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Montana News

Yellowstone River Fish Kill Hurt Park County, Helped Neighboring Counties

A fish-killing disease prompted the closure of 180 miles of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles of tributaries in August 2016.
Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
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A fish-killing disease prompted the closure of 180 miles of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles of tributaries. Some portions of the river are now open to some recreation.

A section of the Yellowstone River from Yellowstone National Park downstream to Laurel was closed starting August 19 by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks after thousands of dead mountain whitefish began appearing on the river’s banks.

The study says Upper Yellowstone River is the most fished river drainage in Montana, amassing more than 374,000 angler days in 2013.

That’s nearly 11 percent of all angler days in the state.

The study says some of the loss to businesses in Park County is likely to be offset by potential gain to businesses near the Madison and Missouri rivers where many guides subsequently took their clients.

State wildlife officials say the closure was necessary to protect the long-term viability of the Yellowstone River fishery, and to prevent the parasitic disease from spreading to other waterways.

Most of the Yellowstone has been re-opened to fishing and recreation, but a stretch south of Emigrant remains closed.

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