"Nick, what are fish barriers, and why are they used?"

Great question. It can get confusing when you hear about fish barriers and fish passage projects across Wyoming. Though all of our work in fish passage involves removing and improving barriers to allow upstream passages for fish there are a few cases where constructing a barrier is our best management option to effectively manage a fishery.

Unlike hydropower and irrigation dams, these fish barriers’ sole purpose is to block upstream movement of all fish.  Reasons these are built include:
  • protecting native fish upstream. We protect them from hybridization and competition with species downstream,
  • stopping non-native fish species from expanding their range, and  
  • restoring native species above the barrier.  
A few streams where barriers have been constructed include upper Labarge Creek and Bare Creek in the Wyoming Range to restore native Colorado River cutthroat trout populations. A barrier on the Big Sandy River was just completed to protect flannelmouth sucker, bluehead sucker, and roundtail chub populations. Populations of all three of these species that are presently found upstream from the barrier have drastically declined across Wyoming and their native range in other states.
It is always best to have passage and interconnected streams, but sometimes barriers are a great tool.

Nick Scribner
Fish Passage Coordinator

Have more questions? Check out our Ask Game and Fish Archives

*With any Ask Game and Fish question please consult the current hunting regulations for more specific information on these requirements.


Can't find your answer here? Search our archives of previous "Ask Game and Fish" questions.


Frequently asked questions about hunting, fishing, wildlife, application process and watercraft.

Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People