The Bighorn River begins life as the Wind, flowing ESE out of the mountains of Western Wyoming, through the town of Dubois and the Wind River Indian Reservation. At Riverton the river abruptly turns North and begins to back up as Boysen Reservoir behind a 220 ft. dam built at the head of the beautiful Wind River Canyon. Emerging from the dam a river once more, the Wind flows through the Owl Creek Mountains, leaving the Wind River Basin.
As the river exits the canyon and spills into the Bighorn Basin, its name is changed to the Big Horn. One river, two names. It is here at Wedding of the Waters where we begin our adventures and float through the town of Thermopolis, home to the world's largest mineral hot springs.
A Dry Fly Paradise
Beginning in March, thick hatches of Midge & Blue Winged Olives bring trout to the surface after a long Winter of eating tiny nymphs. By late June, Tricos appear on the scene and hatch en masse every morning until October. It is common to see pods of rising trout 30 or 40 fish deep, making a flat piece of water look like a riffle. Several species of Caddis are available throughout the summer as well as terrestrials. The Blue Wings will make one more appearance in the Fall after the water has cooled.
3,000 Trout per Mile - Browns, Rainbows & Cutthroat
Fishing nymphs can be productive year-round but is best in late Winter or early Spring before moss becomes an issue. Average sized fish is 16-18 inches with many 20 inches and beyond. Streamer fishing can be hard work on this river, but the rewards often make it worth the effort.
Most fishing is done from the boat, as Wyoming Water Access laws limit anchoring and wading opportunities to certain sections of the river.
We can accommodate anglers of all abilities. All trips include flies (we tie 90% of the flies we use on guided trips), shuttle, terminal tackle, the use of a rod & reel if needed, and lunch on full day trips; half days include water and snacks. We practice catch & release of all Wild Trout.
We are First Aid/CPR Certified, Insured & Permitted Guides.
- Expert guide
- Lunch on full day trips
- Beverages and snacks
- Flies, tackle and rod and reel if needed
What is Included:
Drinks & Snacks
Rod & Reel
Where does this river begin? This question remained unanswered well into the 19th century. In fact, the Wind River and the Bighorn River are one body of water artificially divided ... moreby two names. Because the river’s course is largely set by the surrounding mountain ranges, The Wind River Range that extends southeast to northwest along the continental divide and the Bighorn Range that rises east of Shoshoni and curves north to Montana, the river changes direction and appearance more than once during its long journey. Overhearing Native Americans describe this basin, mountain men, adventurers and mapmakers just assumed they were talking about different rivers.
Today the Bighorn River arbitrarily starts at the end of Wind River Canyon at a spot known as the Wedding of the Waters near the town of Thermopolis. From Thermopolis to about 20 miles below the Wind River Canyon, the river runs cold enough to support ample trout, with the best fishing actually beginning on the Wind River below the Boysen Reservoir, 15 miles upstream. Roadside access to this year round, world-class destination is unlimited as long as you obtain a Wind River Indian Reservation fishing permit.
One of the vagaries of Wyoming law is that landowners can own and control access to shorelines and riverbeds, making it illegal for anglers to wade or anchor in private water. Thankfully, most of the Bighorn River around Thermopolis is owned by the town, which provides many points of public access. You’ll be fine with the law if you wade upstream or down, as long as you stay below the high-water mark. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has designated several fishing access points and easements over private lands to provide public use of the river.
Cody gets its name from the legendary cowboy, William Frederick Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, who was instrumental in creating the town. Located at the western edge of the Bighorn ... moreBasin, the town is surrounded by the Big Horn, Owl Creek, Bridger and Absaroka mountain ranges. At the western edge of the town, a deep canyon is formed by the Shoshone River; a bridge over the water offers the only way into Yellowstone’s Eastern Gate.
Anglers who venture into the national park have many options available to them, including Yellowstone Lake, Trout Lake, the Yellowstone River, Slough Creek, the Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek and Pebble Creek. The Shoshone River can be fished in Cody and provides opportunities to catch big rainbows and cutthroats. Not far from the Shoshone, you can fish Clarks Fork for cutthroats and big browns while enjoying the canyon scenery. Big Browns are also seasonally abundant in East Newton Lake and the Buffalo Bill reservoir.
Western enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Cody including a visit the Buffalo Bill Center, a five-museum complex, Old Trail Town, a replica of early Cody, The Cody Murals depicting the history of the Mormons and the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center.
What Meeteetse lacks in size, with a population of less than 500 people, it makes up for with a colorful history, scenic beauty, flourishing wildlife and a surprisingly full calendar ... moreof events. Its authenticity remains in tact, as original wooden boardwalks, hitching posts and water troughs still run through town. Seated at the junction of the Absaroka Mountains and the Wyoming Bad Lands, the town is close to Thermopolis, the world’s largest hot springs, and driving distance to the renowned Wyoming Dinosaur Center.
Fishing is plentiful with a wide choice of rivers, streams and mountain lakes. Greybull River is especially well known for it’s trophy, cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish while the Wood River Valley boasts great small stream opportunities. One word to the wise – savvy locals recommend applying “bear spray” if you opt to fish in a wilderness area.
During the summer and fall months activities include The Art Festival, a Labor Day Rodeo and excursions to Kirwin, a mining ghost town that has remained largely untouched since the late 1890’s. Warm weather choices include hunting, camping, hiking, wind surfing and boating, while during the winter it’s possible to go ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting and sledding. Shooting pictures of wildlife from Pitchfork Road is a year-round, photographer’s dream.
In times past, this town was known as the end of the Cowboy Line, since the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, originally built to go on to Eureka, California or to Coos Bay Oregon, ... morestopped at Lander and never went a bit further. Located on the middle fork of the Popo Agie River, Lander can boast being the first town to hold a “paid” rodeo, a tradition you can still enjoy every 4th of July. Set in the shadow of the majestic Wind River Range, it is surrounded by great fishing lakes, rivers and mountain fed streams. If you follow the Wind River up the canyon it becomes known as the Bighorn River, a favorite for those who are inclined to float.
Rated one of True West Magazine’s top 10 Western towns, many consider Lander to the undiscovered gem of the Rockies. Lodging in Landers is plentiful and diverse with motels, bed-and-breakfasts, inns, guesthouses, campgrounds and cabins in a range of price points. Should you tire of fishing, there are art galleries and art festivals, good shopping and any number of bars, restaurants and coffee houses. For those inclined to stick strictly to fishing, it’s nice to know that the world-record, golden trout, is said to have come from the Wind River.
Fished with Larry and Ray today, just a half day, which is perfect for the amount of fishable water right now. Buffalo Creek is on round 2 of dumping in red mud. It had cleared pretty ... moregood after last week's rains but I guess we got quite a bit of snow up in the Bridgers and with the warm weather the last few days it's got the creek flowing good. River is MUDDY after the red cliffs. But with all that said we had a pretty good day. Hooked about 30 of these.
Lots of break offs today. Fat feisty rainbows on 5x. Baetis nymphs were our best bugs. Saw a few guys out there today throwing streamers only saw one boat get one. Other boats said no good. But it is a good option in the dirty water. Hoping the river clears by the weekend but we are forecast to get a little more rain. So we'll see. River is at 990cfs. And we have a few trips going out next week but still plenty of days available if you're interested. Also the dry fly fishing is still pretty good, at least it was on Tuesday when I went out with Adam. Besides the bwo's we are seeing quite a few caddis and a lot of fish are taking notice and even moving out of their feeding rhythm to eat them. And a minor psa, please respect the property owners' rights... it is private property from the first highway bridge below wedding all the way past buffalo creek and the red cliffs. We don't need this place turning into the reef. Have fun out there!
Thursday, 5 May, 2016
- Cancellations made 14 days before will be fully refunded.
- Cancellations made 7 days before will be refunded 50% of the amount paid.
- Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.