Fishing Wind River Country
Wind River Country sports some of the best fishing in 43,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs and nearly 2,000 miles of streams fed by mountain snow melt. Try day fishing or go for the elusive golden trout on an epic backcountry trip.
Know Before You Go
You’ll need a fishing license, which are sold at most outdoor retail stores in the area. Here are the licenses offered:
- Non-Resident Annual License- $92
- Non-Resident Daily Pass- $14
- Annual Non-Resident Youth Pass (14 to 18 years old)- $15
- Annual Resident License- $24
- Resident Daily Pass- $6
- Resident Daily Youth Pass (14 to 18 years old)- $3
Be aware of where you plan to fish. If you plan to fish on the Wind River Indian Reservation you need a different permit. When you go to get your license, ask about the special fishing permit needed for the Reservation.
Wind River Experience
I’m never surprised when I hear someone spent their weekend fishing in Wind River Country. No matter the time of year, if you want, you can fish.
Most recreation enthusiasts are lured to Wind River Country by the mountains and rivers that share the name. Fishermen and women are no exception.
The Wind River Mountains boast incredible rugged scenery, complete with high mountain lakes that are home to cutthroat and brook trout, along with a smattering of rainbow and brown trout and grayling, Kevin Johnson, the regional fisheries supervisor with the Wyoming Game and Fish told me.
But it is usually the golden trout that people seek. Named for its coloring, golden with swaths of reds or pinks, the fish exist in few areas. They thrive in the high elevation backcountry lakes of the Wind River Mountains, which is one of the premier places for fishing golden trout in the United States, Johnson said.
Even those not specifically seek goldens are drawn to the alpine lakes of the Wind River Mountains. The scenery is stunning – walls of granite and trails that wind seemingly forever into the horizon. There’s the challenge of navigating difficult terrain for miles. And then, there is the reward of excellent fishing and, depending on where you go, a chance for solitude, peace and a fishing spot to yourself.
But don’t worry if you aren’t feeling up to a wilderness adventure. There are plenty of other fishing opportunities that don’t take quite as much effort, but still yield rewards.
There are public easements in the Dubois area, near the highway. Dubois is also the only place in Wind River Country where you can find Wyoming’s native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Near Lander there is public fishing on the North and Middle Forks of the Popo Agie River. Actually there is access across the area. Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Fishing Guide provides information on access on dozens of lakes, reservoirs, stream and rivers in the area.
When the water is high and not conducive to fishing on the river, visit some of the lakes easily accessible from the Loop Road. The loop runs up the switchbacks at the end of Sinks Canyon outside of Lander to Highway 28 (or you can drive it in reverse). Fiddlers, Frye and Louis Lakes provide ample fishing opportunities, as well as campgrounds, a perfect combination of an outdoor experience without an arduous hike.
Boysen Reservoir, where you can catch walleye, sauger, perch, crappie, ling, largemouth bass, bluegill, stonecat, black bullhead, mountain whitefish, lake, brook, cutthroat and brown trout and splake as well as several non-game species, is as you can imagine after that diverse list of fish, known for its fishing. Several state-record fish have been caught in the reservoir and you can buy bait, food and fishing licenses at the concessions and marina at the north end of the lake. The fishing doesn’t end on Boysen when it gets cold.
In the winter I’ll see the shacks set up on Boysen Reservoir where the truly dedicated take advantage of the area’s first-rate ice fishing. The season starts when the water freezes, which usually begins in December and starts to thaw in March. And the cycle of year-round fishing continues.
Businesses & Packages
- Custom jet boat, drift boat and walk/wade fishing trips to anglers of all abilities.
- Located in Dubois. Pack trips and a luxurious base camp in the Shoshone National Forest specializing in riding, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Drop trips, hunting and custom trips available.
- Hunting, fishing and pack trips in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness. Drop trips for climbers and backpackers into Gannett Peak.
- Hunting camp in Wind River Range. Fishing, drop pack trips.
- Dogsledding tours.
- Guided service includes wade and alpine fishing from a motor or drift boat. Fly fishing instruction for all levels of experience.
- Float or wade along the Big Horn, Snake and Wind River. Professional fly fishing guide service. Catch and release fishing.
- Operates in the Wind River Range, Absaroka Range, and the Red Desert. Fly-fishing, low impact camping, family fun. Wilderness camping, and hunting for guided and unguided trips. Permitted by the USFS. Llama rentals.
- The only permitted base camp on the glacier trail located in the Fitzspatrick Wilderness. Weekly guided horsepacking trips July-Oct. This area is famous for Gannett Peak, the highest peak in Wyoming.
- Specializing in fly fishing trips. Horseback riding and ATV's can also be arranged.
- Horsepacking, backpacking and fishing in the Shoshone National Forest. Drop trips. Rentals- horses, complete camps, wall tents, stoves, cooking gear.
- Guided fly fishing in the Wind River Range. Day trips or 3-10 day trips available. Golden Trout specialty.
- Hunt from small dude ranch. Limited to 2 each hunt. Trophy elk hunt. Sleeping in cabins.
- Day or overnight pack trips into the Absarokas and Wind River Mountains. Remote Golden Trout trips.
- Whitewater rafting and guided fishing trips.
- Private and customizable instructional climbing courses at the base of the Wind River Range.
- Wind River Mountain OutfittersFishing, game hunting and horsepacking. Summer sightseeing trips and fall hunting. 5-day trips for grizzly bear viewing from July 20-Sept. 1. Day horseback rides.
- Cover the same ground as the pioneers in a wagon, on a horse, or both. Access to historical landmarks. Rent horses by the week for re-enactments, movies, outfitters, ranches, hunters, rodeos, etc.