The state of Wyoming packs a real powerful punch when it comes to fly fishing. Here, you’ll be able to fish from the shore, wade, float, or boat as you check out the many rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs, some of which are alpine.
Here you can fish for such species as yellow perch, walleye, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, golden trout, brookies, lake trout, tiger trout, northern pike, crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass.
There are actually over 22 different game fish species to be found here. This variety is due to the fact there are warm and cold waters.Of course, the fishing is made all the sweeter thanks to the absolutely stunning scenery and landscapes that surround you.
Where to Fly Fish in Wyoming
When a state offers 27,000 miles worth of streams and 4,200 lakes, it makes you do a second take, and that's exactly why people are raving about the fly fishing in Wyoming. As mentioned, you’ll have access to more than 22 different species of game fish, so you may want to build your trip around the type of fish you’re hoping to catch.
Wyoming Fishing Map
The Wyoming Fish & Game Department Fishing Guide is an excellent resource for planning your next fishing trip. To make life easier we've created an interactive map of all the fishing locations discussed in the WFGD Fishing Guide (shown below).
Here's a look at some of the most popular areas in the state. Keep in mind that there are far too many to highlight, so you’re encouraged to dig deeper.
Yellowstone National Park
Not only is this popular with tourists thanks to the stunning scenery, but it also makes for an ideal spot to fish. You will find more streams and lakes concentrated here than any other place in the world. If you’re only going to visit one spot in Wyoming, this should be the top of your list.
The fishing season runs from mid-May until the beginning of November, giving you a few solid months to enjoy the sport. This area is known for seven species of fish, which are the brown, cutthroat, rainbow, brook, and lake trout, grayling, and mountain whitefish.
There are four main sections in Yellowstone National Park, which are the southwest, southeast, northeast, and northwest. Each offers their own unique experience and lakes/rivers.
Fly selection is largely dictated by the season. Dry-fly fishing is excellent during the busy months of June and July, and then by August you should be using artificial crickets, ants, grasshoppers, and beetles.
Come October, large streamer flies should bring in trout that are territorial and aggressive.
Check out our DIY Guide to Fly Fishing in Yellowstone National Park for more information and maps of where to fish.
Big/Little Laramie Rivers
Fishing on the Big Laramie River means you'll have an excellent opportunity to catch brown trout. As an added bonus even during peak fishing season, this area tends to stay quiet and uncrowded. Wade fishing is excellent along this river, except in the summer when the water levels raise.
There are certain sections of the river that are ideal for rainbow trout if you prefer. This river is ideal for beginners.
If you’re up for more of a challenge, the Little Laramie River is a better option. First off, it's harder to find areas that are open to the public, but once you do, you'll find these fish much harder to catch. There are more varieties available here, as you can find brook, cutthroat, rainbow, and brown trout.
Both of these rivers are best visited from mid-May until early July. Then you can come back in the fall when fishing picks up again.
Not far from Alcova, Wyoming is the Grey Reef. This is actually part of the North Platte River, and more specifically, its tailwater part. If you're interested in catching fish that are impressive and big, this is the place to do it. Here, you can find browns, cutthroats, and rainbows that are 8 to 12 pounds in size.
It is suggested that you fish by a drift boat and keep in mind that much of this area is private access only. It should be noted that during the spring and fall months the fish will be spawning, so you will want to make sure that you aren't endangering this process at all while wading.
The Grey Reef is well known for excellent dry fly fishing. Streamers and two-fly nymph rigs are commonplace here, too.
Wind River Range
The Wind River Range is vast, filled with a large variety of species, boasts of mountain peaks as high as 13,000 feet, and has that remote outdoorsy feel. If you want to get away from it all and really enjoy the outdoors while you fish, this is the place to be.
When planning your visit, fall and spring are the ideal times, but because of the snow there can be times where a lake isn't going to be accessible to you until the end of the summer.
Because so many of the lakes are located at high elevations, you'll find there is lots of ice and rock, so you will need to be careful as you are traversing the terrain.
There are all kinds of lakes to be explored, so it can be a bit overwhelming. A good idea if you plan to fish here is to pick up a map or guidebook of the area so that you can plan your route.
Here, you will find golden trout that are quite large, as well as rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout.
Teton Wilderness is a little less known than some of the bigger locations, but it's still a great place to find cutthroat and lake trout. The land mass is huge here, spanning over half a million acres. It borders Yellowstone Park, so you can always tie these two locations together.
The best time to visit this area is during the summer when the cutthroat are abundant. The area is great for shore fishing or by boat. If you're going to be fishing from the shore, it's usually best to do so in the spring, as soon as the last of the ice has melted. You don’t want to wait too long as the water will heat up and you won’t be quite as successful.
Now, it is important to note that because this one is so remote and in the middle of the complete wilderness that you need to be aware of the wildlife around you. This is bear country, so being prepared is key.
Best Time to Fly Fish in Wyoming
The fishing season lasts all year round in Wyoming, but with that said, weather conditions can force areas to close down from time to time in the winter.
Wyoming gets quite cold during the winter months and is notorious for getting lots of snow and ice. Not only does this affect the fishing, it also affects your comfort level while being in the outdoors.
Instead, spring, summer, and fall are safer and more comfortable bets. The best hatches in Wyoming typically occur in May through the end of October, but this can vary slightly depending on where you're fishing.
What You Will Need When You Get There?
Choosing the proper rod depends on where you'll be fishing. For instance, if you're heading to the popular destination of Yellowstone National Park, you can use a four to six weight line on an eight or nine foot rod. In you are streamer fishing in the fall a sink-tip line is a great option.
While fishing on a lake, a full-sinking line is usually a safe bet. This gives you a better idea of how the location helps to determine your gear.
There are many opportunities to fish from the shore or wade all across the state, so with that said, invest in a good pair of chest waders so you can take full advantage of the area. If you plan on wading during the colder months, be sure to pick appropriate waders that protect you from the cold water.
Wyoming Fishing Regulations
A fishing license is required for anyone 14 years of age and older. Both residents and non-residents are required to have the license. You can buy it as a daily license if you're visiting from out of state, or as an annual one if you live in Wyoming.
While inquiring about the fishing license, it’s also a good idea to ask about the regulations in the areas you plan to fish in. There may be catch and release policies in effect, limits, and/or restrictions. Be sure to check a copy of the current Wyoming Fishing Regulations for stream restrictions before fishing.
Wyoming is filled with opportunities for beginner and advanced anglers, and thanks to its variety of species available, it makes for a great destination. Just keep in mind that the ice and snow can affect which lakes and rivers are open for fishing, so you’ll want to check in advance that the lake or river you are heading to will actually be open for fishing before you head there.
Even though Yellowstone National Park is the top choice for most anglers, it’s well worth considering the many other options the state offers.