Guest Blogger: Seth Cagle
The glaciers that carved the mountains of southern Wyoming’s Snowy Range left behind beautiful and breathtaking views. Those glaciers also left behind an abundance of kettle lakes which are now full of hungry trout. Whether you’re a seasoned fly fisherman, or just getting out on the water, the Snowy Range offers ample opportunity and excitement for everyone. Here are some reasons you should visit Wyoming to wet a fly in the Snowy Range.
Fly Fishing Wyoming: A Perfect Place to Start
First off, the Snowy Range is named appropriately. For a majority of the year, the area is covered in snow, leaving lakes completely iced over. This gives trout a very short season of open water in which to feed. As a result, I find the trout are aggressive and not very picky about fly choice. The lakes are perfect for beginners, or any fly fisherman who simply wants to land a fish. Because of the short growing season, most of the trout aren’t very large, so don’t plan on setting the hook in a 20-inch giant.
Scenic Highway 130 runs through the middle of the Snowy Range and typically opens by Memorial Day every year. The highway provides you with gorgeous views but also opens access to lakes and trails. You can in fact fish several lakes from a parking lot. The area is perfect if you are passing through, and want to fish a variety of water without much effort.
As I previously mentioned, the trout are not super selective and can be caught with little technical knowledge. However, because the trout are opportunistic, I have better luck with larger dry flies. These fish are looking for a meal, not a snack, despite their small size. I use a size #14 Elk Hair Caddis as my go to fly. I tie them with an olive body and rusty brown hackle. I like to wrap the fly’s body in gold wire to ensure it’s tough enough to withstand multiple hard strikes.
From experience, I will tell you the fishing does get better with a short hike. My last visit to the Snowy Range was on the Fourth of July, and several fishermen were seen right off the highway. But multiple trails and a short hike can lead you away from everyone else. For example, try Lookout Lake at the base of Medicine Bow Peak. The hike is less than a mile from the trailhead, and you can fish with the photogenic mountain as the background. On my last trip to the lake, I only saw one other fly fisherman: my girlfriend, who landed her very first fish on a fly rod that day!
Wyoming Fly Fishing: Conclusion
The next time you visit southern Wyoming, I would highly recommend taking a fly rod to the Snowy Range. The fishing is very exciting yet beginner friendly. However, most lakes only contain brook trout, but other species can be caught within the area. For more information, take a look at the map from the Nation Forest Service which outlines lakes within the Snowy Range as well as species that can be caught in each one. Good luck and happy fishing!