Wyoming Fly Fishing

Experience fly fishing Wyoming… and forget the crowds!

Whether you are a seasoned fly fisher or new to the sport, you probably dream of fly fishing in pristine blue ribbon trout water, in quiet solitude. Where your only company is an occasional mule deer.

When most people think of fly fishing trips in Wyoming, they think of Yellowstone National Park. (the first national Park, set aside in 1872) But Wyoming offers so much more.

Regardless of the type of water you prefer to fish, when fly fishing Wyoming you’ll have plenty of options. From the fast canyon river and pocket waters, to casting to the bank from a float tube for big cruising browns, it’s all there.

Wyoming can provide great fishing anywhere in the state,  so for we will divide the state into four sections:

    • northwest
  • northeast
  • southwest
  • southeast

Northwest Wyoming

Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River, originating in the Absaroka Mountains near Yellowstone Park, is a world-class trout stream renowned for its natural beauty and exceptional fly fishing opportunities. The river flows north, eventually emptying into Yellowstone Lake, where it then continues its journey through breathtaking scenery across Montana until it meets the Missouri River in North Dakota.

simple map of yellowstone river location
yellowstone location

In Yellowstone National Park, the upper reaches of the Yellowstone River offer excellent fly fishing, particularly for Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. The upper section above Yellowstone Lake is remote and challenging to access, making it ideal for those seeking a secluded fishing experience. Below Yellowstone Lake, the river flows through a stunning canyon before reaching the town of Gardiner, Montana, just outside the park.

The Gardiner to Livingston stretch in Montana, covering over fifty miles of water, is one of the most popular and productive sections for anglers. It is teeming with cutthroats, rainbows, and browns, offering quality hatches of insects and stunning scenery. Floating is the preferred method for many anglers in this area.

Further downstream, as the river flows past Miner, Emigrant, Pray, Pine Creek, and Brisbin before entering Livingston, it holds good numbers of brown trout and a few rainbows. This section receives less pressure and offers opportunities for impressive-sized fish. Fishing remains productive all the way to Laurel.

The best time to fly fish the Yellowstone River is from mid-July through the fall, as it tends to become full and muddy during the spring runoff. Hatches on the river include Blue-winged Olive, various caddis species, Pale Morning Duns, stoneflies, Tricos, and terrestrials like hoppers during late summer. Streamers and nymphs are also effective, especially for targeting larger fish.

Access to this remarkable river is facilitated by airports in Bozeman and Billings. The Yellowstone River, with its pristine waters, canyons, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife, stands as one of the most spectacular fly fishing destinations in the United States and deserves recognition as a blue ribbon Wyoming fly fishing water.

You could probably dedicate a lifetime to fishing Yellowstone and the Northwest corner of the state. Even then you probably would never fish it all.

Snake River

snake river wyoming
Snake River

The South Fork of the Snake River, nestled within Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a renowned fly fishing destination known for its exceptional trout fishing opportunities and breathtaking natural beauty. Although often colloquially referred to as “the Snake,” this river is more accurately termed the South Fork, originating deep within Yellowstone National Park.

The river meanders through Yellowstone, traverses Jackson Hole, and flows through the impressive Snake River Canyon before eventually reaching Palisades Reservoir, marking the border between Wyoming and Idaho. Interestingly, locals distinguish between the sections of the river as “Snake” upstream of Palisades Reservoir and “South Fork” downstream of the Palisades Dam.

The South Fork of the Snake River is known for its large and swift waters, making it ideal for driftboat fishing. While wade fishing is possible, driftboats provide access to more extensive areas of the river.

The river is home to a unique subspecies of cutthroat trout known as the Fine-spotted Snake River Cutthroat Trout, which readily takes dry flies, making it a delight for fly anglers.

The trout season on the Snake typically runs from April 1 to October 31, with the best dry fly fishing occurring from late July to early August after the runoff clears. Various fly patterns, including hoppers, stoneflies, and mayflies, prove effective throughout the season.

The Snake River, with its diverse fishing conditions, native cutthroat trout, and the backdrop of Yellowstone and the Tetons, stands as a premier destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, the South Fork of the Snake River promises a remarkable fishing adventure in one of the most picturesque settings on Earth.

Clarks Fork

Clarks Fork WY
Clarks Fork

The Clarks Fork… the only “Wild Scenic River” in Wyoming.

The Clarks Fork is Wyoming’s only wild and scenic river and offers solitude from the crowds often found in nearby Yellowstone. This great Wyoming fly fishing destination offers plenty of trout to challenge you. In the upper half of the river you’ll find. Yellowstone cutthroat, rainbows and brook trout.

Below the canyon where the river makes it’s desert run back to Montana you can add grayling and brown trout to the mix. The canyon’s waterfalls keep the browns from reaching the upper sections of the river.

You’ll find good numbers of 12-14 inch rainbows, with an occasional 16 incher, in the upper valley. The middle section flows through a 1200 foot high gorge. You will find wild trout here in the 12 to 14 inch category with an occasional 18 incher. The slower section of the lower river provides the chance to catch 20 inch browns. This portion of the river gets stocked with 12-14 inch rainbows and cutthroat. There are also grayling and whitefish in this section.

The upper section of the river offers great Wyoming fly fishing. This section offers easy access as it flows through Shoshone National forest for about 25 miles. Highways parallel most of the river and you can stop along side the road almost anywhere.

At Crandall Creek the river flows into a canyon called the box and flows 20 miles through boulder strewn pocket water and eddies. This can be tough fishing but if you like to hop boulders it can be done. The canyon stretch is the wild and scenic portion of the river. This part of the river is your best bet for a day of solitude. It’s tough going but of your after solitude and wild trout it’s worth the effort.

The lower part of the river flows through the high desert on it’s way back to the Montana border. This section runs mostly through private land. The Wyoming Game and Fish has provided four public access sites through the lower section of the Clarks Fork. This is the only section that is safe for float fishing. If you’re after big browns this section is your best bet.

The Clarks Fork is a Wyoming fly fishing destination that will provide you with great fishing, amazing scenery and quiet solitude. That’s what makes the Clarks Fork a destination that you’ll want to return to.

Wyoming Section of Bighorn River

The Wyoming section of the Bighorn River, less known and less crowded than the Montana section, offers excellent fishing opportunities. This section contains around 2,000 fish per mile, including large rainbows and browns. Access is convenient, with boat ramps and easements along the river. The river holds naturally spawning brown trout, cutthroat, and rainbow trout, with browns often reaching 20 inches or more.

Wyoming’s Bighorn River maintains relatively constant flows due to Boysen Reservoir’s regulation. It remains fishable throughout the year, even in winter. Moss growth in late summer may require nymph fishing, while fall offers dry fly fishing for Autumn Baetis and midges. Winter fishing focuses on the first 3 miles below the dam.

The Wyoming Bighorn River provides ample opportunities for solitude and trophy trout, making it a hidden gem among blue ribbon streams.

The Bighorn River… close to the Montana border.

Shoshone River

Shoshone River WY
Shoshone River

The North Fork of the Shoshone River is a hidden gem in the Rocky Mountains, ranked among the top ten freestone rivers in the region. Originating in Yellowstone National Park, this 50-mile river meanders through the Shoshone National Forest and Washakie Wilderness. Surprisingly, it remains uncrowded despite its proximity to major highways leading to Yellowstone’s East entrance.

Float trips are the ideal way to explore the North Fork, with the season running from July to late August in the upper reaches and extending to mid-late September downstream. Alternatively, anglers can enjoy wade fishing in many accessible spots, targeting a variety of wild trout species. The North Fork boasts a wealth of insect species, making it a dry fly fishing paradise from July onward.  Whether you prefer dry flies, nymphs, emergers, spent patterns, or streamers, the North Fork offers unparalleled trout fishing amid stunning natural beauty.

The South Fork of the Shoshone River, though smaller, is renowned for its brown trout fishing. Access is somewhat limited due to private property, but upon entering the Shoshone National Forest, trout numbers increase. Dry flies dominate from July to mid-October, with nymphs, buggers, or sculpin patterns effective on sunny days. Evening fishing is exceptional as the river comes alive with feeding trout.

Lastly, the Lower Shoshone River, a tailwater fishery, offers exceptional year-round fishing. From October through May, dry fly enthusiasts will find blue-winged olives and midges prevalent. Streamer fishing remains productive year-round. While summer aesthetics may discourage some anglers due to irrigation effects, fall, winter, and early spring offer excellent conditions. Float fishing is popular, with the Cody to Corbett Bridge section featuring mega hatches and abundant browns and rainbows.

The Firehole River

The Firehole River is one of Yellowstone’s biggest fishing attractions.  The Firehole river is like a giant spring creek. With a HUGE variety of insects and flat water, the fishing on this river can be difficult. The chance to hook a large brown trout is not better anywhere in the park. The Firehole River is as unique as it is beautiful. It is located in the Western Section of Yellowstone National Park. It’s thirty mile long course runs through the Upper, Midway and Lower Geyser Basin’s. Fly fishing is synonymous with the Firehole River and Yellowstone.

simple map of firehole location
firehole location

The Gibbon River

The Gibbon comes togther with the Firehole to create the upper Madison. The roadless areas of this river offers a relief from some of the Yellowstone crowds, there are bears around here so you have to take the good with the bad.

simple map of gibbon river location
gibbon river location

Slough Creek

Slough Creek begins in Montana’s wilderness, flows through Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park for about 25 miles, and eventually joins the Lamar River. It features an abundant population of cutthroat trout, with some reaching 16 inches or more. Rainbow and cutbow trout can also be found in the lower stretches. This creek is ideal for dry fly fishing, and catch and release rules help protect the fish. Besides its great fishing, Slough Creek is known for its natural beauty, making it a popular destination for anglers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Flat Creek

Flat Creek, originating in the rugged Gros Ventre Wilderness east of Jackson on the National Elk Refuge, is a cherished destination for anglers. As it flows from the mountainous terrain onto the flatlands of the National Elk Refuge, it gains spring water that nurtures an ideal environment for trout and their prey.  The native Snake River cutts on this water are challenging and rewarding to, displaying selective feeding behaviors during hatches and putting a strain on light tippets as they seek refuge beneath the banks.  Visual fishing is a prevalent practice on Flat Creek, with trout frequently rising to the surface.

The creek’s rich insect life supports various hatches throughout the season.  Flat Creek is home to good mayfly, caddis and terrestrial populations.

Hoback River

hoback river meets the snake river
Junction of Snake River & Hoback River

The Hoback begins in the Wyoming Range and slowly winds its way down through the Hoback River Canyon on its way to the Snake. Highway 191 closely follows the river with numerous pullouts and a couple of camp areas, providing some of the best wade fishing access in Jackson Hole. Most of the river runs through National Forest until it flows through the valley of Bondurant, where it becomes private. The Hoback is one of the better places in the area for the beginner fly fisher to cast a fly. The river has a stable population of Snake River Cutthroat which range from 9 to 16 inches. In most cases these fish are not very particular and a variety of patterns will work There are virtually all types of water on the Hoback including riffles, runs, pocket water and deep pools. The canyon is very scenic and worth the drive in itself, making this a great place to relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

As is true with many rivers in the area, there is a runoff that usually starts early in May and lasts into the beginning of July. The duration will depend on the amount of snow pack in the drainage area. For up to date information it is best to check with our fly shop.

Once the river begins to clear there will be a variety of hatches throughout the summer. The first hatch to occur, and also some of the best fishing of the year, is in early July when the annual stonefly hatch starts. These big bugs bring a lot of fish to the surface and the fishing is often truly spectacular. During that time stonefly nymphs and dries will work well, but often the Yellow Sally hatch will overshadow the larger salmonfly and an imitation for that may work better.

Gros Ventre

The Gros Ventre River, originating in the majestic Gros Ventre Mountain Range, flows through the pristine landscapes of Jackson Hole’s eastern boundary, offering a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and anglers alike. The river’s swift current carves a path through pocketwater, runs, and pools, making it a challenging yet rewarding fishing destination.

This region boasts an abundance of Snake River Fine-spotted Cutthroat Trout, alongside remnant rainbows and whitefish, with sizes ranging from 8 to 16 inches. Despite their modest dimensions, these trout provide spirited battles in the fast-flowing waters, eagerly taking dry flies and nymphs. Anglers using 3- and 4-weight rods can expect an enjoyable experience.

With abundant hatches of caddis and stoneflies, as well as a hopper scene in the summer, the river offers diverse fly fishing opportunities.

Learn more about fly fishing on the Gros Ventre River.

Willow Creek

Tributary to the Hoback. Runs for 20 miles through a remote area behind the ranch in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Wilderness like setting hosting our overnight camp, Hunter Creek, 14 miles in. Fast rock strewn stream, as well as willow lined meadow meanders with undercut banks. Holds pure, wild strain of Snake River Cutthroats. Wade fishing. Access by foot or horseback. Attracter dry flies, nymphs, and small streamers. Hopper fishing good in August. July-September. Beginner to expert.

Southwest Wyoming

Wind River Range

Clear mountain streams rushing beneath towering granite spires. Crystal clear lakes amid the pines. Wide rivers twisting through stunning canyons. Sprawling warm water reservoirs in a striking desert landscape. These are the fishing waters of Wind River Country, Wyoming.  Trips to Southwest Wyoming feature the Wind River Mountains and the large Golden trout that are found there. In this part of the country, two to three pound Golden trout are common and fish have been documented at ten pounds plus.

This part of Wyoming has hundreds of lakes with good fishing for rainbow, cutthroat, brook and even some grayling. The big Golden trout, and the lakes they thrive in are going to be a little harder to get to.

These lakes include as Honeymoon, Star, Double, Golden, Long, Louise, Hidden and Ross lakes. To the north of Dubois try the Wiggins Fork and its tributaries for cutthroat. Explore the East Fork of the Wind River by driving the gravel road located about four miles east of Dubois. Both the Wind River and Bear Creek have cutthroat and rainbow trout and a day spent hiking along these waters can be very fruitful.

If streams are your style, try a trip to Sweetwater Canyon. Or, park at Bruce’s Bridge in Sinks Canyon and hike up the Middle Popo Agie, fishing for rainbow and brook trout. Drive to Dickinson Park and hike into the North Fork of the Popo Agie for brook trout, or hit one of several lakes. Other waters include: Christina and Gustave lakes, Lower and Upper Silas lakes, and Island and Tomahawk lakes.

You’ll need to be prepared to hike in or pack in by horseback to get to the lakes that hold these beautiful trout. In some of these lakes, even a 20 inch golden does not qualify as a trophy.

Salt River

salt river WY
Salt River near Thayne WY

The Salt River is a fairly small river that flows out of the Salt River Range, winding its way through the ranch lands of Star Valley and into Palisades Reservoir. It has a good population of cutthroat from 12 to 14 inches, but also a number of very nice browns.

One thing that makes fishing the Salt River so great is the amount of public access that is available to fishermen. Heading south from Alpine Junction, toward Afton, keep an eye out for the signs that indicate public fishing areas.

These pieces of property have been purchased by the Wyoming Game and Fish department from ranchers for the use and enjoyment of sportsmen. Since they are surrounded by local ranches and farms please respect the landowners by not crossing any fences or harassing their stock.

The Salt is also a great place for beginners. There is plenty of room for casting and the water is very easy to read The Salt is a fairly small river, so wading can be an effective way of fishing. However, because of private property, strong currents and deep holes, you will find the river best fishes from a boat or a raft. With a guide to teach you the river, you’ll do much better than you will at the public access areas and you’ll be able to hit structures that the bank fishermen can’t reach.

One very favorable characteristic about the Salt is how early the water usually clears. Usually by about mid or late June the Salt can be fished, while other rivers are still in runoff.

The Salt is home to some very decent caddis hatches. From mid June through July, both early and late in the day, caddis can be very abundant. Krystal Flash Caddis, Peacock Caddis, Olive Stimulators and Elk Hair Caddis are usually effective patterns. During the day the Golden Stones may come off, so be sure to have an imitation in your fly box such as a PMX or Yellow Stimulator.

July brings about the lazy days of summer and some of the more popular hatches. In morning and late afternoon, if the conditions are right, Pale Morning Duns can come off the water in fairly decent numbers. You may also see some Grey Drakes, in which case a Parachute Adams will work nicely. During the day, fishing with a Pale Morning Dun, Yellow Sally and attractor patterns can be effective. Evening caddis hatches can be heavy. Toward the end of July, grasshoppers become more and more abundant and fish can be taken on their imitations.

August and September can be the best two months of the year to fish. The weather is warm, but not hot, and the afternoon winds tend to calm down at this time of the year. Fish can be taken on hoppers and big attractor patterns, thus making for an enjoyable day of top water fishing.

Besides trying to match the hatch, be sure to fish attractors. Some flies that would be a good idea to have in your box when heading toward the Salt are: Parachute Adams, PMX, Stimulators, Turck’s Tarantula, Chernobyl Ants and Dry Muddlers. Catching big fish is what the sport is about and fishing deep is how to stir them up. The Salt River has an ample supply of baitfish, therefore, streamers can be fairly effective in pulling fish off the bottom. Double Bunnies, Kiwi Muddlers, Wooly Buggers, Matuka’s, Zonkers, Girdle Buggers and a JJ Special will all work well.

Nymph fishermen will find the Salt a very enjoyable place to fish. The chances are that you will have a double digit day. Nymphs that you want to stock up on are Copper John, Beadhead Hare’s Ear and Beadhead Prince Nymphs.

Above everything else, the best part about fishing the Salt is the number of people you will see. The Salt doesn’t receive the pressure that some rivers in this area get so you may have an area to yourself.

Green River

The Green River , the second largest river in Wyoming, begins on the Western slopes of the Wind River Range. From there the Green flows 700 miles to where it meets the Colorado River. The Green is well known for it’s mayfly and caddis hatches and offers excellent nymph and streamer fishing for the native Colorado Cutthroat.

The very same Green River that joins the Colorado to form the Grand Canyon after going through Flaming Gorge canyon gets its start as a small glacial stream in the Wind River Mountains. Like the New Fork it dumps from the glaciers into a pair of lakes and emerges as a fast flowing, freestone river with a deep emerald color that give the Green its name. As it flows through the valley, it slows and begins to wind its way south. Bank structure provides holding ground for wild brown trout, while the freestone qualities created at the headwaters remain and hold a strong population of hard fighting rainbow trout.

The Green offers exciting fishing to any type of angler, beginner to advanced, fly or spin fisherman. Trophy browns and rainbows can surprise experienced anglers who work hard on the Green, but you don’t have to be an expert to catch fish.

Ham’s Fork River

The Ham’s Fork River is an out of the way stream with good size trout.  The Hams Fork headwaters originate at less than 10,000 feet. From the headwaters, the first 16 miles of the river lie on National Forest lands. Then the river flows thru private lands, but some access is available on tailwaters south of Viva Naughton and Kemmerer Reservoirs. Respect the rules when fishing the easement land. Be sure to pick up a current Wyoming fishing regulations book, or check locally for regs.

We have listed 3 access points for you here.

Bridger-Teton National Forest

  • Headwaters are reached by trail; you can drive for about 7 miles alongside the river; road access ends about 1 mile past the Hams Fork Campground

Viva Naughton Reservoir

  • Go north from Kemmerer on WY233 for about 14.5 miles; parking near the highway

BLM/ WY G&F

  • Go north from Kemmerer on WY233 for about 6 miles; follow access signed by WG&F (this is south of Kemmerer Reservoir)

South Piney Creek

South Piney Creek is a good size trout in a small stream.

New Fork River

new fork river wyoming
New Fork River

The New Fork River starts high in the Wind River Range as a glacial stream before flowing into the New Fork Lakes. From the lakes it flows as small a stream down the Green River Valley and behind the town of Pinedale. While it widens a bit after merging with Duck Creek, it is still a small, brushy stream at our first put in. Lots of willows, undercut banks, and sharp turns provide excellent habitat for German Brown Trout. Although the average fish is an impressive thirteen to nineteen inches, we see a few fish every year in the four to six pound class, and the chance for a trophy always exists.

The nature of the river, its size and heavy structure, make the New Fork a challenging and exciting river to fish. Large streamers presented quickly into the deepest, darkest holes draw the most fish, and while the New Fork is not a beginner’s river, anglers accustomed to this style of fishing will find the New Fork can hold unimaginable thrills.

LeBarge Creek… tight pocket water or small meadow stream fishing.

You can make as many fly fishing trips to Southwest Wyoming as you want, but you’ll never run out of new and exciting water to fish.

Northeast Wyoming

If fly fishing for trout in secluded scenic surroundings is what you’re after, this part of Wyoming should get your attention. Because most of the best fishing is not accessible from a paved highway, the trout water in this area tends to get very little pressure.

Some of the best fly fishing in the Northeast and central part of Wyoming will include…

Middle Fork of the Powder River

powder river wyoming
Powder River

The Middle Fork Powder River, nestled in the Southern Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, offers a secluded and rewarding fly fishing experience. This pristine river is a hidden gem for fly fishers, boasting an abundance of healthy brown and rainbow trout, and it remains blissfully untouched by the crowds.

Originating in the Southern Bighorn Mountains, the Middle Fork Powder River meanders through a picturesque canyon before winding its way into the rolling hills near Kaycee. As a tributary of the Yellowstone River, the Powder River stretches approximately 375 miles through southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming, cutting through the breathtaking landscapes of the Powder River Country. Its name derives from the sandy banks that resemble gunpowder.

Access to this angler’s paradise is somewhat limited, with just a ten-mile section flowing through the canyon being accessible, and only four access sites in the open area. Navigating these access roads requires a sturdy four-wheel drive vehicle, as they can become treacherous in inclement weather. The journey to the upper access sites can entail steep climbs in 4WD low, so be prepared with a full tank of gas, water, food, and emergency supplies for the remote adventure.

Despite the challenging access, the Middle Fork Powder River is worth every effort. This remarkable trout stream harbors an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 fish per mile within the canyon. With limited fishing pressure, these trout are known for their aggressiveness, readily taking attractor flies. The river is home to a variety of rainbow and brown trout, typically averaging 14 to 16 inches, with some trophy fish reaching 18 to 20 inches.

In essence, the Middle Fork Powder River is a hidden treasure for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking solitude and exceptional angling opportunities. Its pristine waters, abundant trout, and the absence of competition make it a true Wyoming fly fishing blue ribbon stream that promises an unforgettable experience for adventurous anglers.

Wind River

wind river wyoming
Wind River

The Wind River, often overlooked in favor of rivers like the Snake and Bighorn, is a hidden treasure for fly fishing. It flows through pristine wilderness, a captivating canyon, and sage-covered high plains, all while receiving very little fishing pressure.

Originating in Wind River Lake, northwest Wyoming, it journeys southeast towards Boysen Reservoir, traversing fifty miles through the Wind River Indian Reservation. Below the reservoir, the river transforms into a year-round tailwater fishery, featuring steep canyons, boulders, pocket water, and deep pools. While fish numbers may be lower, the trout here are much larger.

Above the reservoir, the Wind River is a typical Western freestone stream, home to diverse trout populations, primarily brown trout. Access is relatively straightforward as it flows through Shoshone National Forest, parallel to a highway.

The Wind River Canyon, below the reservoir, stretches 15 miles and offers prime opportunities for landing sizable brown, rainbow, or cutthroat trout, with the potential for trophy catches.

Despite its incredible potential, the Wind River remains relatively unexplored, making it a hidden blue ribbon stream in Wyoming where anglers can target huge trout without the usual competition found on more popular waters.

Big Horn Mountains

There are also plenty of small streams on the west slope of the Big Horn Mountains. Fly fishing these streams can produce some very large numbers of fish. These trout may not get as big as in some other areas, but make up for it in numbers of fish.

The Big Horn Mountains also offer hundreds of high mountain lakes full of hungry trout. These lake can be accessed by trail and are restricted to hikers and horseback. Because of these restrictions these lakes get very little pressure, so the trout can be pretty good sized.

Southeast Wyoming

The Southeast part of Wyoming is often over looked as a destination. At best, it doesn’t get the attention of the Northwest part of the state and Yellowstone.

North Platte

north platte river wyoming
North Platte

The North Platte River is one of fly fishing’s great rivers and casting a fly there could produce the fish of a lifetime. And with sections of the river holding over 6000 fish per mile, fly fishing trips to the North Platte can be unforgettable. The North Platte River  holds fish that will reach and exceed the 30 inch mark.

Two tailwater rivers of the North Platte River, the Miracle Mile and the Grey reef are the prime targets for big trout. These short river sections are nutrient rich, and support huge populations of scuds and other invertebrates. Trout feed on these protein-rich rivers 365 days a year, often growing to 5 pounds or more. The North Platte River is a free flowing river between the Colorado state line and Highway I-80. The North Platte River provides year-round fishing for large trout.

Laramie River

laramie river wyoming
Laramie River

The Laramie River is not a trophy stream but holds good numbers of browns and rainbows.

Few rivers flow from Colorado into Wyoming, from south to north. The Laramie is one such river, uniquely divided from the Poudre and North Platte drainages by a confusion of mountains in the northern part of Colorado. The Laramie River has a few things worth traveling for – some great scenery and some potentially large brown trout. This river may seem a bit off the beaten path, but is well worth a visit.

The Laramie doesn’t seem to get too crowded – maybe it’s the drive, or perhaps the variety of water close by. On the right day, you might be frequented by a caddis or drake hatch. Summer brings out the mosquitoes and hoppers. In the canyon section you can try the bigger flies. Strip a streamer or a plop a mouse near the bank and you might tempt one of the large browns from its hiding place.

Spring, summer or fall are great times to fish this area. The color contrast offered by the aspens, firs, pines, rocks, and grasses is spectacular any time of year. Thinking of winter? You might think again, or at least check ahead and be prepared as road conditions, ice, cold, and snow might impede your trip.

While you in the area of the Laramie, there are lots of other places to fish. On the Wyoming side, you’ll pass by the Laramie Plains Lakes and the Snowy Range (full of lakes and streams). On the Colorado side, there’s the Poudre River, numerous streams and lakes in North Park, the Rawah Wilderness, and on the north side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Make sure you’re organized and have licenses for both states before making this trip.

Encampment River

The Encampment River starts in Colorado, and flows through the Sierra Madre Mountains into the North Platte.  Much of the river is on BLM or Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest land, partly in the Encampment River Wilderness.

Another of Wyoming’s “Blue Ribbon” trout streams. A small to medium sized “freestone river” it provides excellent opportunities for both float and wade fishing. Noted for its fantastic Green Drake Hatch, the Encampment almost always runs clear, and hosts a strong population of wild browns and rainbows in the 10″-24″ range and averaging a healthy 13″-17.” Due to its remote location and very limited public access, the Encampment receives very little fishing pressure and is an excellent option to the larger North Platte.

Some access points include:

Northern Access

  • Go southwest from Encampment on Hwy 70 to BLM Rd 3047/ County Rd 353 (just southwest of town); follow this road to access area. A trail follows the river into the Encampment River Wilderness. It is about 15 miles from this trailhead to the trailhead near Hog Park Reservoir

Near Hog Park Reservoir

  • Go west from Encampment for 6 miles on Hwy 70; turn south onto USFS Rd 550 and travel for 20; near Hog Park Reservoir, turn southeast onto USFS Rd 496. This is the trailhead to follow the river downstream.

Best Times to Fish in Wyoming

August is a great time to experience the dry fly fishing you have read about in books and magazines. It doesn’t get much better than this.

In Jackson Hole, good rivers to target would be the Snake River and the Green River, one hour to the south. Both are excellent rivers with fun-as-can-be dry fly fishing using large (some would say huge) dry flies. And in case the fishing slips a little at either of these two fisheries, August also provides additional opportunities which are too numerous to list.

The Green River is continually dropping throughout August and can have great hopper fishing. The Snake is still fairly high at this time but, nonetheless, produces good action on large attractor dry flies. Many anglers only dream about the large dry fly style of fishing we experience on a regular basis in and around Jackson Hole. Size 10 and size 8 dry flies are the norm, with occasional excursions into the size 6 and 4 realm!

And if you think that’s cool, what if I told you it is often better to move and twitch your fly, not simply dead drift it? That’s right, these trout think they’re bass. Many don’t believe it until they see it with their own eyes.

Best Flies for Wyoming

Nymphs

  • Brassie
  • Copper John
  • LiteBright Serendipity
  • Midges
  • Pheasant Tail
  • Prince

Emergers

  • RS2
  • Sparkle Pupa (green) emergent

Dries

  • Adams
  • CDC/Deer Hair Caddis
  • CDC Micro Caddis
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Griffith’s Gnat
  • Green Drake
  • Humpy
  • Pale-morning Dun (spinner)
  • Renegade, Royal Humpy
  • Stimulator (yellow)

Others

  • Muddler Minnow
  • San Juan Worm
  • Scud

How to Books

Sale
Fishing Wyoming (Regional Fishing Series)
  • FISHING WYOMING
  • Graham, Kenneth Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 300 Pages - 04/18/1998 (Publication Date) - Falcon Pr Pub Co (Publisher)
Flyfisher's Guide to Wyoming
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Retallic, Ken (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 556 Pages - 08/01/2009 (Publication Date) - Wilderness Adventures Press (Publisher)
Wyoming Blue-Ribbon Fly Fishing Guide
  • Thomas, Greg (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 88 Pages - 05/08/2001 (Publication Date) - Frank Amato Pubns (Publisher)

All Wyoming River Guides

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