yellowstone fishing

An angler tries his luck in the early morning in Yellowstone National Park.

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People can learn about ongoing work to restore native fish to waters in Yellowstone National Park at a virtual meeting next week, though the event will be capped at the first 250 attendees.

The virtual public meeting is scheduled from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The event will include updates on efforts to conserve native fish species within Yellowstone National Park.

Following introductions, people at the meeting can see a 35-minute recorded presentation narrated by Todd Koel, leader of Yellowstone’s Native Fish Conservation Program, according to Linda Veress, a park spokesperson.

Attendees will have an opportunity to ask Koel questions once the presentation ends, she wrote in an email to the Chronicle.

The presentation highlights work to conserve native cutthroat trout and suppress non-native lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. It also includes details on efforts to preserve Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Lamar River and restore westslope cutthroat trout and Arctic grayling.

There will also be information on angling in the park and aquatic invasive species prevention, according to staff.

Park officials encouraged anglers, fishing guides, local fly shop employees and other interested members of the public to attend the event. However, Veress said the meeting will be capped at 250 participants because of limits within GoToMeeting — the platform of choice.

In past years, staff have traveled to gateway towns to update the public on native fish restoration work. There were no meetings last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Veress.

“This year’s presentation is being held later, and virtually, to allow for wider participation,” she wrote.

Yellowstone’s fishing season opens May 29. People who want to fish in the park can purchase permits in advance at Recreation.gov. Permits are also available at stores in gateway towns and within the park.

Yellowstone’s Native Fish Conservation Program works to preserve cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake and restore fluvial populations of native trout to waterbodies around the park, among other initiatives.

The introduction of non-native fish species like lake trout, brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout into the park’s waters has reduced native fish populations throughout the park.

Nonnative fish species “continue to contribute to the decline in the park’s native fish population by competing for food and habitat, preying on native fish, and degrading the genetic integrity of native fish through hybridization,” according to park officials.

All Arctic grayling, cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish must be released unharmed within the park’s borders. Anglers can, and in some cases are required to, keep non-native trout that they catch. They must be able to distinguish between fish species and use the appropriate tackle, among other requirements.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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