If You have plans to fish Yellowstone River outside the park it is now closed to fishing.............
BILLINGS – In an unprecedented move, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is closing 183 miles of the Yellowstone River from Gardiner to Laurel to all water-based recreation – fishing, wading, floating, tubing, boating.
No similar closure based on a disease outbreak has ever occurred in Montana, even when whirling disease was causing fish die-offs across the state in the 1990s.
"This significant action on the part of the department is in response to the ongoing and unprecedented fish kill on the Yellowstone," FWP said in an email. "This action is necessary to protect the fishery and the economy it sustains. The closure will also help limit the spread of the parasite to adjacent rivers through boats, tubes, waders and other human contact and minimize further mortality in all fish species."
The closure also affects all tributaries from Yellowstone National Park’s northern boundary at Gardiner to the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel.
Rafting and fly-fishing businesses were scrambling to respond to the closure. Angling trips start as early as 7 a.m., so boats were being pulled off the river.
"It's huge," said John Bailey of Dan Bailey Fly Shop in Livingston, noting that the closure isn't limited to the Yellowstone River. "The spring creeks and Boulder are closed. The Stillwater is closed. So you're talking about a major deal here. It affects a lot of people.
This is certainly a tragedy and very concerning to us fly fisherman. The disease agent seems to be a parasite, Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, that causes something called Proliferative Kidney Disease, or PKD. It definitely has to be quarantined off. One worrisome aspect is that it seems the Yellowstone River is the headwaters of the entire Mississippi basin. Guys over at the American Fly Fishing Forum have been posting information about it for a couple of days.
From what I've read, the disease is caused by a parasite that tends to prefer warmer, less oxygenated waters. This just happened to be a year where flows are way below average on the Yellowstone, water temps are up and dissolved oxygen is down. The parasite usually gets into a system by hitchhiking onto waders or boats of people that don't wash their gear before fishing a new river system.