Best Fly Fishing in Wyoming

Man fly fishing in Wyoming stream with mountains in the background
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Wyoming offers you an exceptional fly fishing experience set against the backdrop of the state’s rugged natural beauty. From the renowned Snake River to the vast expanse of Yellowstone National Park, the variety of fishing opportunities across Wyoming’s 27,000 miles of pristine waterways is unmatched. As you explore these waters, you’re likely to encounter the native Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat trout, along with brown, lake, and rainbow trout, creating a fly fisher’s haven where every cast can connect you with the heart of the American West.



Snake River

The Snake River offers exceptional fly fishing opportunities, particularly known for its healthy population of trout. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park border sections of the river, providing a stunning backdrop for anglers.

  • Types of Trout: Primarily finespotted cutthroat trout.
  • Fishing Regulations: Be sure to check the latest regulations, as they can vary based on the section of the river and time of year.

Recommended Gear:

  • Fly Rods: A 5 or 6-weight fly rod is ideal.
  • Fly Reels: Match your reel to your rod; a 5/6 fly line reel works well.
  • Fly Selection: Dry flies and nymphs that match the current hatches.

The river’s flow varies, with some sections better suited for wade fishing and others requiring a drift boat. The diverse aquatic insects facilitate robust hatches, entice the local trout, and contribute to a thriving wildlife ecosystem alongside the river.

When planning your trip, consider the seasons. Spring and fall can provide solitude and active fishing periods. Remember, proper catch and release techniques help maintain the river’s pristine fishing conditions.

Green River

When considering the premier fly fishing destinations in Wyoming, the Green River emerges as an unmatched location due to its abundant trout population and pristine waters. This river is particularly noted for a chance to catch trophy-sized brown, cutthroat, and rainbow trout.

Recommended Gear

When casting your line here, it’s advisable to use a 9′ 5-weight fly rod. This setup gives you the versatility needed for both wide sections of the river and the strength to land larger fish. Equip yourself with a suitable reel and line, and you’re set for a successful day on the water.

Flies:

  • For dry flies, have a selection that imitates the local hatches, such as Grey Drakes and Caddis.
  • Streamers are particularly effective, especially patterns like articulated sculpins.
  • During winter, nymphs that mimic the larvae and pupae stages of insects can be fruitful.

Fishing Spots

Start your adventure at Warren Bridge Fishing Access for easy entry to various stretches of the river. Other notable spots include:

  • Daniel, Wyoming: Multiple accesses from Highway 191.
  • Pinedale: Renowned for its Stonefly and Grey Drake hatches in early summer.

Note: In February, be mindful that the river levels may be high, impacting clarity and accessibility. It’s often best to wait for waters to settle.

The Green River offers a serene and productive fly fishing experience. With the right gear and knowledge of effective flies, this Wyoming jewel will surely reinforce its reputation as a top fly fishing haunt.

North Platte River

The North Platte River flows gently through the picturesque Wyoming landscape, surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains, offering the best fly fishing experience for outdoor enthusiasts

The North Platte River stands as a premier destination for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking the thrill of hooking brown trout and rainbows in Wyoming. Characterized by its clear waters and abundant trout populations, this river offers a variety of fishing experiences throughout its stretches.

Fishing Regulations

Before casting your line, familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations, which are put in place to protect these valuable fisheries. These rules ensure the sustainability of the trout population for years to come. Ensure you have the necessary permits and understand the catch and release areas, as well as any seasonal restrictions.

What You’ll Catch

Anglers often report sizeable catches of brown trout and rainbow trout on the North Platte. Thanks to conservation efforts and river management, fish here grow quickly, and trophies are not uncommon.

Where to Fish

Look for sections below Grey Reef Dam for highly productive waters. This area, known for a higher density of fish, can offer a particularly rewarding experience.

Recommended Gear

To maximize your success, equip yourself with a 9-foot, 5 to 6 weight fly rod, a variety of nymphs and streamers, and, of course, a good selection of dry flies for those exciting surface bites. Consider the river conditions and insect hatches when selecting your flies.

Remember, success on the North Platte River comes from a combination of skill, patience, and the right gear. Keep your approach adaptive, respect the river’s ecosystem, and enjoy one of Wyoming’s most cherished fly fishing locations.

Bighorn River

The Bighorn River in Wyoming is a prime destination for avid fly fishers. This river’s prolific waters are home to an abundance of trout, including the cutthroat, which is highly prized among anglers. The fishing season varies throughout the year, so it’s essential to check local regulations for the best times to cast your line.

Access and Permits:

  • You are required to obtain a permit for fishing on portions of the river, especially through the Crow tribe lands.
  • Permits can vary in cost, with a one-day permit averaging around $40 and a week-long permit at approximately $90.

Recommended Gear:

  • A medium-action fly rod, ideally between 4 and 6 weight, will provide the versatility needed for the varying conditions of the Bighorn.
  • Stock your fly box with local patterns; mayflies, caddis, and nymphs are often successful.
  • Leaders between 9 and 12 feet can be beneficial, depending on water clarity.

During the fishing season, flows are typically stable, thanks to the Yellowtail Dam’s regulation. This stability contributes to consistent hatches and, consequently, some outstanding fly fishing opportunities. For up-to-date information and guided trips, you can reach out to services like Bighorn River Outfitters or local experts like Mike Vaughn.

Flies to Consider:

  • Midges
  • Scuds
  • Sowbugs
  • San Juan Worms
  • Terrestrials (in late summer)

The Bighorn River’s reputation as a high-quality fly fishing destination is well-deserved. With proper preparation and adherence to local guidelines, your experience on the Bighorn can be both memorable and rewarding.

Wind River

Nestled within Wyoming’s spectacular Wind River Range, the Wind River offers you some of the finest fly fishing experiences. The rugged mountain scenery coupled with the abundant waterways creates a premier destination for anglers seeking solitude and a chance to catch the native cutthroat trout.

Fly Fishing on the Wind River:

  • Rivers and Streams: The Wind River flows from the mountains, offering diverse fishing opportunities in both the freestone sections above Boysen Reservoir and the productive tailwaters below. Streams interlace the range, adding layers of fishable waters.
  • Cutthroat Trout: The river is known for its substantial cutthroat trout populations. Conserving these native species is a priority for local fishing communities.
  • Wind River Range: This area boasts over 2,000 lakes and 1,500 miles of streams, including spots renowned for large golden trout, as some record-breaking catches were made here.

When planning your trip, consider the time of year and weather conditions, as they can significantly influence the fishing quality. Early summer to fall tends to offer the best prospects for fruitful days on the water.

Recommended Gear:

For a successful outing, equip yourself with:

  • Rod: A 9-foot 5-weight fly rod is versatile for most conditions.
  • Reels: Opt for a reel with a smooth drag system, suitable for the size of your rod and line.
  • Lines: Weight-forward floating lines match the rod weight and are apt for most Wind River scenarios.
  • Flies: Have a mix of dry flies, nymphs, and streamers, with patterns suitable for cutthroat, such as Elk Hair Caddis and Bead Head Nymphs.

Strategically approach the Wind River using stealth and mindful conservation practices to maintain this pristine fishery for future generations.

Grey Reef Reservoir

At Grey Reef Reservoir, you’ll find one of Wyoming’s premier fly fishing spots, located 30 miles south of Casper. It’s a favored destination for anglers seeking to catch Rainbow Trout, with fish here averaging 16-20 inches. With a notable population of Brown Trout as well, the Grey Reef section of the North Platte River offers an exceptional fishing experience.

Fishing Spot:
The tailwater section below the reservoir presents you with the chance for a serene and productive fishing day. Despite the predominance of private lands along this stretch, there are public access points that allow you to enjoy the Reef.

Accessibility:
Getting to Grey Reef from Laramie involves a drive of about 2.5 hours, which is well worth the effort given the quality of fishing on offer.

Recommended Gear:

  • Rod: A 9′ 5wt rod for dry flies and nymphs will serve you well here.
  • Flies: Nymphs such as the Pheasant Tail or midge patterns are effective, along with streamers for bigger trout.

Remember that while Grey Reef is accessible year-round, the best times for fly fishing tend to be in the spring and fall due to fish behavior and water conditions.

Always check local fishing reports and regulations before your trip to ensure you have the correct permits and are aware of any seasonal restrictions that may be in place.

Salt River

The Salt River in Wyoming presents a serene and rewarding fly fishing experience, especially due to its offerings of brook trout and brown trout. If you’re seeking fishing opportunities that combine tranquility with rich aquatic life, the Salt River is a spot you shouldn’t miss.

Fishing Opportunities

Fly fishing on the Salt River is notable for its accessibility and the variety of trout available. You’ll find healthy populations of:

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout

Habitat and Access

The river flows north from the Salt River Mountain Range through the scenic Star Valley and provides numerous fishing opportunities along its course. You’ll enjoy wading and floating sections which are easily reachable, giving you ample chances to cast your line in both secluded areas and open stretches.

Recommended Gear

Your gear should include:

  • A light to medium-fast action rod, around 9 feet, 4-6 weight.
  • Floating line counterpart for dry flies and small to medium-sized nymphs.
  • Leaders: 9-12 ft with 4X to 6X tippet.

Seasonal Considerations

Different seasons offer unique experiences:

  • Spring and Fall: Water levels are conducive to fly fishing.
  • Summer: Offers prime dry-fly fishing, especially in the evenings.
  • Winter: Can be challenging, but midge hatches provide opportunities for finesse fishing.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to fly fishing, the Salt River’s combination of remarkable settings and the promise of brook trout and brown trout make it a destination to be explored with confidence. Remember to check local regulations and obtain the necessary permits before heading out.

Firehole River

Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park is a premier destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. Embrace the serene beauty as you cast your line amidst geysers and hot springs, a truly distinctive atmosphere.

Prime Locations

  • Headwaters: Ideal for solitude and smaller streams.
  • Above Firehole Falls: Most productive stretch with significant fish population.
  • Below Firehole Falls: Offers a varied fishing experience.

Hatches and Fish Species

The river is home to brown and rainbow trout. During the season, prolific hatches of caddis can provide excellent dry fly fishing opportunities.

Recommended Gear

For a successful outing:

  • Rod: 9-foot 5-wt fly rod.
  • Lines: Floating line for dry flies and small nymphs.
  • Leader and Tippet: Tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet sizes 3X to 6X.

Fishing Tips

  • Overcast, stormy days may increase your chance of a good catch.
  • Caddis imitations are highly effective during the hatch.
  • Fish from shore to minimize startling the trout.

Note: Always check the current rules and regulations before planning your trip, as regulations in Yellowstone are strict to preserve the natural beauty and fish populations of the river.

South Fork Shoshone River

The South Fork Shoshone River flows through picturesque Wyoming, offering the best fly fishing opportunities with its clear waters and abundant fish

When targeting the South Fork of the Shoshone River, you’ll be casting your line in one of Wyoming’s most scenic fly fishing destinations. Known for its robust cutthroat trout population, this area presents a delightful challenge for anglers of all skill levels.

Before you head out, ensure you have a valid fishing license, a necessary requirement in Wyoming. Licenses are easily attainable online or at local outfitters.

Recommended Gear

  • Rods: 3-5 weight fly rods
  • Reels: Matching reel with a smooth drag
  • Lines: Floating lines for dry flies and nymphing; sink tip lines can be beneficial for streamers
  • Flies: Caddis, green drakes, pale morning duns, woolly buggers

Access Tips:

  • Keep in mind access may be somewhat limited; much of the river runs through private lands.
  • Look for legal access points, often found along state highways and national forest boundaries.

Fishing the South Fork:

  • Fishing is particularly fruitful for brookies and cutthroat trout, often averaging 8 to 14 inches.
  • Launch your excursion from the southwest of Cody, Wyoming, and explore the various sections offering different fishing experiences.
  • Evening hours can be especially rewarding when insect hatches bring trout to the surface.

Remember, respect the river and its inhabitants by following catch-and-release practices and being mindful of the ecosystem. With your gear prepared and knowledge secured, you’re set for a memorable experience on the South Fork Shoshone River.

Upper North Fork Shoshone River

Crystal clear river flows through rugged Wyoming landscape, surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains, perfect for fly fishing

When you’re seeking a premier fly fishing experience in Wyoming, the Upper North Fork Shoshone River offers a compelling adventure. This portion of the river demands respect for being in the Absaroka Wilderness, characterized by remote and rugged terrain where grizzly bears roam, thus never fish or hike alone here.

Location & Access:

  • Originates at 8,184 feet elevation
  • Confluence of Hughes and Silvertip Creeks
  • Located below Hughes Basin

What to Expect:

  • The water here is pristine and cold, suited for native fish.
  • Access to the most upper parts may require hiking or horseback.

Fish Species:

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Brook Trout
  • Occasionally, large Brown Trout in Fall

Fishing Tips:

  • Be stealthy. These wild trout are not tolerant of heavy footprints.
  • Match the hatch meticulously, as fish in these waters can be selective.

Recommended Gear:

  • Lightweight rod: 3 to 5 weight
  • Breathable waders for mobility
  • Bear spray for safety

Before venturing out, check the latest fishing reports for current conditions and hatch information. Proper preparation ensures not only a successful day with rod and reel but also a safe return from these beautiful yet wild fishing grounds.

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