Looking to take a well deserved break from work and get out to some amazing fishing spots in the American West? You’ve come to the right place! Wyoming might not be in some peoples top fishing destinations, but our list will prove to you the this landlocked state does indeed have some unreal fishing destinations
Being the 10th largest state and located in the mountainous region of western United States, Wyoming has a variety of mountain fed rivers and lakes that are home to more than 22 different fish species.
Time of year is an important factor you should consider when planning your Wyoming fishing trip. In the summers, early mornings are the best time to fish, whereas, in spring and Fall, it is preferred to go around dusk. However, If you are looking to just get out and enjoy the outdoors, then in our opinion any time spent on the lake is a perfect time to fish!
If you prefer lake and river fishing to the wide open ocean, you are in luck. Wyoming is obviously land locked, but its proximity to the Rocky Mountains help supply it with some of the best rivers and lakes mother nature has to offer! Read on to start planning your next great fishing adventure!
In order to legally fish in Wyoming, there are a few things to consider. For residents, anyone over the age of 14 requires a fishing license, which can be purchased for a day ($6 as of the time of writing) or for the year ($27 as of the time of writing). As you can see an annual license is quite cheap, and if you are under 14 you do not need one at all!
For non residents, you must also purchase a fishing license and the fees are higher than for residents. Non resident youth may fish for free as long as they are with a permit holder.
Free Lifetime Licenses are also available if you are a resident or honorably discharged veteran over the age of 65 and have lived in Wyoming for at least 30 years before your license application!
1. Bighorn Lake
Located in Carbon counties in the south of Montana and north of Wyoming, Bighorn Lake is 40 miles south of Billings. It is situated behind Yellowtail Dam and covers an area of 72 miles. It is an eye-catching lake abundant with various fish species that attracts the attention of tourists and anglers from all over the country.
Bighorn Lake has relatively mild summer conditions and you shouldn’t worry about overheating. February is the coldest month of the year with the temperature getting as low as 0°F and July is the hottest month in which the temperature reaches new mercury levels to 88°F. This lake receives about 6-10 inches of rainfall annually.
Ice ad Fly fishing are both popular here as the fish species find their way onto the surface of the water throughout the year. Anglers that fish the lake are especially fond of that many different species of trout that reside in the lake.
Bighorn Lake Fishing Tips
- Fishing is offered in Bighorn Lake throughout the year. However, if you are a fly fisher then August is your best bet
- During the warmer months, scorpions and rattlesnakes can find their way to the shore; so please take proper precautions.
- When Baitcasting it is ideal to use a lighter rig equipped with crankbaits, spinners, minnows or artificial baits.
Types of Fish in Bighorn Lake
Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Channel Cat, Ling, Yellow perch, Black Crappie
2. Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the largest reservoir in Wyoming and thanks to its size and variety of locations, it is a go to for fishers in the area. The Green River is the primary inflows of this reservoir. Located in northeastern Utah and southwest Wyoming, Flaming Gorge Reservoir offers the full spectrum of activities on top of fishing and boating such as hiking, camping, backpacking and even cross country skiing in the winter!
For Flaming Gorge, the hottest month is typically July where the temperature becomes as high as 85°F. The coldest month is January, where the mercury can drop as low as 22°F. There is snowfall during winter months and the chilly temps mean the snow sticks around so make sure to brush up on your snowball throwing technique!
Because of the hot and cold extremes the Gorge can reach, both ice fishing and fly fishing take place on the lake throughout the year. Most anglers suggest that fly fishing is more renowned here. The reservoir is fills up with people during summer months for fishing and boating.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir Fishing Tips
- If you are a Trout lover, we advise that you make your trip to the Gorge in the summer months. By May and Early June, you will find abundant trout in the lake
- Flaming Gorge Reservoir will allow you to test a number of different techniques for your fishing trip including Long lining, Down Rigging, Vertical jigging and more!
Types of Fish in Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Burbot, Lake Trout, Curbow, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout
3. Glendo Reservoir
Located in the massive and beautiful Glendo State Park, the Glendo Reservoir is located on the North Platte River in Converse and Platte County. A power producing reservoir, Glendo is an amazing location for camping, fishing, and outdoor activities of all types!
Glendo has your typical Wyoming weather, with a warm but not too warm summer and a winter where the temperature dips below freezing. Mid spring will be the earliest you will want to get out on the lake and can fish well into the fall! Glendo averages rainfall of 15 inches annually, whereas snowfall is 52 inches on average. This means during the warmer months the odds are definitely in your favor that you will be staying dry (As long as you don’t fall in!)
Ice fishing is super popular at Glendo, and for good reason. Yellow perch and Walleye are a few of the main targets for ice fishing. Keep in mind in recent years Glendo’s ice thickness in January has been around 5-8 inches. While this is a decent sheet, you need 12″ or more to safely bring a truck onto the ice, so make sure to do a quick google of the conditions before you bring all your gear out! Fly fishing is popular but not as much so as Ice fishing.
As you can see Glendo is a fantastic spot to set up for a few days of Angling, whether it be in the summer or winter. The size of the reservoir means you likely will have a little nook or area to yourself and won’t have to be shoulder to shoulder with other fishers!
Glendo Reservoir Fishing Tips
- If you have your vacation line up anywhere in March to May, Glendo Reservoir will be a fantastic place to visit. The weather is great and the crowds aren’t overwhelming!
- As far as the fishing techniques are concerned, Lindy rigs and bottom bouncers are mostly used by anglers. Crankbaits are less common but also used from time to time.
Types of Fish in Glendo Reservoir
Walleye, White Crappie, Channel Catfish, Yellow perch, Black Crappie, Panfish
4. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, the American icon, is known worldwide for its amazing natural beauty and of course the natural geysers. What many don’t know however, is that there are fantastic fishing opportunities in the park! Located in the western United States with parts in Idaho and Montana, Yellowstone covers an area of almost 3500 square miles. Tourists from all over the world venture to the park to partake in boating, fishing, hiking, sightseeing and camping.
Yellowstone National Park really shines during its beautiful summer season. The weather is pleasant and allows for hiking, picnicking, and viewing wildlife. The park is visited by travellers and anglers from all over the world, especially in July and August. July is the warmest month of the year with the temperature reaching to above 72°F. The temperatures are a bit lower than most of Wyoming due to Yellowstone’s elevation. Being at such a high elevation Yellowstone’s weather can get nasty in the winter with temperatures getting as low as 5°F and the park seeing 20-30 feet of snow!
Fly fishing is by far the most popular fishing style in Yellowstone National Park. Seven different fish species can be caught in the various lakes and rivers that dot the park.
Yellowstone National Park Fishing Tips
- Rivers will be your best bet for fly fishing. The rivers are naturally insect rich so whether you are new to fly fishing or a seasoned veteran the odds are in your favor!
- You can fish unlimited non-native species of fish from Yellowstone, as the park works to un-do damage done by previous fish stocking operations
- Crank Baits are the most often used fishing technique in Yellowstone National Park
- You can purchase either a Yearly, Week long, or Three day weekend pass for your fishing trip
Types of Fish in Yellowstone National Park
This is by no means an all inclusive list, but these are a few of the more abundant fish you will find in the park – Brook trout, Brown Trout, lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Lake Chub
5. Jackson Hole
Mood for fishing in the shadow of several world class mountains? Jackson’s Hole, as called by mountain men, is the answer. It is a valley situated between the Teton Mountain Range and the Gros Ventre Range in Wyoming. It is home to glacier fed rivers and streams, covering an area of 55 miles Jackson hole has become a very popular tourist attraction anglers, hikers, and winter sports lovers!
As far as the weather conditions of Jackson Hole are concerned, Winters are cold and snowy. It is an amazing ski destination, with the Jackson Hole mountain resort, Snow King mountain resort, and Grand Targhee resort all within a short drive of each other. It is usually because of the mountain region that allows cold breezes. The mercury level gets as low as 5°F in January. Summers are generally warm and mild with average temperature measured to be around 80°F in July.
Because of the mountain ranges and longer winters, Ice fishing is a very popular activity in the Jackson hole area. It is also known as a hotspot for ice fishing and a fishing paradise for anglers. Anglers love fishing here because of the extreme winters that offer ice fishing with all types of trout.
Jackson Hole Fishing Tips
- Lake Taneycomo is known around the globe for its Trout. Rainbow and Brown Trout can be caught on spinning tackle and micro jigs. These jigs range from 1/100 to 1/8 ounce in weight.
- Ice fishing starts in mid January as the lakes being to freeze over and become safe to travel on
- Fly fishing is best attempted in mid March to April before the spring runoff hits, and if you miss that window then head down after June when the runoff slows down and the rivers are crystal clear
Types of Fish in Jackson Hole
Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
6. Grant Teton National Park
Next on our list is another famous American National Park- Grand Teton National Park. Situated in northwestern Wyoming, this park offers a massive variety of different flora and fauna. Located a mere 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, don’t forego a trip here thinking it’s not worth it after visiting Yellowstone!. Grand Teton has made it to the bucket list of tourists for camping, hiking, fishing, recreation and mountaineering for good reason!
Before you book your trip to Grand Teton, make sure you have an idea of the weather conditions there. Summers are warm and pleasant. July is the hottest month of the year with the temperature reaching around 80°F. Winters are cold and chilly due to the parks elevation and the wind that can rip off the mountain tops. January is said to be the coldest month of the year where mercury gets to as low as 14°F. For our money Mid May to late September are the best times of the year for fishing and other activities.
Fly and Ice fishing both are famous here. Grand Teton has many different lakes, some of the most popular being Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake, and Phelps Lake where anglers from worldwide flock to for trout fishing.
Grand Teton Fishing Tips
- Fishing in Grand Teton National Park offers an all-round fishing year, making this location feast for the sore eyes.
- If we take the fishing techniques under consideration, artificial flies and lures are mostly used by anglers.
- You can fish, catch, and take home a decent amount of fish – 6 trout per day in lakes and 3 trout per day in streams!
- In Rivers and Streams you can only use artificial flies and lures – No live bait!
- On Lakes in general you can use a few different types of dead, non-game fish as bait, check out the Grand Teton website for all the details!
Types of Fish in Grand Teton National Park
Rainbow Trout, Mountain Whitefish, Arctic Grayling, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout
7. Firehole River
Getting its primary inflows from Madison River, Firehole River is another great fishing option in northwestern Wyoming. This river shares its connection with the Missouri River System. National Park Service has allotted this lake for fly fishing, and spring is the best time of the year to visit here.
As far as the water in the Firehole River is concerned, the temperature can get and stay as high as 30 degrees, creating a unique ecosystem. This is due to geothermal features from Yellowstone that feed the river. The warm waters create many diverse insect hatcheries, which is why fly fishing is so popular as insects are abundant in the river!
Fly Fishing is performed in the Firehole River more than any other type of fishing. Anglers love coming here in May to fish their favourites.
Firehole River Fishing Tips
- For Firehole River (as with many fishing locations) the best time to fish is Spring and Fall. You can pack relatively light and have a great fishing adventure!
- Crank Baits and Spinners are the best methods to lure fish in. Most Anglers suggest that it is better to fish from the shore
- Near the bottom of Firehole river, it disappears into a canyon that can offer some truly unique and beautiful fishing opportunities at the bottom!
- Rainbow and Brown trout are catch and release only! Up to five brook trout can be harvested per day
- During summertime fishing may be shut down due to high water temperatures
Types of Fish in Firehole River
Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout
Cities To Stay In During Your Wyoming Fishing Trip
Located in the county of Natrona and the second-largest city in Wyoming, Casper Oregon is sometimes called the “The Oil City” due to the oil reserves it sits upon. It is situated in east-central Wyoming and the north end of North Platte River. Casper has many fantastic fishing spots, golf courses, baseball diamond, and hosts many concerts throughout the year.
Ice fishermen congregate in Casper in the winter to head to the various lakes that surround the city. Hotels are abundant in the town and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a room.
Pinedale Oregon is a western town very famous among adventurous travellers. It is about 61 miles south of Jackson Hole and offers all types of recreational and fun activities. Pinedale is literally at the foot of all the amazing National Parks in Wyoming such as Shoshone, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone, making it the perfect gateway to your adventures!
Wrapping up the Best Fishing in Wyoming
We hope our article will help you narrow down where to head in Wyoming for your next trip. It is a huge state and home to some of the most amazing national parks in the United States. Whether you are fly fishing in June on a unique river that is piping hot from natural geysers, or ice fishing on top of a mountain lake in January, there is something in Wyoming for everyone! Let us know below if you have a specific fishing spot in Wyoming you’d like us to add to the list!