Fishing in Wyoming

The Cowboy State has fishing, too: explore the untamed Wyoming, where pristine rivers, alpine lakes, and vast reservoirs offer unforgettable fishing adventures.
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About Wyoming

Wyoming, the "Cowboy State," is a premier destination for recreational fishing, renowned for its rugged landscapes and pristine waters. Situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming's diverse geography includes expansive high plains, towering mountain ranges, and tranquil alpine lakes. This state offers anglers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the most scenic and productive fishing environments in the United States. The iconic Snake River, renowned for its wild cutthroat trout, offers some of the best fly fishing in the country. Yellowstone National Park, with its myriad of streams, rivers, and lakes, is another hotspot for trout fishing, attracting anglers from around the world. Riding or hiking through Wyoming’s breathtaking scenery, to say nothing of hooking a wild rainbow or yellow trout, will make any big city dweller think they might be in a whole different world! Wyoming’s climate varies significantly with elevation and location, providing a range of fishing conditions throughout the year. Summers are warm and ideal for fishing in the state’s rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, while the fall season offers stunning foliage and active fish populations, making it one of the best times to fish. Winters in Wyoming bring the opportunity for ice fishing in the state’s frozen lakes, while spring sees the thaw of snowmelt, rejuvenating rivers and streams for another season of fishing. Fishing in Wyoming is regulated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, which ensures sustainable fishing practices and the conservation of fish populations. Anglers aged 14 and older are required to have a valid Wyoming fishing license, which can be purchased online through the department’s website or at authorized vendors. The state’s regulations include specific rules on bag limits, size limits, and seasonal restrictions for various fish species. For example, there are special regulations for fishing in Yellowstone National Park and the Snake River to protect these valuable fisheries. Always check the latest regulations before your trip to ensure compliance and to contribute to the preservation of Wyoming’s rich aquatic ecosystems. Wyoming’s rich fishing opportunities, diverse environments, and robust regulatory framework make it a top destination for recreational anglers. Whether you’re drawn to the expansive waters of Yellowstone Lake, the serene streams of the Wind River Range, or the dynamic rivers and lakes of the western regions, Wyoming offers an exceptional fishing experience that caters to all preferences and skill levels. Plan your fishing adventure in Wyoming today and explore the angling opportunities that await in the Cowboy State.

Fishing Types

Wyoming is a landlocked state, and the fishing opportunities are centered on rivers and lakes. Wyoming’s rivers, with their fast-moving currents and deep pools, are perfect for fly fishing and spinning, while numerous lakes and reservoirs offer excellent opportunities for both boat and shore fishing. Yellowstone Lake, the largest high-altitude lake in North America, is famed for its lake trout and cutthroat trout fisheries, providing stunning scenery and productive fishing grounds, while the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which it shares with Utah, is a hotspot for trophy lake trout and walleye. But it is the backcountry fishing adventures that attract the most tourists to Wyoming. You can drift Wyoming’s rivers by boat, hike, or ride horses from one spike camp, and from wild streams to high-altitude mountain lakes (read the story of one such horse riding adventure on our blog). Such trips are as challenging as they are exciting, so hiring a reputable guide is strongly recommended.

Targeted Fish Species

Wyoming’s waters are home to a diverse array of fish species. The game fish of the Cowboy State include largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, crappie, walleye, sauger, yellow perch, pike, catfish, burbot, sturgeon, and freshwater drum. But the major attraction of Wyoming are the representatives of the salmon and trout family. The state is particularly famous for trout fisheries, with species like rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout thriving in its cold, clear waters. As many as four subspecies of the cutthroat trout - Colorado River, Yellowstone, Bonneville, and the Snake River cutthroat can take your fly in Wyoming. Golden trout, celebrated for their vibrant colors and rarity, are a prized catch, along with lake trout, salmon, char, whitefish and grayling.

Fishing Techniques

In Wyoming, the specific technique that you may use to catch the fish of your dream fades into the relative background, overshadowed by the rare species and exciting landscapes. Fly fishing is, of course, perhaps the most iconic and widely practiced techniques in the state, particularly for targeting trout and salmon. But you may just as well use spinning, and on larger lakes and reservoirs trolling is possible as well. Drift fishing is a great way to explore Wyoming’s rivers, and as the high-altitude lakes freeze over in winter, ice fishing is also possible.