Bridger-Teton announces Guided Fishing Project

Buffalo Fork River (USFS)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Blackrock District Ranger Todd Stiles of the Bridger-Teton National Forest signed a decision on February 13 to issue five permits offering guided day use bank fishing on segments of rivers located on the Blackrock Ranger District outside of the Teton Wilderness.

The decision was made in response to acknowledgment that bank fishing is an increasingly desired experience for both visitors and residents of the Jackson Hole region. The Forest Service has seen a demand for hired guides who can provide an enhanced experience by introducing people to the natural and human history of the area, help develop outdoor skills, and ensure safety. However, since rivers are a limited resource and there was high demand to offer guided bank fishing, the Forest Service used a rigorous “prospectus” process to competitively select the most qualified applicants in addition to conducting an environmental analysis.

Ranger Todd Stiles said, “I am pleased that the prospectus process worked to set a high bar to ensure that selected outfitters provide exceptional public service, and guides go beyond simply helping customers catch fish to act as a partner with the Forest Service to care for the land, wildlife, fish, and river resources.”

The decision authorizes a total of 600 service days with 100 service days allocated to each of the five outfitters and 100 days reserved in a common pool. The decision includes a number of conditions to protect resource conditions, reduce the potential for use conflicts, promote awareness of wild and scenic river values, and provide exceptional customer service.

Examples include a maximum of 400 service days annually on the Buffalo Fork River with a maximum of three guided parties per day. The decision also includes designated access points for each river segment and requirements for fish handling including the use of barbless hooks, measures to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species, use of bear spray, leave no trace practices, buffers around active bald eagle or trumpeter swan nests, prevention of streambank or river modification, and guide/vehicle identification to assist with monitoring.