Anglers all over the US and further afield dream of fishing Wyoming’s streams, rivers, and lakes. With crystal clear water and healthy populations of more than 22 different types of gamefish, there’s plenty to keep you busy here. Wyoming is the least populated state in the USA and is full of promising wilderness areas to escape the hustle and focus on fly fishing.
Wyoming is particularly well known for its trout fly fishing. You can catch four types of native cutthroats as well as brown, brook, and lake trout, too. With miles upon miles of Blue Ribbon and Gold Ribbon waterways, the Wyoming fly fishing experience is like none other.
Here’s our complete guide to fly fishing in Wyoming! Read on to find out what regulations you’ll need to know about and discover the top fly fishing locations in Wyoming.
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Wyoming Fishing License
You’ll need a Wyoming fishing license before you can head out on the water and get fishing. There are both resident and non-resident options available, and you can buy your license online or in many stores across Wyoming. Licenses are valid from January until December of any calendar year.
For a resident, the daily license costs $6, or you can opt for the $24 annual license. There’s an annual youth fishing license available for young people aged from 14-18 which is just $3, and kids 13 or younger don’t need a license at all.
The non-resident daily license costs $14, while the non-resident annual permit will set you back $102. The non-resident youth annual license costs $15.
If you decide to go for an annual license, you’ll also need a Conservation Stamp ($10 for residents and $12.50 for non-residents).
Wyoming Fishing Regulations
Before you set off on any Wyoming fly fishing trips, make sure you’re aware of the local fly fishing regulations. You’ll need to find out daily bag limits for fish, what kind of lures/flies you can use, and where it’s catch-and-release only.
Even if you’re aware of the state regulations, the rules can vary from location to location. So it’s always a good idea to look up your chosen fishing spot to see which rules are in place. You can find out more from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website here.
Here’s our quick overview of the Wyoming fishing regulations (correct at time of publishing). You can possess a maximum of 3 trout from a stream or river and a maximum of 6 trout from a lake on a single day. The burbot bag limit is 3 per day, and the limit for both smallmouth and largemouth bass is 6 per day.
There’s also an overall creel limit per day of 50 fish, which includes everything from crappies to sunfish, bass, and perch). You must not use corn as bait for fishing, or fish with trout beads or using artificial lights.
Wyoming Fishing Report
All anglers know that you should check out the conditions of any fishing spot before you head out. That way, you can prepare yourself, pack the right gear and flies, and catch more fish!
The easiest way to do this is by reading local fishing reports for the spot you’re planning on fishing. Dedicated anglers update these reports with the latest water conditions, depth of the water, and how the fish are behaving. Want to know if something’s hatching right now? The fishing reports are where to look!
Best Lakes and Rivers in Wyoming for Fly Fishing
With more than 20,000 miles of fly fishing rivers in Wyoming and a huge selection of lakes, you might be stuck on where to head first! Here’s our round-up of the best Wyoming fly fishing locations!
Yellowstone National Park
We couldn’t talk about fly fishing in Wyoming without mentioning the iconic Yellowstone National Park. Among the mountains, canyons, meadows, and geysers, you’ll find lakes, rivers, and trout streams sprawled throughout the park. The clear, alkaline water makes for a perfect environment for trout, which grow to massive sizes here.
You can fish for mountain whitefish and grayling, as well as five species of trout: cutthroat, lake, brown, brook, and rainbow trout.
In the Yellowstone, you’re guaranteed to find an excellent spot to fish anytime from May through to October. Just make sure you stay on the lookout for brown and grizzly bears!
Snake River is one of the best spots to fish in North-West Wyoming, especially for fly fishing Jackson Hole locations. Flowing through the Grand Teton National Park, you’ll be rewarded with jawdropping scenery, sights of the local wildlife, and incredible fly fishing.
It’s all about dry fly trout fishing on the Snake River! There’s nothing quite like landing a big dry fly and waiting for a bite from the cutthroat trout that lurk below the surface.
Snake River has good public access, especially at Emily Stevens Park. You can float or wade this river; the side streams and pockets make for productive and fun wade fishing. If you’re heading out on a raft, kayak, or boat, take extra care in the Snake River Canyon, where the water is fast-flowing and wild!
Miracle Mile, North Platte River
If you’re looking for a fly fishing spot in Central Wyoming, Miracle Mile on the North Platte River Wyoming fits the bill. You’ll find it on the section that runs from Pathfinder Reservoir to Kortes Reservoir, about 60 miles from Casper.
It’s easily accessible and home to rainbow trout, brown trout, and the occasional cutthroat trout. The riffles, runs, and deep pockets are great fun to fish.
If you plan on taking a trip to the Miracle Mile from Casper, make sure to check the conditions before setting out. Heavy rains and high waters can make the roads impassable, and you don’t want to get stranded. Pack plenty of nymph flies as well as a few streamers and dry flies.
Grey Reef, North Platte River
Grey Reef is another fantastic spot for North Platte River fly fishing. The Grey Reef is a tailwater fishery, downriver from 5 different dams. As a result, the fishing is consistent all year round, even during the spring runoff.
The cold water conditions and the ample supply of scuds and leeches make this the perfect environment for cutthroat trout, rainbows, and browns. In fact, the fish number more than 3,000 per mile on the Grey Reef stretch. The best section is the first 13 miles, but the whole Grey Reef area is suitable for trout fishing on the fly.
You stand the chance of catching trophy-size fish on the Grey Reef, with some specimens measuring 25-30 inches and weighing 15+ pounds! You can fish or drift this section, or hire one of the local guides to show you the hottest spots.
The trout tend to prefer troughs out in the main current of the river, rather than lurking along the banks. Nymphs, emergers, and streamers are all effective flies to use!
If you’re looking for a quiet, productive spot for some fly fishing, head to Flat Creek in Jackson Hole. Flat Creek is a fly-fishing-only zone and very calm, making it one of the top Wyoming rivers for sight fishing. With no overhanging vegetation, you’ll have no trouble casting here.
Dry fly trout fishing is productive here, so stock up on your favorite dry fly patterns. Cutthroat trout grow to healthy sizes in this carefully managed spring creek, with many fish measuring 20 inches or more!
Flat Creek is a tricky river to fish, so you’ll need to brush up on all your best casting and presentation techniques. The water teems with insects, and there’s plentiful forage for the fish. That means that it’s essential to achieve that natural presentation to trick the fish into biting.
You should also keep your eye out for what’s hatching, and try to match it as closely as possible. If you’re up for a challenge, Flat Creek is the perfect fly fishing spot for you!
The Wind River Range
The Wind River Range offers mountain lake fishing for golden trout and other species in the midst of incredible scenery. Although it takes longer to reach these high elevation locations, the reward comes in the rich pickings, the quiet solitude, and the spectacular views.
As well as the rare golden trout measuring 18+ inches, you’ll also find cutthroat trout as well as brookies and rainbows.
The best spot for rainbows is in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness Area. The best way to access this area is by entering the Wind River Indian Reservation. You’ll need to buy a tribal license and hire one of the local tribal guides to help you maneuver through this wild territory.
Gros Ventre River
The Gros Ventre is one of the top trout rivers in Wyoming. You’ll find hungry Finespotted cutthroats here, and they aren’t picky!
Although the fish tend to be smaller here, ranging from 8 inches to around 14 inches, the fly fishing action is consistent and great fun! The best time to fish the Gros Ventre River is from July until the end of the season.
The upper stretches of the Gros Ventre at Slide Lake or beyond offer productive pockets of water and fewer anglers. There’s also easy access lower down at the National Elk Refuge. Parking here is easy, but you do have to hike through the brush. Bears and moose roam here, so don’t let your guard down!
A Rubber Leg Stimulator is an excellent fly to use to imitate the stoneflies that thrive in this river. Streamers also work wonders, and you won’t go wrong with a Purple Chubby, either!
Wyoming Fly Fishing FAQ
Where is the best fly fishing in Wyoming?
Wyoming has some superb fly fishing spots. Some of the best fly fishing in Wyoming is in the Yellowstone National Park, Wind River mountain range, and on Snake River and Flat Creek.
Where is the best fly fishing in the US?
Every fly angler will have a different answer! The US has a wide range of options for fly fishing, but some of the best states for fly anglers are Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Where can I fish in Jackson Hole?
You’ll be spoilt for choice for excellent fishing spots near Jackson Hole. Some of the best places to go for fly fishing in Jackson Hole include the Gros Ventre River, Hoback River, Green River, and Jackson Lake.
The Wrap Up
The fly fishing in Wyoming is a dream for any angler! From sparkling mountain streams to lakes teeming with golden trout, you’ll be sure to find the perfect spot for a fly fishing trip or vacation. With stunning scenery and some of the best cutthroat trout fishing around, you’ll have an incredible fishing trip.
Now you know the best spots in WY, all you need to do is:
- Get yourself to your local fly shop to pick up some big nymphs and streamer patterns,
- Grab your fly rod and gear,
- Buy your Wyoming fishing license,
- and get out on the water!
Whether you go it alone or hire a guide service, you’re all set for some epic fly fishing.
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