Tag Archives: Fish and Wildlife

Featured: Yellowstone National Park

This month’s featured park is none other than Yellowstone National Park, a sprawling 2.2 million acres of natural geothermal bedspread based in the northwestern corner of Wyoming and certain parts of Idaho and Montana.

This vast ecological center is seated on top of the Yellowstone Caldera, a massive supervolcano stretching between 35–45 miles. Not to worry, though; the last recorded eruption was approximately 70,000 years ago, and our technology has since improved so that you’re highly unlikely to be caught in the fireworks so to speak.


Yellowstone National Park is dazzling in the summer. [Image: http://www.hdwallpaperscool.com/]

While there are various debates on where the park attained its name, the two outstanding theories are that it may be named after the Yellowstone River from the Minnetaree Indian name Mi tse a-da-zi (Yellow Rock River). However, based on common lore, there is also the possibility that the name was derived from the yellow rock surrounding the area. French trappers came and called the river “Roche Jaune” (Yellow Rock) which, when later translated, was what stuck with travelers and led it to be referred to as “Yellowstone.”

Ferdinand V. Hayden primarily headed the expedition, discovery, and the park’s eventual designation as a protected natural area. It was a slippery discovery that lasted an approximate 30 years before it stepped past the label of myths and folklore. On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant officially signed what was considered The Act of Dedication that protected the park’s area from settlement and occupancy. Since then, the park has been successfully conserved for almost two centuries and is the leading (and arguably most important) geothermal resource in the entire world.

If you’re planning to visit Yellowstone National Park this fall or coming winter, here are some activities and views that you can enjoy while at this wonderful, breathtaking area.

Geothermal Glory

Yellowstone is well known for its geothermal and hydrothermal system and its many geysers that can be found within the park. A study in 2011 estimated the park to have approximately 1,200 geysers with about 400 of them active annually. Impressively, the park is estimated to contain 10,000 geothermal features, meaning that 2/3 of the world’s geysers are concentrated in Yellowstone.

One of its most famous geysers is Old Faithful, which erupts at a rate of 45–120 minutes.


Old Faithful erupting in the sunset. [Image: http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.org/]

Aside from Old Faithful, other famous geysers in the park include Castle Geyser, Lion Geyser, Beehive Geyser, and the Norris Geyser Basin. You can visit the park at any point throughout the fall and winter to witness these amazing spectacles.

Wildlife Viewing

Because the park’s ecosystem is one of the most primitive and well-preserved on Earth, it makes for a suitable environment to house a diverse population of wildlife. All across its mountains and acres of space, various mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish can be found dwelling within this natural ecospace.

Among the mammals that can be found in Yellowstone are coyotes, wolves, the largest purebred bison herd in the Americas, and antelope. Bears are also commonly encountered in Yellowstone, so it is highly advised to read up on safety methods before visiting. Coming near or disturbing the animals is not advised, and visitors are recommended to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and 25 yards away from any other mammals in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone wolves howling. [Image url: http://enchantedseashells.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/us-national-parks-yellowstone-wolf-quest-2-wolves.jpg?w=584&h=304]

Yellowstone wolves howling. [Image: http://enchantedseashells.files.wordpress.com/]

The park is also home to 311 species of birds, including bald eagles, ravens, and even whooping cranes (though the recorded sightings of those are rare). One can also spot harlequins, ducks, ospreys, and peregrine falcons.

Fishing is allowed in Yellowstone, and 18 species of fish can be found here, including lake trout, cutthroat trout, and mountain whitefish. Be sure to check the Rules & Regulations as well as the seasons and bag limits if you wish to go fishing in this reservoir.

Reptiles can be found within the park, including about six types of snakes such as the rubber boa, wandering garter snake, and the prairie rattlesnake. And additionally, amphibians can be found on the park grounds as well. Boreal chorus frogs, boreal toads, and blotched tiger salamanders are only three examples of what can be found within Yellowstone.

Early Winter in Yellowstone

Now that winter is coming, Yellowstone is probably the first park to trudge deep into the season. With its wonderfully arched slopes and miles upon miles of trails, Yellowstone is premium for winter adventuring. Tons of snow piles on top of the surroundings so that the whole scene is a gorgeous blanket of white surrounded by pine trees adorned in silver. It’s particularly beautiful when the setting or rising sun’s soft shades of red, purple, orange, and yellow hug the skies. These same colors illuminate the blanket of snow, truly making for a breathtaking sight.

Winter in Yellowstone [Image url: http://www.nps.gov/features/yell/slidefile/scenics/winterscenes/Images/10029.jpg]

Winter in Yellowstone. [Image: http://www.nps.gov/]

Meanwhile hot springs decorated with tufts of snow erupt in their usual frequency, providing a sense of heat. Coyotes, wolves, bison, and bears trudge through the snow and leave behind paw prints on the winter grounds.

Despite the cold freeze, Yellowstone is a marvelous place for various winter activities, offering miles of perfect, snow-filled trails for skiers and commercially-guided snowmobile tours. Other opportunities include winter ranger programs, guided ski and snowshoe tours, and cross-country skiing.

If you wish to visit Yellowstone, check out the following links to help guide you in your adventure!

And as always, let us help you! The Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide features a comprehensive guide of Yellowstone National Park. Find us in Apple Store and Google Play, and go adventuring today!

Tips on Learning How to Fish

Spring fishing season has arrived! If you are an inexperienced angler and would like to try fishing for the first time, follow these few tips for your preparation. Even if you are an experienced angler, these tips will refresh your memory for your fishing adventures.

Fishing License

A fishing license is one of the most important things that you will need in order to go fishing. Each state has their own rules and regulations, so it is important that you read up on them before heading out. All fishing rules and regulations will be under Fishing > Rules and Regulations in your Fishing and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Guide. Licenses can be purchased online. Some states require you to be 18 years or older in order to obtain a fishing license.


Man fishing on a pier alone

Image: www.active.com

Choosing a place to fish can vary. Some people choose locations where they often see people fishing or local places where they may want to start. If you are a beginner and feel shy fishing in front of a heavy crowd, you may want to opt for a quiet fishing area.

You can go freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. Or you can choose saltwater fishing such as surf fishing, fishing by boat (party boat or charter boat) or bay fishing.

Time of Day During Spring Season

Two men fishing on a boat during sunset with his catch

Image: jimolive.photoshelter.com

  • Early Morning – Fish do not bite during this time because the water is cold and doesn’t heat up due to the sun being low which makes the rays bounce off the water.
  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon – Fish are biting on and off during this time because the sun’s rays start to penetrate the water. During this time, you should fish towards the downwind shoreline because the wind pushes the warmer surface water into that area.
  • Afternoon/Early Evening – There are a lot of fish eating during this time because their metabolism and digestion are high. The water is also warmer because the sun is directly above.

Fish Species

Images of different fish species

Image: pixshark.com

Focusing on fishing for a particular fish for a beginner may be too difficult, but it’s a worth a try! Here is a list of popular fish to help you choose one to catch:

  • Bass – a southeastern sport fish
  • Striped Bass – you will most likely need a boat to catch these
  • Sunfish – best catch for a beginner angler
  • Walleye and Pike – northern, cold-water lake fish
  • Catfish – vary from small to large

For a complete list of freshwater and saltwater fish, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® Fish and Wildlife Guide.


Man surf fishing pulling in his catch, clear blue water

Image: www.rancholeonero.com

Fishing in a lake from shore – Sit and wait with a bobber and bait. For this type of method, you can use inexpensive equipment.

Surf fishing from a beach – This requires heavy tackle that costs a little bit more. Catches vary day to day with this method.

Pond Fishing – Fishing at a pond can be simple, especially for beginners. It allows you to manage your skills and you may even catch a pan fish for dinner.

Boat Fishing on an Ocean – There are many boating options that are available for fishing. You can pay to go on a party boat for a half day or full day and you can use equipment and bait that is provided to you. Depending on the type of boating you choose and how big the crowd is, you can have assistance such as hooking your bait, casting and landing a fish.

Suggested Gear: 

  • Fishing Rod/Fly Rod
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Check out more fishing gear at our Pocket Ranger Gear Store.

What ParksByNature Does: A Refresher Course

Judging by the fact that you’re reading this blog post, we’re guessing that you’re somewhat familiar with us. (Us being ParksByNature Network. We make apps. They’re cool! And free. Just saying.) But we have a lot going on, just as we’re sure you do. So, we wanted to introduce any new readers to all the cool stuff they can use, while giving everyone else a refresher course. Here goes!

The Apps

They’re all free! Seriously. You just download them and then prepare for the wealth of knowledge that will be revealed at your fingertips.

Pocket Ranger® State Park Guides

florida pocket ranger app refresher course

One of our state parks apps. Pretty nifty, eh?

Yeah, this is probably obvious, but we make these apps that we call Pocket Ranger® guides, because you use them on your phone which sometimes goes in your pocket, which means that you literally have your own personal ranger to guide you around America’s state parks!

These mobile tour guides cover all of a state’s state parks, and allow you to search for information in a number of user-friendly ways: by park, by location, by activity. Basically, we distill all of the information you’d want to know about each park and put it in app form! Each guide also has GPS and GIS technology, updated lists of events going on in each location, and emergency alerts.

To check which states we have apps for, look no further! (Well, a little further. Because you’ll have to click here and then look.)

Pocket Ranger® Fish and WIldlife Guides

Pocket Ranger Refresher Course Fish & Wildlife

One of our lovely Fish and Wildlife apps.

As you may have guessed, these are for our anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers. We tell you where you can hunt and fish, what regulations you need to follow, everything you could possibly want to know about a particular species, information on permits and licenses, and more.

And, once again, to see which states we have fish and wildlife apps for, see here.

Pocket Ranger® Trophy Case™

Trophy Case Pocket Ranger Refresher Course

Who needs Instagram when you can use Trophy Case™?

If you use any of our state park apps, you might’ve seen a link to our newest app. Trophy Case™ is a photo-sharing app designed specifically for outdoor enthusiasts! You can post photos, you can use GPS settings to put your photos on a map, you can like other peoples’ photos, you can select specific viewing settings (Scenic, Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife Watching (Birding)), and, best of all, just by using the app (posting photos, etc.) you can earn points that can get you some seriously awesome outdoor-themed prizes!

The GeoChallenges

Ah, GeoChallenges. They are pretty awesome. Basically, after you download a Pocket Ranger® state park app, you can sign up to play any GeoChallenge going on in that state.

But wait! What is this GeoChallenge, you may ask? Why, we’re about to tell you! Basically, GeoChallenges are our version of geocaching. They’re basically scavenger hunts, except the items you’re finding are landmarks! They’re pretty much the best and most fun way to get to know a park, so you should probably check them out here. Some of them have themes, like Maine’s Guessing Game, and some of them span the state, like the Washington State Parks Centennial Passport Challenge. But all of them have this in common: they are very, very fun.


geochallenge pocket ranger refresher course

GeoChallenges are scavenger hunts for locations – and they always lead to adventure!

And since you’re all super creative and brilliant, you can always submit an idea for a GeoChallenge! Oh, and every time you play you can earn points, which can eventually lead to a fabulous, fabulous prize.

To see which GeoChallenges we have going on currently, click here.

The Social Media Channels

You probably already knew this, but we’re on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Instagram. We’re on these channels all the time because we’re trying to create a community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. And you’ve all been helping us!

pocket ranger refresher course

We bet you take really pretty pictures like this.
[Image: adore-theworld.tumblr.com/post/72017376567]

But, sometimes, we get really lonely. And that’s why we want you to have a conversation with us on Twitter, or follow us on Instagram and tag your photos with #pocketranger so that we can repost them (because that’s what we do on Instagram! We repost really awesome nature and park photos because we want to make you internet famous and share your genius with the world!). You can show us some love on Facebook, or tell us about your favorite camping recipes on Pinterest, or even share pretty pictures on Tumblr.

Really, we’re just a bunch of park and outdoors-obsessed humans who want you to like us. And talk to us. So if you wanted to do that, we’d be cool with it.

pocket ranger refresher course 1

Have we mentioned that we really like pretty nature photos and just want to talk about them on social media all day long?
[Image: adore-theworld.tumblr.com]

The Contests

Occasionally, we have these. A lot of times they have to do with photos. We run them because we really, really like you, and want to give you cool prizes. (We’re really into prizes, if you haven’t noticed.)

The End

That’s all, folks!

Did you find this refresher helpful? Are you going to tag us on Instagram so that your photos will be Instagram famous?