Yellowstone River closures, caused by a mass die-off of whitefish, led to steep losses for local businesses in Park County. The closures began on August 19 and are estimated to have cost local businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Based on previous traveler behaviors we can make some pretty educated assumptions about what the impact might be," UM institute for Tourism and Recreation Research Economist Jeremy Sage said. "Given potential changes in purchasing behaviors by visitors to Montana, we can see that there is a potentially big impact of up to $500,000."

Sage said the losses range somewhere between $360,000 to $524,000..

“Specifically our individual groups are coming here to fish,” said Sage. “About a quarter of their money goes to outfitter and guides, twenty percent goes towards food, about 10 percent goes to  transportation, about 10 percent to lodging, licensing fees and other retail goods.”

It was estimated that out of state visitors at Yellowstone River spend on average $1,999 per trip.