwo fish, any size
Brook troutfive fish, any size
Lake trouttwo fish, any size
License Fees
A permit is required to fish in Yellowstone. Anglers 12 to 15 years of age are required to obtain a nonfee 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.
Fishing LicenseAgeFee
Park visitors  
Season 16 and over$35
Three-day16 and over$15
Seven-day 16 and over$20
Youth permit12 to 15free
General Tackle Restrictions

  • Flies may have only one hook with a single barbless point. Up to two flies may be used on a single leader.
  • Leaded fishing tackle such as leaded split-shot sinkers, weighted jigs (lead molded to a hook) and soft lead-weighted ribbon for nymph fishing are not allowed (see below).

    Nontoxic Fishing
    Yellowstone National Park has implemented a nontoxic fishing program. Nationwide, over 3 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 nontoxic alternatives to lead are allowed.

    Boating Regulations
    A boat permit is required for all types of vessels. No boats, canoes, kayaks, rafts or float tubes are allowed on park rivers and streams, with the exception of the waterway between Lewis and Shoshone Lake where only hand-propelled craft are permitted.

    Yellowstone National Park has 12 campgrounds. Camping is only permitted in designated campgrounds and limit of stay is 14 days between June 15 and September 15, and 30 days during the rest of the year.

    Five of Yellowstone's campgrounds are operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts and accept reservations. Bridge Bay, Canyon, Grant Village and Madison campgrounds offer rest rooms, fire grates, and tables accessible to campers with disabilities. The RV park has accessible flush toilets, but there are no tables or fire grates because of its proximity to bear habitat. For camping reservations, call (307) 344-7901.

  • Bridge Bay - open from mid-May to mid-September ($17)
  • Canyon - open from early June to early September ($17)
  • Grant Village - open from mid-June to early October ($17)
  • Madison campground - open from early May to late October ($17)
  • Fishing Bridge RV Park - open from mid-May to mid-September ($34)

    Seven of Yellowstone's campgrounds are operated by the National Park Service and are on a first-come, first-served basis. During the peak season (early July to late August), these campgrounds are usually full by late morning. Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Pebble Creek, Slough Creek and Tower Fall have accessible vault toilets. Lewis Lake and Slough Creek campgrounds have an accessible campsite.

  • Mammoth - open year-round ($14)
  • Norris - open from mid-May to late September ($12)
  • Indian Creek - open from early June to mid-September ($12)
  • Lewis Lake - open from early June to late October ($12)
  • Pebble Creek - open from early June to the end of September ($10)
  • Tower Fall - open from mid-May to the end of September ($12)

    Backcountry Camping
    Yellowstone has a designated backcountry campsite system, and a permit is required for all overnight stays. Permits may be obtained only in person and no more than 48 hours in advance of your trip. Permits are free and available from most ranger stations and visitor centers.

    For a nonrefundable $15 fee, backcountry campsites may be reserved in advance, but only by mail or in person. Reservations are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Forms for making advance reservations are available by writing to: Backcountry Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, by calling (307) 344-2160, or by downloading them from the Online Backcountry Trip Planner at

    Park Entrances

  • North Entrance - US 89 from I-90 at Livingston, Montana
  • Northeast Entrance - US 212 from I-90 at Billings, Montana, or SR 296 from     Cody, Wyoming
  • West Entrance - US 191 from Bozeman, Montana, or US 20 from Idaho Falls,     Idaho
  • East Entrance - US 16 from Cody, Wyoming
  • South Entrance - US 89 from Jackson, Wyoming

    Entrance Fees
    The entrance fee is $25 for a private, noncommercial vehicle; $15 for each snowmobile or motorcycle; or $12 for each visitor entering by foot, bike, ski, etc. This fee provides the visitor with a seven-day entrance permit for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Commercial tours are subject to a separate fee schedule. Golden Age, Eagle and Access passports are honored and provide free admission to the park.

    The park's major sites can be viewed by automobile. Some trails and facilities are wheelchair accessible. For online information about accessibility, go to


    Banking Services
    Automated teller machines are located at Old Faithful Inn, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Grant Village and Snow Lodge.

    Tackle Shops and Outfitters
    You can purchase fishing permits at any of the Hamilton Stores found throughout the park. These stores have some fly tackle and flies. Fly selection is limited, and the flies are generally of poor quality. Your best option is to stock up outside the park.

    Yellowstone National Park
    P.O. Box 168
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168
    Phone number/s: (307) 344-7381
    Web site:

    AmFac Parks and Resorts
    P.O. Box 165
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
    Phone number/s: (307) 344-7311
    Fax: (307) 344-7456
    Web site:

    Yellowstone National Park Lodges (operated by AmFac)
    AmFac Parks and Resorts
    P.O. Box 165
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
    Phone number/s: (307) 344-7311
    Fax: (307) 344-7456
    Web site:

    Yellowstone National Park (unofficial)
    Web site:

    Yellowstone National Park Traveler Resources
    Web site:

    Taken from Rocky Mountain Fly-Fishing by Steve Cook
    Steve Cook's new guidebook is filled with practical information about how to fish the blue ribbon waters of the American West. Complete with maps and hatch charts, the book focuses on the best of the best - the classic waters around Yellowstone and the quality waters throughout Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. The author is a professional guide who has spent years helping people learn to catch fish on these very rivers and lakes.

    — Your complete source for more Cabela's News, and updated hunting and fishing articles.