Troubled waters for trout in Yellowstone

It’s been a hard summer so far for trout in Yellowstone National Park and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, as warmer-than-normal water temperatures have forced National Park Service officials to close fishing on most of the park’s streams until further notice.

That’s a pretty drastic act for Park officials, who realize the important of fly fishing to many Yellowstone visitors. But their hand was forced when water temperatures in lower-elevation rivers exceeded 73 degrees Fahrenheit (22.7 degrees Celsius) in early July.

This fishing advisory is for the following rivers and creeks within the park:

Northern Yellowstone: Gardner River below Osprey Falls, Lava Creek below Undine Falls, Lamar River below Cache Creek, all of Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek below Amphitheater Creek, and the Yellowstone River below Seven Mile Hole.

West side of the park: Madison River, Firehole River, and the Gibbon River below Gibbon Falls.

Southern portion of Yellowstone: Bechler River below Ouzel Creek, Falls River below Rainbow Falls, Mountain Ash Creek below Union Falls, Proposition Creek, Boundary Creek below Dunanda Falls, Robinson Creek, and the Snake River below Six Mile Ford.

This is the most extensive fishing ban in Yellowstone history; previous bans in 2002 and 2003 covered very small portions of the park. But Yellowstone is in the midst of one of the warmest summers in recent history, but both the fish and the anglers may see some relief soon: temperatures in early August are projected to be well below the daily 90s seen in the park and surrounding areas in July.

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