YELLOWSTONE, Wyo. – Yellowstone National Park encourages the public to get ready for boating and fishing season, which begins on Saturday, May 23, 2020. Boaters and anglers should clean, drain, and dry all boats and equipment prior to arriving in the park to minimize the risk of introducing aquatic invasive species (AIS) into Yellowstone’s waters. Watercraft equipped with sealed internal ballast tanks are temporarily banned from all park waters as inspections cannot always detect these invaders in these types of boats. Boaters and anglers should also be aware of temporary changes due to COVID-19.
Ensure that you don’t transport AIS to Yellowstone and know that your watercraft must be permitted to launch:
- Clean all plants, animals, mud, sand, and other debris from your boat, anchor, boots, and equipment. Use high-pressure, hot (120-140F) water if possible.
- Drain all water from your boat including the motor, bilge, livewell, and other compartments before you arrive. Leave drain plugs out during transport. Do not dump water or organisms from one water body into another.
- Dry all compartments and equipment in the sun for five days.
Clean, drain, and dry requirements are necessary steps to protect the park’s and nation’s waterways. AIS pose a grave and growing threat to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding economies. AIS can quickly and drastically alter habitats and food webs, causing permanent declines in sport fish and food resources for native wildlife.
Nonnative quagga and zebra mussels have caused costly, irreversible damage to waterways in the Midwestern and eastern United States and in the Colorado River drainage including Lake Mead and Lake Powell. If these nonnative mussels are found in Yellowstone, park waters may close to all watercraft to prevent the spread to other waterways. The park will continue efforts to develop an AIS Management Plan and Rapid Response Framework in collaboration with the surrounding states.
At this time, Yellowstone is open on a limited basis and fishing and boating will only be allowed in the southern portion of the park (see May 13 reopening news release
for details). Fishing permits are not currently available for sale inside the park due to facility closures related to COVID-19 (this will change as facilities begin to reopen). Anglers are encouraged to purchase fishing permits locally outside the park from vendors in gateway communities in Wyoming and Montana. Boating permits and AIS inspections for all non-motorized and motorized watercraft and angler float tubes will be available at Bridge Bay Ranger Station, Grant Village Backcountry Office, and the Lewis Lake Ranger Station. The park will provide details and updates for operations as they change on their website
and on the park’s social media channels.