BEWARE OF DEVELOPMENT: Henry's Lake Flats: A Crucial Intersection of Conservation and Recreation | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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Nestled on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park, Henry’s Lake Flats stands as a beacon of ecological significance and a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts including but beyond fly fishing. This remarkable area is recognized for its unique wetlands, and diverse wildlife, and as a premier destination for fly fishing enthusiasts, highlighting the essential balance between conservation and recreational activities. It's one of the more incredible locations in the country for its breadth of available water, animals, and overall ecology. 

A Biodiversity Haven and Wildlife Corridors

Designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Henry’s Lake Flats serves as a biodiversity hotspot, home to a rich variety of species. It is a crucial corridor for wildlife, including elk, deer, wolves, bears, and pronghorn, facilitating their movement between Yellowstone National Park and the Centennial Mountain Range. The disruption of these pathways through development could severely impact migration patterns and genetic diversity.

Conservation Successes and Environmental Concerns

The efforts of organizations like The Nature Conservancy, particularly through the management of the Flat Ranch Preserve, demonstrate the successful coexistence of conservation and sustainable ranching practices. These efforts have protected large tracts of land, such as the acquisition of 634 acres near Henry’s Lake to prevent its fragmentation, showcasing the tangible benefits of prioritizing conservation.

However, the threat of development looms large, with proposals that could transform areas zoned as Rural Base into commercial spaces, thereby threatening habitat loss, increased pollution, and a disruption of the natural balance.

The Cultural and Recreational Value of Henry’s Lake Flats

Beyond its ecological importance, Henry’s Lake Flats holds significant value for the local community and indigenous cultures. It's a place of connection with nature, outdoor recreation, and the preservation of cultural practices. The pristine waters of Henry’s Lake Flats offer one of the best stillwater fly fishing experiences in the United States, attracting anglers from all over to catch trophy fish, including large hybrids, cutthroats, and brook trout.

Beyond the Henry's Lake Flats, the new development would have a detrimental effect on increases in other local fly fishing communities like Island Park, Idaho and Ennis, Montana's Madison River, Yellow Stone National Park, etc. 

A Pristine Angler’s Paradise

The area’s shallow waters, rich in scuds, leeches, and freshwater shrimp, support a variety of fishing techniques and trophy fish, making it a bucket-list destination for serious fly fishers. The fly fishing community is instrumental in conservation efforts, advocating for sustainable practices and supporting habitat preservation, ensuring the legacy of fly fishing for future generations.


The imperative to protect Henry’s Lake Flats is evident. It’s about safeguarding a complex web of life, including its unique ecosystems and the recreational opportunities it provide. As development pressures increase, recognizing the irreplaceable value of such spaces is crucial for maintaining biodiversity, ecological health, and cultural heritage. Henry’s Lake Flats exemplifies the vital importance of preserving natural landscapes that serve both conservation and recreational purposes, ensuring their benefits are enjoyed for generations to come. If you want to help in the preservation of this unique area please act now. 

Act Now

Go to and sign the petition to help stop or at least redefine proper development. 


Christian Bacasa

Owner and Operator of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

Together we can make an impact on conservation!