Game and Fish proposes three instream flow water rights to protect native trout


11/6/2023 9:28:17 PM

Cheyenne - Three stream segments with crucial native trout habitat are proposed for streamflow protection in Wyoming. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking instream flow water rights for segments of Crandall Creek, Dead Indian Creek and Muddy Creek in the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River basin. All three segments are entirely on public lands. The proposed water rights are important to maintaining populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in their native range.

Instream flow water rights are one of the tools Game and Fish uses to protect fish habitat and essential river functions. The rights ensure water keeps flowing in streams for fisheries while protecting existing water users. 

“Water is the most important part of fish habitat. Maintaining adequate amounts of water in streams year-round is critical for maintaining and improving the long-term health of fish populations,” said Del Lobb, Game and Fish instream flow biologist.

Game and Fish conducted instream flow investigations on the three creeks in 2014 to determine flows needed to maintain the existing Yellowstone cutthroat populations. The proposed water rights would protect flows in a total of 10 stream miles. Information about the proposed instream flow segments can be viewed on the Game and Fish website.

All three stream segments are within the Yellowstone cutthroat trout’s native range.

“Securing these water rights means the streams will continue to flow naturally and provide critical habitat for spawning, passage and year-round survival of this species,” Lobb said.

Habitat changes and nonnative species have restricted Yellowstone cutthroat trout to about 47 percent of its native range in Wyoming.

“Protecting streamflows in these headwater streams will help conserve the remaining Wyoming populations of this species,” Lobb said.

Securing instream flow water rights has benefits for anglers and Wyoming, too.

“Instream flows don’t just benefit the Wyoming residents who fish. They also help Wyoming’s tourism industry, which largely depends on flowing streams that provide angling and boating opportunities and enhance sight-seeing, hiking, hunting and camping,” Lobb said.

Game and Fish prepared three applications for the instream flow water rights. The Wyoming Water Development Office — the official applicant for the State of Wyoming — submitted the applications to the Wyoming State Engineer’s office and conducted a water availability study funded by Game and Fish.

Information about the applications can be viewed online

The State Engineer’s Office is holding a public hearing at 9 a.m. Nov. 16 at the Cody Regional Game and Fish office to share information and receive comments on the proposed water rights. The hearing will be recorded and made available for anyone unable to attend. The public hearing is a benchmark in a multi-step process to acquire instream flow water rights.

For any questions about how to participate in the virtual public hearing, details of the applications or to view the meeting recording, contact Jed Rockweiler at 307-777-6202 or

If the water rights are approved by the State Engineer following the public hearing, these three stream segments will add to the 123 instream flow segments already secured for fisheries in Wyoming. Currently 512 miles — of the more than 25,000 miles of streams with fisheries in Wyoming — have permitted or adjudicated instream flow water rights for sport fisheries and native fish conservation.

(Breanna Ball, Public Information Officer - (

- WGFD -

  • fishing
  • meetings
  • information

Checking your CWD test results is easy

Hunters who had tissue samples from their deer, elk or moose collected for chronic wasting disease testing can check the results on the Game and Fish website

Continue reading...

Wyoming teen recognized as one of the state’s youngest Ultimate Anglers

Lander angler is the third 15-year old to accomplish this feat

Continue reading...

Keep your mule deer wild

Wildlife managers remind residents to resist the urge to feed backyard deer this winter

Continue reading...

2024 Wyoming Wildlife calendar now available

Marvel at the charismatic animals of Wyoming with the magazine's annual calendar issue calendar

Continue reading...

Waterfowl hunters be aware of license and stamp requirements

Be sure to have all your licenses and stamps before heading afield 

Continue reading...

Hunters reminded to submit harvest surveys

Elk, deer and antelope respondents can win great prizes

Continue reading...

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