Wyoming Fly Fishing
The “Cowboy” state has some of the finest river’s to fly fish in the world. This past summer I left my home in Utah several times to explore new water in a state that I hadn’t spent much time in before. In the middle of the summer my friend Derek, my Uncle Kimble, and I met up for an unforgettable trip which included fly fishing in Yellowstone, and some of the amazing tributaries of the Snake River around Jackson Hole.
The rivers we fished had an abundance of golden stonefly exuviae laying on the surrounding rocks. There must have been a great hatch a month or so earlier, and unsurprisingly fish still keyed in on stonefly nymphs without hesitation.
Wyoming is home to some of the most scenic rivers in the west. Looking at these images gets me excited for summer to return.
Cutthroat trout are known for their willingness to rise to dry flies, but the three of us love Euro Nymphing and fished this method to the many cutthroat trout we came across. Not surprisingly, we were very successful covering the water with such an effective nymphing technique.
Wyoming is not only home to worldclass fly fishing, but most of Yellowstone and its amazing wildlife as well. We were lucky enough to cross paths with buffalo, as well as a handful of gigantic moose (including the big bull in the video and picture above). It was truly a trip to remember.
Today was the first day since warmer times that I had to scrape my windshield to clear the frost. That accompanied by the fact that its now November, caused me to reflect on this past summer and the many fishing adventures I had. The summer kicked off chasing tiger muskie in a nearby lake. I landed my two biggest tigers this year (both are shown in the video above). My son also got into some great bluegill and bass fishing at the same lake while I was chasing muskie.
That’s not to say I didn’t do some fishing of my own. Wyoming quickly became the state of exploration as I ventured into the southwest corner of the Cowboy state.
Derek even managed a trip up there with me. It proved to be one of our best trips this year.
On one occasion I fished a small stream that a friend of mine had once told me held large cutties that would hit a mouse pattern during the day. His stories proved to be true.
This year was a landmark year for my son. On one trip to Wyoming he caught his first fish on a fly that he tied himself. A stringy black and orange bugger with a white wing. It was the first cast of the day, and the only fish he caught that trip. I was one proud daddy. Not bad for a 5 year old!
It was a summer of doubles as well. During one two week period I hooked five doubles. Only two were landed since the other three had very large fish attached to at least one of my flies. Believe it or not, double are not that uncommon while french nymphing.
I bought a new macro lens last year, and this summer was the first time I got to practice shooting aquatic inverts. I was pleased with the way some of them turned out.
As always, I happened into a few bass along the way. Each year I venture out after these creatures more and more. They are a blast on a fly rod!
Derek and I were able to hit the Provo up a few times together. A nymphing paradise with every type of habitat a fish, or a fisherman, could hope to find.
As always, 90% of my fishing was done subsurface with flashy, heavily weighted flies. For most of the river’s I fish, I’m strongly convinced there is no better method for taking trout. I hope every fisherman feels this way about his preferred method of angling.
While deer hunting this year (technically fall, but I’m going to include it in this summer’s recap) I snuck up on a beautiful healthy black bear. This was one of my favorite highlights outside of fishing.
Although summer has past, great fishing has not. Fall is the season of streamers and although I haven’t gotten out near as much as I hoped (I never do :-)) great fishing continues. Tight lines and FISH ON!
I live roughly two hours away from excellent fishing in Wyoming, forty minutes away from great Idaho water, and of course my home waters of Utah. Of these three, Wyoming is the one that I have dedicated the least amount of time to. What I’ve learned recently however is Southwest Wyoming has more phenomenal water than I had originally thought. I’ve been up there twice in the last week and a half, and with a two day ~fish till you drop~ trip planned for next weekend, I’m making my way to the tip of the Wyoming Fly Fishing Iceberg, and loving every minute of my climb.
We’ve camped 20 minutes from this beautiful Wyoming river for years, never once venturing with our nymphs into the deep to find what hidden gems exist. With fins and cutt marks as bright as emeralds, I dare say we will return often in the future.
Although known for their willingness to rise to dries, we decided to nymph the pocket water. My Uncle Kimble has a love for fishing heavy tungsten in deep trout filled waters. Some of the largest fish of the trip were caught drifting near the bottom of walking speed, belly deep water. Looking back, I’m not surprised. Perfect big fish water.
Like many neighboring streams, it appears a decent salmonfly hatch occurred here just weeks before we fished it. One sign of salmonfly exuviae and out comes the Rowley Stone. It dominated the pocket water. Once again, not surprised.
Smiley, the Snake River Cutthroat. The trout ranged from 5 inches to 17, all with unique beauty of their own. The most successful flies were the Two-toned Surveyor, Rowley Stone, Lickety Split, Frenchie, and the Black Jack. Anyone surprised? If so, it’s probably because you’ve never fished these flies. Tie one on once, and there’s no denying their deadliness.
One of the highlight of the trip was when a cow moose and her baby crossed the stream just 20 yards downstream of us. What we didn’t know was that daddy was close behind. Just seconds after the mothers crossing we noticed one of the largest bull moose I have ever seen emerge from the riparian veg. He briefly smelled our way, and after a short minute he followed in the cows footsteps crossing the river and once again disappearing into the green foliage. Of course my camera was buried deep in my pack, but a snapshot of their crossing is etched in my memory for good.
As we ventured 20 miles or so upstream we found the size of the stream to diminish, but the size of the fish and my admiration for this stream did not. I soon will return to continue my exploration of Wyoming streams that I yet to fish. If it continues to amaze me I won’t really be surprised. Perfect trout water far and wide.