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NPS Responds to Yellowstone River Closure Due To Whitefish Parasite

The National Park Service announced they would not be closing any part of the Yellowstone River inside the Park.Earlier today, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced they were closing a stretch of the Yellowstone River between Gardiner and Laurel—approximately 180 miles of river course. Montana FWP officials made the decision after dead whitefish turned up by the thousand, having succumbed to Proliferative Kidney Disease, which is caused by a parasite.

Although crews are assessing the Yellowstone River and tributaries at this time, no dead/infected fish have turned up in Park boundaries. According to a Yellowstone press release, they are asking people to take precautionary measures to guard against spreading the parasite into the park:

Yellowstone National Park asks for cooperation from anglers to prevent spread of the parasite into the park. All waters within Yellowstone National Park remain open to fishing, however, to help prevent the introduction of this fish parasite and other aquatic invasive species, it’s imperative that all visiting anglers and boaters completely clean and disinfect their gear (waders, boots, float tubes, boats) before traveling to the park.

In addition, once anglers are done fishing at a site within Yellowstone National Park, they must remove all mud, sediment, vegetation and other debris from waders and boots before leaving that site and traveling to additional fishing locations within the park. All watercraft entering the park must be inspected by NPS staff prior to being launched. Fishing bait is not allowed in the park, and it’s illegal to transport live fish or move fish or other animals among park waters.

Invasive, nonnative species are the biggest threat to Yellowstone’s native fish communities. Angler and boater cooperation with this advisory will protect the park fisheries and aquatic ecosystems. Additional information on preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species can be found at go.nps.gov/yellfishingexotics.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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