Fishing in Glacier National Park

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Glacier Fishing, NPS photo, fishing in lake mcdonald
NPS photo
Fishing in Lake McDonald
The primary purpose of Glacier National Park is to preserve natural ecosystems for their aesthetic, educational, cultural and scientific values. Fishing is permitted when consistent with preservation or restoration of natural aquatic environments, native fishes, and other aquatic life. Objectives of the management of fish and aquatic environments in the park are:

  • To encourage appreciation for, and interest in, preservation of native fishes in natural, unspoiled aquatic habitats.
  • To insure that man´s use of native fishes will not interfere with natural food chain relationships between aquatic organisms, birds, mammals, and other animals.
  • To provide angling opportunities for wild fish in a natural environment, as part of the visitor´s total park experience.
  • To maintain natural aquatic environments as they would now exist if modern man had not interfered. It is realized that this goal cannot be completely attained, but it will be approached as nearly as possible. Fish are no longer stocked or planted in park waters.
  • To fulfill these objectives, certain regulations, guidelines, and courtesies must be followed.

Many people wonder why the National Park Service no longer plants fish in park waters after this was done for many decades to enhance sport fishing. The reason is simple. The introduction of exotic game fishes was found to be detrimental to Glacier´s native fishes. Predation and competition for space and food adversely affected several native species, and hybridization between indigenous and non-native species of fish also occurred. The native westslope cutthroat trout has been all but eliminated from several lakes, where it was once the dominant species.

Today the National Park Service is engaged in fisheries research to determine the extent of damage to native fish populations, and to explore possible means for re-establishing native fishes in some waters where they have been eliminated or replaced by hybrid populations. Paramount importance is attached to the goal of ensuring the future survival of Glacier National Park's unique native fishes for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

No license or permits are required for fishing inside the boundaries of Glacier National Park. Fishermen need to stop at a Visitor Center or Ranger Station to obtain a current copy of Glacier Park fishing regulations. Fishing Regulations
Glacier Fishing, NPS photo, Child enjoying fishing
NPS photo
Look dad, I got one!
Glacier Pictures Did you know?
The park contains 700 lakes but only 131 have been named. Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake are the four largest lakes. Numerous smaller lakes, known as tarns, are located in cirques formed by glacial erosion. Some of these lakes, like Avalanche Lake and Cracker Lake, are colored an opaque turquoise by suspended glacial silt.
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