Fishing season begins in the Park on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (usually the last weekend in May) and extends through the first Sunday in November. Some areas do not open for fishing until the middle of June or July, and other areas may be closed from time to time due to bear management actions, or may be temporarily closed due to low water levels and high water temperatures to protect fish populations. Fishing is not permitted from any road bridge (including, ironically, Fishing Bridge) or boat dock.
A Yellowstone National Park Fishing Permit is required to fish in the park. Anglers 16 years of age and older are required to purchase either a $15 three-day permit, a $20 seven-day permit or a $35 season permit. Anglers 15 and younger have two options:
- Children 15 and younger may fish without a permit if they are fishing under the direct supervision of an adult who has a valid park fishing permit, or
- Children 15 and younger may obtain a free permit that must be signed by a responsible adult; with this permit, a child can fish without direct adult supervision.
Fishing permits are available at all ranger stations, visitor centers, and Yellowstone Park General Stores. Fishing permits are also available at many businesses in the Greater Yellowstone Area. No state fishing license is required in Yellowstone National Park.
All types of vessels—including float tubes—require a boat permit (and requires payment of a fee). Float tubes are not allowed on certain lakes or on any river or stream in Yellowstone except the Lewis River between Lewis and Shoshone lakes. Obtain permits in person at the South Entrance, Lewis Lake Campground, Grant Village Backcountry Office, and Bridge Bay Ranger Station. Obtain non-motorized permits (only) at Mammoth, Canyon, or Old Faithful backcountry offices, Northeast Entrance, the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center, and the Bechler Ranger Station.
See the Park’s Fishing Regulations Handbook [PDF] for further details, including information on bait and tackle restrictions, specific regulations affecting various areas of the park, identification of fish, catch-and-release requirements for certain species, and other valuable information.
There are commercial businesses that offer guided fishing trips in Yellowstone. All such businesses must be licensed by the park. You can find a current list of permitted guide operations HERE.
Hunting of any kind is not permitted within park boundaries. Since hunting is allowed on private, state, and federal lands surrounding the park, hunters are strongly encouraged to keep abreast of their location. Most of the boundary of the park is well marked, but it is up to the individual to know whether they are in the park or not at any given point.
The Lacey Act and the Code of Federal Regulations strictly prohibit the killing or removal of any animal, living or dead, from inside Yellowstone. This includes animals legally shot outside the park which then cross into and die within the park boundary. Taking and removing any animal parts, including shed antlers, is also prohibited.
Violators are investigated and aggressively prosecuted and are subject to penalties including fines, restitution, and the forfeiture of vehicles, equipment and personal property associated with the violations.
Game animals may be transported through Yellowstone on park roads in a motor vehicle only when accompanied by a transport permit from the National Park Service and bearing a valid state tag as evidence that the animal was taken legally outside of the park. Permits to transport game animals through Yellowstone must be secured before entering the park. They can be obtained at any park entrance station or by calling (307) 344-7381 and arranging to meet with a ranger. Game animals cannot be transported on backcountry trails or stored overnight anywhere in the park, including campgrounds, parking lots or at concession facilities.