Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will reopen the last stretch of the Yellowstone River to recreationists and anglers Friday.
According to a FWP press release, the last stretch of river (17.2 miles long, from Emigrant Fishing Access Site to Pine Creek Fishing Access Site) was the hardest hit by fish kill.
We previously reported FWP closed approximately 180 miles of the river between Yellowstone’s northern boundary and Laurel, Montana after thousands of whitefish turned up dead—felled by a curious parasite more closely related to jellyfish. Parts of the river were reopened after FWP crews had assessed the danger of further fish kill among Yellowstone cutthroat trout. From a FWP press release:
FWP appreciates the patience and understanding of the affected communities, businesses, and recreationists during the closure and into the future.
With the reopening, Gov. Steve Bullock also extended his appreciation to the public Thursday.
“I want to thank all Montanans and visitors for their ongoing support as we protect Montana jobs and the health of the Yellowstone River, one of the last, great, free-flowing rivers in the United States.”
Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it is offering low-interest federal loans to help businesses affected by the closure of the Yellowstone. The SBA declared the Yellowstone event a disaster following a request from Gov. Bullock.
FWP biologists stress that while the river is being reopened, it could be closed again if more fish kill occurs, especially among Yellowstone cutthroat. This is of special concern to NPS fish biologists; although the river was not closed to recreation within Yellowstone’s boundaries, the danger of fish kill may persist.
The Montana FWP would also like to remind recreationists to take the following precautions when using the Yellowstone River: clean, drain, and dry.