How to Fish in Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone Fishing Instructions


For visitors who are 16 and older, go to any of the Yellowstone National Park ranger stations, visitor centers or stores within the park and obtain a fishing permit. Children older than 15 who are accompanied by an adult with a permit do not need to get their own. Children younger than 15 who are not with an adult must get a permit, which must be signed by a responsible adult.

As of September 2010, a three-day permit is $15; a seven-day permit is $20; and a season permit is $35.


Yellowstone is the largest of all of the lakes within Yellowstone National Park. Find Yellowstone Lake on your Yellowstone map in the southeast region of the park in the state of Montana. Trout are abundant here. Fish from a pontoon boat or from the bank. Cutthroat trout caught in Yellowstone Lake are required to be released, while anglers must keep the lake trout that are caught for the purpose of protecting the cutthroat population. Also, on the lake, flies and lures that are used must be artificial. Lures and weights with lead are not allowed.


Sitting beside the continental divide in Yellowstone is the Snake River. It is accessible from the south entrance of the park. Locate Snake River on your Yellowstone National Park map about 11 miles north of the south entrance. Once you arrive at Snake river, get out your gear and fish for brown trout. This is best done by sitting on the river bank or by wading into the shallow waters. In this river, all native fish species must be released after caught, however up to five trout are allowed to be kept.


Locate Heart Lake on your Yellowstone National Park map. It is a 7 1/2-mile hike south from West Thumb, on the West Thumb-South Highway entrance. Fish for lake trout and cutthroat at the 2,150-acre Heart Lake. Camp overnight for ample time to fish and hike. In Heart Lake, the same regulations apply as Yellowstone Lake.


Gardner Lake starts just west of Mammoth Hot Springs, in the mountains at Joseph Peak. Enjoy fishing for an abundance of trout in this lake. This lake has no quantity restrictions on trout, however, native species must be released once caught.

Tips and Warnings

  • No state fishing license is required for fishing within Yellowstone National Park, but a park fishing permit is required.
  • Be aware of bears. They live throughout the park and could pose a danger to humans.
  • Be sure to closely follow all rules and regulations set by the Yellowstone National Park for fishing.
  • The United States' first national park is Yellowstone National Park, with parts located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It boasts natural scenic beauty throughout while offering a variety of outdoor nature related activities. While drawing thousands of tourists to the park each year, many people visit to fish in the picturesque rivers and streams throughout the park. Fishing in Yellowstone can prove to be rather challenging, but can be an easier task with a bit of advance planning. In Yellowstone, fishing season begins on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and ends the first Monday in November.