Native cutthroat trout are as iconic to Western trout streams as rocky streambeds. Yellowstone cutthroat trout may be the headliner for all native trout in the West. Thanks to some great work by volunteers and anglers alike, native Yellowstone cutthroat in Yellowstone National Park have seen a resurgence. Especially in the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, these iconic fish are making a comeback. For nearly two decades, Yellowstone National Parks’ Volunteer Fishing Program has helped sustain the opportunities for fishing in Yellowstone National Park for native cutthroat.

From Yellowstone Forever: utilizing the best available science and a multi-faceted approach, Yellowstone’s Native Fish Program strives to face this ecological crisis head on. They work to restore this complex and dynamic ecosystem. Yellowstone’s senior fisheries biologist, Todd Koel writes, “Our goal is as bold as it is difficult: restore the ecological role of Yellowstone’s native fish species.”

How to Get Involved

For anyone interested in helping to restore native fish to Yellowstone National Park, they should consider joining the Yellowstone Fly Fishing Volunteer program. The Yellowstone Fly Fishing Volunteer Program (YFFVP) is directed by Yellowstone National Park fisheries biologists and it is funded through public donations. Each year, volunteers from around the United States donate their time and resources to travel to Yellowstone to go “fly fishing for science.”

The volunteers are led by the YFFVP’s coordinator, veteran guide Paul Weamer. These volunteers venture to Yellowstone’s rivers, creeks, and lakes to conduct angling fieldwork research by collecting and recording data from the fish they catch. Over the course of its 21-year history, the Yellowstone Fly Fishing Volunteer Program has become a vital and unique tool. Their work aids park biologists as they work to manage and better understand Yellowstone’s prolific and diverse fisheries.

For more information, contact YFFVP coordinator Paul Weamer at

For how to contribute to the program, contact Yellowstone Forever.

For fishing in Yellowstone National Park for native cutthroat and to learn more about the Volunteer Program read this article from Fly Fisherman magazine.


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