Many of my clients have heard me speak highly of the Wind River Country to the East of Jackson Hole and when local anglers mention the same, it is often with a tone of secrecy. Truth is the Jackson Hole region does receive much more praise when it comes to its prized fly fishing opportunities and the same could be said for Last Chance(ID), Livingston, Twin Bridges, & Craig(MT), yet the key to any superior fly fishing journey is being there at the right time... and now is the time to be on the Wind!
Above Boysen Reservoir the river flows primarily through private property within the Wind River Indian Reservation(WRIR) and access is tough & remote(contact me about trips into the Crowheart from Jackson, provided by WRCWW), furthermore it undergoes a significant runoff during the spring happening now. Once below Boysen, flows are managed and generally run clear. Here you are nestled in a breathtaking canyon still within the WRIR and again access is limited- that is unless you team up with Darren Calhoun and his whitewater guides from Thermopolis, Wyoming. Darren called the other day suggesting if I had a day off to get over there now, it was coming unglued with cicadas!
|As summer approaches these large insects become active with the heat, often being blown in the river like hoppers!|
Most seasons this occurrence is not until mid-late June but with very warm spring temperatures this year the big black bugs have come early and are bringing some hefty trout to the net in strong numbers. This terrestrial hatch comes in 1-17 year cycles and so far this year looks to be a banner cicada season. Fishing these in the Wind River Canyon is all about hunting the big brown trout(some topping 24") with big dry flies. Darren and his crew fish from rafts down the canyon because it holds some significant whitewater(class III-IV), adding another fun element to the pursuit.
WYOMING'S WILD WATER BROWNS
PRODUCED BY SSFLYFISH & WRCWW-2011
As the season progresses the two canyon sections can become slower due to warm water and weed growth but will consistently produce some very nice trout. Meanwhile, upstream above the reservoir the Crowheart sections come into their prime shortly after runoff, often around the 4th of July. These stunning 8-12 mile floats cut through the arid valley, rich in our nation's Native American(Arapahoe) history and in my opinion offer one of the most unique fly fishing experiences in the country- combining true trophy class wild trout with the area's remote high desert history. These trips are not at all for the passive social angler(no disrespect, I love a comfortable float in JH) but require a very early departure(5am), long drive to remote ramps, fishing hard for 8-10hrs with streamers or big dries and then the long drive back, often pushing 18-20 hrs. for the day. When you have a good day it is well worth it, when you have a great day it blows your mind!
Lastly, it is very important to note that Darren and WRCWW rest each section for a full day and will only put one group per section each time it is fished, a philosophy that enriches everyone's experience on this Wild River of Western Wyoming.