Does the thought of catching a fighting Rainbow trout weighing from two to ten pounds make you drool? How about casting a fly over rippling waters while bald eagles soar overhead? Or floating a cold river, reeling in trout and having a view of snow-covered mountain peaks rising not far away?
Ask any serious fisherman (or woman) in Wyoming where to find the biggest trout and the best waters and they might feed you a fish story. After all, it’s fairly common for anglers not to share all their secret fishing holes. But that doesn’t matter. There is so much good trout fishing in Wyoming, you will almost certainly have success, and besides, local tackle shops and fishing outfitters are in business to help you succeed, whether you are an experienced angler or just a novice.
The only native trout species in Wyoming is the Cutthroat Trout and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has a program that recognizes anglers who catch each of the four subspecies of cutthroat trout – Bonneville, Colorado River, Yellowstone and Snake River Cutthroat – known as “the Cutt Slam.”
The two most desirable trout in the state are Rainbows – known for their great fight once they have struck a fly – and Brown Trout, which are usually the largest trout caught in Wyoming.
Where will you find these trout? Start at the headwaters of the North Platte – from Saratoga upstream to the Wyoming-Colorado state line – a free-flowing stretch of water known as a blue ribbon fishery for its number and size of trout. Experienced anglers will tell you it is not unheard of to catch (and release) upwards of 80 trout in a day on the North Platte, many of them weighing in at two or more pounds; some tipping the scales at 10 pounds. The upper reach of the river is a demanding stretch during high water and the fishing is best once the spring runoff has concluded and the water clears. It is also prime in early fall.
From Saratoga head north to Casper, and then strike out for the Miracle Mile, a stretch of the North Platte River located between the Seminoe and Pathfinder Reservoirs. The “mile” varies in length depending on the water levels in the two reservoirs and here you have the option to fish a river, or engage in reservoir fishing on either of the two big bodies of water.
From Casper travel west and north to Cody, where you have exceptional waters to fish including the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River and the North fork of the Shoshone River. These rivers are prime waters beginning soon after spring melt and continuing until late fall.
From the Cody country, travel through Yellowstone – known for its own quality fishing – to the Snake River in Jackson Hole, another great place to wet a fly. You’ll find that fishing and floating the Snake River is relaxing and exhilarating. You’ll have the chance to see the sparkle of a Rainbow making his run after he hits your fly, and can enjoy a view of the majestic Teton range all at the same time.