Bighorn River Fly Fishing in Wyoming

Wyoming’s Bighorn River offers giant trout without the crowds.
Wyoming’s Bighorn river is not as well known or pressured as the Montana section. Yet it ranks close to it’s Montana neighbor. Though it doesn’t hold the numbers of fish as the Montana section does, it still is reported to hold close to 2000 fish per mile.
Big fish and lots of em!
The Wyoming section of the Bighorn consistently produces big rainbows and browns. In fact, the Wyoming section offers a better opportunity to catch some really big fish. Unlike the Montana section you can fish the Wyoming Bighorn river in relative solitude.
Wyoming’s Bighorn flows through the North central part of the state. The river runs near the towns of Greybull, Worland and Thermopolis.
A Medium sized stream
The Bighorn in Wyoming is a medium sized stream that begins at the Wedding of Waters, below the Wind River Canyon near Thermopolis.
Excellent fly fishing
Fishing is excellent through Thermopolis and down stream for about 20 miles. Through this prime stretch there is plenty of access to the river. With eight boat ramps and some places with 100 foot easements along the banks, there is plenty of access for both float and wade fly fishing.
Catch browns, rainbows and cutthroats
The Bighorn river holds wild, naturally spawning brown trout as well as cutthroat and rainbow which are stocked by the Wyoming Game and Fish. Rainbows and cutthroat will average between 12 and 16 inches. Since these fish don’t get the pressure that their northern neighbors do, they are not bashful.
If you crave the excitement of fly fishing for big browns, this 20 mile section of the Bighorn is excellent for 20 inch browns. Brown trout from 3 to 5 pounds are common here.
The Bighorn is different from most tail waters because it’s flows stay fairly constant in the summer. This is because Boysen Reservoir is drained for irrigation. The flow will start to increase to handle spring runoff in late April and by mid July become steady again.
During the late summer the river grows quite a bit of moss and is best fished with nymphs. Some of the most popular patterns are sow bugs, prince nymphs, hares ears and pheasant tails. In August and September fish can be caught as they rise to pale morning duns, tricos and caddis. Good dry fly fishing will run into October. Streamers will also draw strikes from big fish in August extending through winter and into spring.
Wyoming’s Bighorn River may never be as popular as the Montana section of river with the same name. Yet it has large numbers of trophy trout ready to be taken in relative solitude. The Bighorn river in Wyoming may get little publicity but it is truly one of Wyoming’s blue ribbon streams.

Hatch Chart

Insect Size Begin Date End Date Best Time
Scud 14-18 1-Mar 30-Nov morning and evening
Midge 16-22 1-Mar 15-Jun afternoon and evening
Baetis 16-22 1-Mar 15-Jul afternoon and evening
Caddis 12-16 15-Apr 15-Oct morning and evening
Green Drake 10-12 1-May 15-Jun afternoon
Terrestrials 14-16 14-Jun 15-Oct morning and afternoon
PMD 16-18 15-Jun 30-Sep afternoon and evening
Little Yellow Stone 12-14 15-Jun 15-Sep morning and afternoon
Midge 16-22 15-Sep 30-Nov afternoon and evening
Baetis 16-22 15-Sep 30-Nov afternoon and evening
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