National Park Quiz 68: Fishing

Can you keep a fish like this one if you catch it in Yellowstone Lake? Michigan DNR photo.

1. True or false? All of the streams within Shenandoah National Park are open for catch-and-release fishing.

2. True or false? The National Park Service has renewed a long-standing agreement to allow the annual restocking of trout in dozens of alpine lakes in North Cascades National Park.

3. True or false? Lobster fishing is prohibited in Biscayne National Park.

4. True of false? It is illegal to fish from Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.

5. True or false? Fishermen may use dead minnows and shiners as bait when fishing in Everglades National Park.

6. True or false? Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are two places in the National Park System where fishermen can catch striped bass.

7. True or false? To support recreational fishing, the Park Service once stocked streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with rainbow trout from the Rockies.

8. True or false? The National Park Service has refused to permit the stocking of brown trout for recreational fishing in the lakes and ponds of Acadia National Park.

9. True or false? Denali National Park & Preserve visitors typically find the best trout and grayling fishing in the milky-colored glacier-fed streams flowing at the base of the mountains.

10. True or false? Subsistence fishing is permitted in National Park of American Samoa.

Extra Credit Question:

11. Look at the photo accompanying this quiz. If you catch a fish like this in Yellowstone Lake, can you legally keep it and take it home to eat?

Super Bonus Question:

12. It’s a lethally dangerous river for the unwary and unlucky. The Shawnee Indians, in fact, called it “the river of death.” But many fishermen still go there, commonly with commercial fishing guides, for some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the eastern United States. Can you name this national park river?

Answers:

(1) True. All of Shenandoah's streams and tributaries are open for catch-and-release fishing. Some of the park's waters are also open for harvest fishing.

(2) False. Although trout were stocked in numerous alpine lakes within North Cascades for more than a century, the stocking of non-native fish is now banned in the park.

(3) False. People may legally catch spiny lobsters in certain areas of the park on the ocean side of the keys. (No lobstering is permitted in Biscayne Bay.) Lobstering in the park is subject to seasonal limits, minimum size restrictions, and bag limits. Commercial and sport fishermen may harvest lobsters from early August through March., and there is a two-day, sport-only lobstering season each July.

(4) True. Fishing Bridge, which spans the Yellowstone River where it spills out of Yellowstone Lake, was closed to fishing long ago (early1970s) in order to protect endangered cutthroat trout. Fishing Bridge remains a popular place to observe fish and waterfowl.

(5) False. Concerns about the possible introduction of harmful non-native species in Evergaldes national Park waters have prompted a strict ban on the use of live or dead fish (including minnows and shiners), live or dead amphibians, and non-preserved fish eggs (roe).

(6) True. Landlocked striped bass (called rockfish in some quarters) were stocked in Lake Mead and Lake Powell many years ago, and stripers are now a popular sport fish in both national recreation areas. Fishermen sometimes catch stripers weighing more than 40 pounds.

(7) True. However, these non-native fish upset stream ecology by competing with the native brook trout. Managers stopped stocking rainbow trout in the park’s streams more than three decades ago.

(8) True. Ten years ago, the state of Maine proposed to improve fishing in the park’s lakes by stocking brown trout as well as splake (a hybrid of brook and lake trout). Park managers opposed the plan, fearing that these non-native species would harm the park’s native brook trout.

(9) False. Milky-colored streams are heavily laden with silt, called glacial flour, which is not conducive to healthy fish populations. The park’s clear mountain streams do offer good fishing for grayling, and there is good fishing for lake trout in Wonder Lake.

(10) True. The Act of Congress that established National Park of American Samoa allows limited subsistence fishing and farming. The parklands actually belong to the people of American Samoa and are merely leased by the U.S. government for national park use.

(11) Yes, indeed! That's a lake trout, and you are welcome to keep all the lake trout you can catch in Yellowstone Lake. The Park Service would dearly love to rid the big lake of this non-native fish. Like the non-native pike, the lake trout has a voracious appetite for endangered cutthroat trout.

(12) The Lower Gorge of the New River in New River Gorge National River is one of America’s premier smallmouth bass fisheries. However, the lower gorge’s powerful rapids and surges can overturn boats, sweep anglers downriver, and pin them underwater. Using commercial fishing guide services is well advised. No client has ever died on a commercial whitewater fishing trip on the New River (or in the entire state of West Virginia, for that matter), but about three to five unguided fishermen die in the New’s lower gorge in a typical year.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.

Comments

I would like somebody to explain how a dead minnow/shiner can reproduce and pose a threat to the indigenous marine population of the Everglades. I have been to the Everglades and there's water everywhere that evidently comes from outside sources.Should we block those sources to avoid contamination? My point is that the sport of fishing is now being controlled by environmentalists. I have been fishing for over 65years, 20 years in salt water. And I have seen, over the years, the restrictions imposed on the average fisherman. Restrictions placed on size, limits, and type of bait used. Some of the restrictions make sense, to control over-fishing of some species. But other restrictions make no sense to me, other than to satisfy the whims of the "green" people. What's next? Insects and nightcrawlers? I'm betting the makers of artificial lures are smiling all the way to the bank.

Dead minnows & shiners can still have viable fertilized eggs & embryos (remember, minnows are live bearers, but all the nutrients mom gives the developing fry were put in the eggs at the beginning, so freshly dead mom can have viable fry). They also can have fungi and viruses that would be introduced to the waters of the Everglades. An argument could be made about the numbers of exotic species of fish already in the Everglades meaning a couple more fish species won't matter, but the diseases could be an issue for all species presently there.

One of the trickier issues in the Greater Everglades Restoration Program is sport fishing for bass, primarily in the water management areas just north of the park. Bass are mostly in the deeper canals, which need to be filled to fix the flow of water. One plan was to fill short sections of the canals every mile or so, keeping most of the deep habitat for the (introduced) bass, but blocking the rapid flow of water. Unfortunately, those shallow bars would also prevent deeper draft bass boats (deeper draft than airboats) from going long distances via the canals. I'm not sure what the current proposed engineering solution is, but I'm confident that recreational fishing for bass and other introduced gamefish will continue. I hope the methyl mercury (driven by sufate) issues can be cleaned up so that folks can safely eat the fish they catch.

Thanks, tomp. Your knowledge of this topic is one heck of a lot deeper than mine.