Blog

River: Weber River Utah – an accessible hidden gem

You’ve probably heard of the Provo River but maybe the Weber River has evaded your radar. This river has avoided the majority of attention over the years yet it flows from headwaters and through mountains that are otherwise quite busy with visitors just outside Salt Lake City, UT. While the whole river is dauntingly large, there are trout to be found on all stretches and you’re much less likely to encounter crowded spaces compared to other nearby trout streams.

 

Location/Geography

Utah’s Weber River trickles to life in the Uinta Mountains. These are the same mountains which rub shoulders with the world-famous Alta and Snowbird ski resorts and host the Sundance Film Festival each year. The surrounding mountains are also home to several other famous rivers such as the Provo.

This river runs through elevations from 6,400ft to 4,300ft in climates that are often called “high desert”. You can thank the annual snowmelt for the fish-giving waters of the Weber since this river drains somewhere between 100 – 200 square miles of mountain wilderness each year. That melting water brings us a cold and clear reliable run each year.

Flying into Salt Lake City gives you many options to visit the Weber, with the longest drives being about an hour away. Hint: Plan your flight and drive to avoid rush hour traffic in and around the arteries of Salt Lake.

 

Aquatic Species

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Brook Trout
  • Grayling

 

Food by Season

Bug – Griffith’s Golden Stoner

Season – March through June

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Scud

Season – October through March

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Magic Midge

Season – October through March

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Prince Nymph

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 18

Bug – Shaggy Wire Caddis

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Mayfly Nymphs

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Tughead Stonefly

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Copper John

Season – July through September

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Woolly Bugger

Season – April through October

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Elk Hair Caddis

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Fishing Techniques

Fish the Headwaters: This remote area is so wild and secluded that lost hikers have been known to perish. While caution is obviously warranted, you know when it takes a shuttle drive and an hour-long hike you’re unlikely to run into many other anglers. Try fishing the headwaters region if you’re agile, skilled at hiking, and good with navigating to hard-to-reach holes.

Grab a Membership: Maybe an unusual suggestion, but the private Thousand Peaks Ranch offers $1 lunches for members who are willing to cough up serious cash for an annual membership fee. Yeah, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg for an annual membership but it might just be worth it for curated access to some of the easiest Brook Trout, Cutthroat and sometimes Rainbow Trout.

Fish the Deep Pockets: Through the semi-private “Cabin” region you can fish near million dollar homes. In areas, these homes have altered the course of the river. Look for deep pockets and undercut edges where you can swing a nymph on an indicator. You never know when you might entice a Cutthroat to take a bite!

Target Whitefish in Winter: Try throwing a scud or a midge for wintertime Whitefish that like to hang out down in Weber Canyon. The lower elevation means better cold weather access than some of the higher areas of this river.

Rod: Use 4-5 wt rods upriver and head downriver to find fish ready to bend 5-6 wt rods.

 

Summary

Around Salt Lake City the mountains and streams are gorgeous, remote and yet simultaneously easy to access. Weber River changes its face from the headwaters which can be outright dangerous to reach at times to the simple access banks of Weber Canyon where fishing stays strong even in the winter.

Nearby rivers seem crowded compared to the Weber but the fishing is often just as optimistic. It’s really hard to imagine a better river to experience classic Western style fishing in a gorgeous setting.

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub to get ready for your upcoming Weber River expedition! You’ll get seasonal boxes filled with time-tested and angler-proven bugs that just work in these waters. Click here to learn more.

River: Snake River in Wyoming – fishing in the shadow of the Tetons

If you’ve never taken in the glory of the Teton range, take our word, it’s a sight to remember. In the riffles and pools of Wyoming’s Snake River hide some of the best Cutthroat fishing you’ll find anywhere and you’ll be in the company of some of the greatest scenery in the U.S. No matter what time of year you choose to visit this area you’ll love the activities, people and culture that surrounds every aspect of the notorious Jackson Hole area of Wyoming.

 

Location/Geography

Originating within the legendary Yellowstone National Park, the Snake River scoots along the Jackson flats at the very toes of the bare rock spires of the Tetons. Eventually, it spills into Jackson Lake which is great for fishing in its own right.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, the river takes brave adventurers through the Bridger Teton Forest where seclusion and scenery are the names of the game. Don’t be surprised to encounter moose, bison, elk, mule deer and more.

Because of the high elevation, deep snow can remain until late spring. You can thank the rugged geography for the relatively short season of fishing though if you’re willing to brave some nasty weather you may be able to eke out a few extra weeks.

 

Aquatic Species

  • Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat

 

Food by Season

Bug – Griffith’s Gnat

Season – April through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

 

Bug – Sparkle Dun

Season – April through June

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Vernille San Juan Worm

Season – April through September

Sizes – 14

Bug – Zebra Midge

Season – April through July

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Quick Sight Ant

Season – June through August

Sizes – 14 – 18

Bug – Parachute Beetle

Season – June through August

Sizes – 12 – 16

Bug – Foam Park Hopper

Season – June through July

Sizes – 10 – 12

Bug – Adams

Season – During Mayfly Hatches

Sizes – 12 – 18

 

Fishing Techniques

Mayfly Hatches: Throw just about any dry mayfly imitator during a hatch and you’re bound to get a good fight out of the Snake River Cutthroats. Adams and Parachute Adams bugs may be one of the most versatile and widely used bugs for this approach, but many others will work.

Midge Hatches: During midge hatches, you’ll need to be ready to throw something like the Zebra Midge bug we mentioned above. Get creative and try both wet and dry midge bugs including nymphs to see which they like better!

Caddis Hatches: If you find yourself on the river during a caddis hatch, try various forms of elk hair Caddis bugs and bead head caddis bugs.

Fall Fishing: Snowmelt from the nearby ranges can last well into summer so a late summer or early fall trip can be a little more predictable. Try a fall trip to sidestep crowds and capitalize on changing colors of the beautiful landscape.

Float Trips: Book a float trip (or take your own boat) to get the best fishing you can find on the Snake. Shore access can be tricky and crowded at times in the areas that are readily accessible.

Timing: Try fishing the best slice of the year from mid-June to mid-September and get on the river during the middle of the day.

Rod: 5 or 6 wt rods will work just fine here.

Line: Be ready with both floating and sinking line to tackle the various parts of the river, especially if floating.

 

Summary

Flying into Jackson Hole puts you smack dab in the middle of some of the best outdoor recreation in the U.S. During those summer months, all eyes turn to the Snake River and anglers compete for a bite from the native Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat trout.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently, you can fish this river from the bank or from a float. Beware early season crowds, however, as the locals are avid anglers and the area is a destination stop.

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub to get a quick jump on preparing your gear bag for a Snake River trip! We send you quarterly boxes with bugs for every season so no matter what time of year you decide to step up and challenge the Snake we’ll have your back! Click here to learn more.

Gunnison River: Gold Medal waters among the best in the nation

Colorado defines its “Gold Medal” waters as those conducive to landing big trout, and it’s a designation awarded to only 300 of the state’s 9,000 miles of trout-laden lakes and streams. The lower portion of the 80-mile Gunnison River is designated as Gold Medal water, offering a virtual trout-fishing paradise in the Rocky Mountains.

 

 

Location/Geography

Flowing westward from the East River and Taylor River near the town of Gunnison in scenic western Colorado, the Gunnison River flows past the Blue Mesa Dam, the Morrow Point Reservoir and the Crystal Reservoir before joining the North Fork River, the Uncompahgre River and into the Dominguez Canyon near Grand Junction, where it terminates. At its widest, the Gunnison River (call it the “Gunny” if you want to blend in with locals) is 1,000 feet across and 50 feet deep. Until the early 1900s, the Black Canyon area of the river was not traversable, but a tunnel eventually allowed passage for travelers and anglers alike. The area was officially designated a national park in 1999, effectively preserving it for future generations.

 

Aquatic Species

Native

  • Colorado River Cutthroat trout

Non-Native

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Mackinaw
  • Tiger trout
  • Kokanee salmon

 

Food By Season

Bug – Blue-winged olive
Season – early spring and late summer
Size – 14, 16, 18, 20

Bug – Midge
Season – All year
Size – 16-24

Bug – Nymph
Season – early spring
Size – 12, 14

Bug – Caddisfly larva
Season – early spring
Size – 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

Bug – Western March Brown
Season – summer
Size – 12, 14

 

Fishing Techniques

Tip – Winter fishing on the Gunny is generally not advised for casual anglers.

Tip – Salmon spawn in late summer, making October an ideal time to find the bigger trout.

Tip – The best overall time to fish the Gunnison River is late June and early July, coinciding with the year’s first salmonfly hatch.

Tip – National Geographic topo map #245 is an excellent guide to the Gunnison.

Tip – From the East and Taylor rivers to the Highway 50 bridge, anglers are allowed artificial lures and bugs only. You can catch up to two 16-inch browns. Rainbows are catch and release only.

 

Gear

  • Use 5 or 6 weight line with a 9-foot streamer rod and a floating line
  • For leaders, use dry bugs
  • For nymphing, try 7.5 foot with 3 or 4x hooks
  • When streaming, try 0 to 2x hooks

 

Summary

With Gold Metal waters can come some tougher conditions, so it’s recommended to take a guide and float the river, especially if you’re traversing areas of the Black Canyon that can reach 1,000 cfs during spring and summer runoff. That said, the scenery along the Gunnison is among some of the best in the nation. The lower part of the river (near Delta, Co.), while rewarding, requires tremendous patience. Those with limited time might consider starting upstream, where you’ll be rewarded with a variety of trout types. Depending on which part of the river you want to fish, you might fly into Denver or Salt Lake City. If you’re fishing the confluence of the East and Taylor rivers, Denver is roughly 245 miles northeast. If you want to fish closer to Grand Junction, consider flying into Salt Lake and driving 285 miles south. Another option is Amtrak, which runs the daily California Zephyr train through the scenic Rockies, stopping in the quaint town of Grand Junction.

 

About BugClub

BugClub is an annual subscription service, offering a free bonus box starter kit with more than $69 in fly fishing essentials. The subscription includes four seasonal BugBags to match the hatch for each season. Monthly BugClub News emails highlight the best places and times to fish, while our BugClub bugs are handpicked to match the hatch in Western Region waterways. BugClub Blogs and Expert Guide Cards provide advice to make the most memorable fishing experiences. Learn more at BugClub.com.

River: Silver Creek in Arizona – home of the hatchery

What could be better than an easily fished creek that makes a name for itself as a huge trout fishery thanks to the local hatchery? These large, hard-fighting fish are born and bred here, and they rarely disappoint. Maybe one of the most fun aspects of this river is that the best time to fish is when other waters have shut down during the cold months. While the creek itself may be silty, the banks are open and easy to cast for the Arizona State Fish – the Apache Trout!

Location/Geography

If you find yourself in Show Low, Arizona, you’re unknowingly within a stone’s throw from some of the biggest trout in the state. From a sea level standpoint, you’re pretty high up, but it may not feel that way. Quietly, the Silver Creek snakes through flat, mostly-open meadows.

Over its two miles, the river remains a bank-fishing destination with a handful of deep pools, stretches of undercut banks, and riffles assorted throughout. Yes, you heard right – this creek is best fished from shore due to the silty boot-sucking bottom and open banks.

We’d be remiss to not point out that you’ll also find the Silver Creek Hatchery on the land which is owned by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Be on your best behavior because the regulations on this water are strictly enforced (and a little odd).

Aquatic Species

  • Apache Trout
  • Rainbow Trout

Food by Season:

Note: Barbless bugs only – pinch the barbs flat on your bugs with pliers to remain legal.

Bug – Micro Egg
Season – October through March
Sizes – Any

Bug – San Juan Worm
Season – October through March
Sizes – 10 – 14

Bug – Meg A Sucking Leech
Season – October through March
Sizes – Any

Bug – Black Midge Nymph
Season – April through September
Sizes – Any

Bug – TH Zebra Midge
Season – April through September
Sizes – 16 – 18

Bug – Parachute Adams
Season – April through September
Sizes – 16 – 18

Bug – Hirsch’s Dark Matter Caddis
Season – Time with hatch
Sizes – 14

Fishing Techniques

Because most people choose to fish this creek during the winter months when fishing remains more active (and still good) than other area waters the hatches are few and rarely predictable. During the summer, however, there are some hatches you can take advantage of.

Midge Hatches: During the warmer months you may run into midge hatches. During this time be ready with some Parachute Adams or midge imitators.

Winter: By far the most popular time of year on this water. Techniques include eggs, worms, and leeches all of which are likely to produce bites in numbers. If any of these fails to produce, switch to the next one. Repeat until you land a nice fish!

Bank Fishing: Because the silty bottom of this creek is mostly impossible to wade, you’ll want to throw bugs from the banks. Thankfully the area is open and easy to cast!

Undercut Banks: Try working your wet bugs like nymphs down near the undercut bank lines if bites don’t come easily in the main creek. There are tons of areas where trout are likely to be lurking just out of view nearly under your feet!

Stocking: This creek is stocked from the local hatchery so keep an eye out for published stocking dates and fish soon after. Beware the crowds, however.

Gear: You’ll be happy with a 5 or 6 wt rod loaded up with standard weight forward line and 5x tippet. Nothing revolutionary here.

Summary

Show Low, Arizona allows the jump off for fishing the Silver Creek known for some of the biggest and healthiest trout in the state. Get out there any time of the year and you’re pretty much guaranteed good fishing.

For some, the ease of access and popularity may be a turn-off, however. This creek feels a little more crowded than many remote alpine streams, but brave the crowds and you may land one of the biggest fish of your life!

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub and get a jump start on planning your Silver Creek adventure! We send you quarterly boxes with bugs proven in Western waters, so you’ll be ready to try anything against these notorious fish. Click here to learn more.

River: The Smith River in Montana – remote backcountry fly fishing

If your idea of a great fishing trip is a remote river full of unpressured fish in gorgeous Big Sky scenery, you’ve struck gold. While access is difficult due to private land ownership, float fishing has managed to prevail. If you think the 9-boats-per-day permit limit is strict, think about it this way: that means less fishing pressure and a more enjoyable trip for you! Alternately surrounded by high rock walls and open rolling Montana meadows you can’t ask for more beauty.

 

Location/Geography

Slowly starting its journey near White Sulphur Springs, Montana, the Smith picks up speed as it gurgles through meadows towards the sheer cliffs further downstream. Over the course of its flow, this river meanders 100 lazy miles to eventually join the Missouri River.

Much of the upstream land is difficult to access due to private ownership considerations but wading is recommended where available. Most anglers will concede that the Camp Baker Fishing Access Site makes the best put-in location where 4-5 day float trips are popular and by permit only.

Downstream, the Smith slices through canyons for several miles with mostly flat, gentle water. Eventually, the scenery transitions to prairie land, at which point the fishing noticeably declines until the river reluctantly slips into the Missouri.

 

Aquatic Species

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brook Trout

 

Food by Season:

Bug – Dave’s Hopper
Season – July through August
Sizes – 8 – 12

Bug – Elk Hair Caddis
Season – April through September
Sizes – 10 – 14

Bug – Prince Nymph
Season – April through May
Sizes – 10 – 14

Bug – Stimulator
Season – May through June
Sizes – 8 – 10

Bug – Kaufmann’s Stone
Season – May through June
Sizes – 8

Bug – Bitch Creek Nymph
Season – May through June
Sizes – 6 – 8

Bug – X-Caddis
Season – June through September
Sizes – 8 – 10

Bug – Woolly Bugger
Season – May through September
Sizes – 4 – 10

 

Fishing Techniques

Wading: Unlike some waters, heading out early in the spring can be a great way to take advantage of the few wading stretches on the Smith. Use the stonefly hatch in spring to your advantage with some of the bugs on our list. Both dry bug and subsurface bugs will produce if you’re patient and willing to handle the temperamental weather.

Salmonfly Hatch: During early summer you can most likely land fish on the salmonfly imitations like the Kaufmann’s Stone we mentioned above. These, of course, are bugs best fished dry and usually in larger sizes.

Caddis Hatches: Once the season matures into summer and early Fall, you’ll be leaning on caddisfly bugs. These hatches are easy to predict as most early mornings and late evenings will be productive so just get out there and use your bug of choice.

Fishing Deep: If it’s time to change things up you can sink a bug into the deeper recesses and pools of the Smith and wait for a surprise! Down below is where you’ll find the larger Browns.

Pro Tip: Fish mid to late Fall to take advantage of increased feeding patterns and cooler water temps bringing out the bigger trout!

Gear: It’s time to take some midweight gear on this trip. Rods in the 6-8 wt range are probably best. Be prepared to throw surface and subsurface bugs so you may want a sinking fly line in your arsenal just to change things up if the bite gets tough.

 

Summary

Before you start daydreaming too hard, you’ll want to check into booking a trip. This river is a destination sought after for its five-day float trips which are highly competitive. You may need to plan ahead a year or two in order to get the logistics lined up!

Once you’re out there, the Smith River offers 50 miles of remote wilderness fishing. Whether you want to tackle the trip yourself (eight private permits are issued per day) or join a guide (only one commercial permit is issued per day) there is solitude awaiting.

Maybe the best time of year to hit this river is mid-Fall when temperatures begin to decline. Not only are the leaves changing color, some say the biggest trout get hungry right before the winter…

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub and get a jump start on planning your Smith River trip! We’ll also send you four seasonal boxes with a little bit of everything you could possibly need to entice those lurking Montana trout. Click here to learn more.

 

River: The Upper Colorado River offers scenery to rival the fishing

Packed with trout of all varieties – from cutthroat to rainbows, browns, brook and others – the Upper Colorado River is an angler’s paradise, offering nearly 200 miles of prime fishing in some of the most pristine country in the United States. Framed by “cathedral mountains” and “silver clouds,” this river calls to mind the lyrics of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” a timeless ode to the Centennial State. Although packed at peak times, this river offers plenty of solitude for those looking to cast some line in search of prize-winning trout.

Location/Geography

Although the entire Colorado River stretches nearly 1,500 miles from the Rockies to the U.S. border with Mexico, most anglers set their sights on the portion contained within the state of Colorado, better known as the Upper Colorado River. Beginning in Rocky Mountain National Park at La Poudre Pass Lake, the Upper Colorado flows through scenic mountain passes and canyons down to Dotsero along Interstate 70 in Western Colorado. In all, the Upper Colorado stretches nearly 200 miles through some of the most breathtaking vistas the nation offers.

Aquatic Species

  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Cutthroats
  • Rainbow/cutthroat hybrids

Food by Season:

Bug – Blue-winged olive

Season – Summer

Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Pheasant tailed nymph

Season – Spring-Fall

Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Adams Parachute

Season – Summer

Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Z-winged Caddisflies

Season – Summer

Sizes – 16-20

Fishing Techniques

Gear: Shoot for a 9’ fly rod around five- to six-weight. A seven-weight is also not unheard of in the pockets. A nine-foot leader and 3- to 6x leader seems to work well year-round.

Find the top spots: The portion of the river between Windy Gap near Granby, Colo. and the town of Kremmling is always a popular one. With a Gold Metal rating, this stretch offer easy access any time of year. For those seeking a less crowded spot, try Gore Canyon, a popular area for kayakers during spring runoff, but otherwise quiet for anglers. You can float the area between Pumphouse and Radium or continue on down to Rancho where you’re likely to land some large Rainbows in the pocket waters.

Rule of thumb for bugs: If you stick to midges when it’s cold, olives and stoneflies when it’s hot and caddisflies in the shoulder seasons, you’ll do well.

Avoid the crowds: The Upper Colorado can be a busy place on the weekends, with anglers flocking form all over the West. Best to stick to weekdays if you value your space.

Take in the scenery: Certain stretches of this river will take your breath away. Wildlife is abundant here, with deer, elk and the occasional bald eagle sighting possible. A particularly inspiring region is Glenwood Canyon near the resort town of Glenwood Springs, which also serves as a leaping off point for ski resorts such as Aspen and Vail. For those looking for luxury accommodations, check out the hot springs and first-class service at the historic Glenwood Hot Springs lodge. Budget accommodations are also available, but vary with the season.

How to get here: Whether you start in Granby or Kremmling, it’s just under two hours by car from Denver via I-70. To start from near La Poudre Pass Lake, you’ll need to head north from Denver up I-25 to Fort Collins, then continue west. In all, it’s about a four hour drive.

Summary

There aren’t many rivers in the nation as equally forgiving and rewarding as the Upper Colorado River. With the potential to catch trout all year long from sunrise to sunset, this is a can’t-miss opportunity. No wonder so many anglers have the Upper C on their bucket list.

If you value quality and convenience in your bugs, we’ve got a deal for you. Sign up for BugClub today to start receiving seasonally-appropriate bugs along with a free bonus starter kit, specially created for Western fisheries. Click here to learn more.

River: The Black River in Arizona – Chasing Brown, Apache and Rainbow Trout

With the main stem flowing with lush trout habitat for dozens of miles and two forks lofted in the White Mountains of Arizona, you’ll want to get your bugs wet in the Black River! Some would say this river is worth spending a day fishing if for nothing more than to enjoy the secluded scenery and peaceful alpine landscape. Make no mistake, however, serious anglers will love landing the various trout species that are highly active from May to July.

Location/Geography

Arizona’s Black River, quite ironically, runs through the White Mountains.

While the river totals over 100 miles the upper 40 or so miles, as well as East and West Forks, are the most loved by anglers. Most will recommend fishing the river upstream from the reservations (which require permits to fish) at which point the Black makes a soft transition to smallmouth territory.

Pro Tip: Avoid the East Fork during popular times – it gets crowded. Instead, look for Apache Cutthroat near the headwaters of the West Fork.

Aquatic Species

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Apache Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass

Food by Season:

Bug – Royal Wulffs
Season – May through June
Sizes – 12 – 16

Bug – Humpys
Season – May through June
Sizes – 12 – 16

Bug – Deer Hair Hoppers
Season – June through August
Sizes – 10 – 14

Bug – Parachute Beetles
Season – June through August
Sizes – 12 – 14

Bug – Quick Sight Ant
Season – June through August
Sizes – 14 – 16

Bug – Dave’s Cricket
Season – June through August
Sizes – 10 – 12

Bug – Wooly Bugger
Season – May through September
Sizes – 10 – 12

Fishing Techniques

This mountain stream is an area that is as unpredictable as it is hard to access. While there is hardly a consensus on techniques or bugs, here are a few tips to get started:

Keep them small: On the upper stretches the trout are small and may be reluctant to gobble up bigger bugs. Whatever you throw, start out smaller rather than bigger and work your way up if you feel the need.

Streamers: Streamers may be a good trick to go for when other bugs fail. Streamers can be a good craw imitator in darker colors but, again, keep the size small on upper stretches. On the middle or lower waters streamers may land larger Browns and Smallmouth.

Terrestrials: Because most of the upper water is surrounded by tons of overhanging brush and trees (particularly the brush-crowded West Fork) terrestrial bugs can be a good option. Fish likely snack on bugs falling off these grasses and plants during the summer so trick them with your own bugs!

Gear: Keep it small and light(er) especially if you want to fish the narrow and secluded waters of the West Fork. Go with a 5wt setup and rock some nylon tippet with those terrestrial bugs to keep ‘em floating.

Summary

Tired of crowded trout streams and worrying about snapping other anglers with your back cast? Take a drive up into the White Mountains and escape the crowds if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Keep in mind that access is limited to Forest Service roads and in some locations, 4WD might be necessary. Access through any of the tribal land downstream requires a permit so planning is crucial.

In Arizona, the Black River is waiting for you to try your hand at coaxing the unpredictable and challenging headwater trout into bending your rod. Grab your hiking gear, get ready for an adventure, and stock up on BugClub bugs to show those trout you’ve got what it takes.

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub and get a jump start on organizing your gear! We’ll also send you four seasonal boxes with everything you need to match the hatch in Western Region fisheries. You’ll have all the bugs you need to fool these Black River trout into a bite! Click here to learn more.

 

Green River: Clear waters, abundant trout make for excellent fishing

Once home to the nomadic Fremont People of the 13th Century, Utah’s Green River is now populated by world-class brown and rainbow trout along with the occasional cutthroat. A long river even by American standards, the focus for most anglers tends to be on the section just below the Flaming Gorge Dam along the border of Utah and Wyoming. These blue-ribbon waters are often so clear and brimming with trout that anglers like to say it’s like watching fish in an aquarium.

Location/Geography

Traversing three states, the 730-mile long Green River is a monster of a river with an average spring/summer flow of more than 6,100 cfs. Starting in western Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains, the Green River snakes its way south into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, then into Utah’s Uinta Mountains. It twists briefly into Colorado before returning to Utah, where it joins the Colorado River near Canyonlands National Park.

Aquatic Species

Native

  • Brown trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Cutthroat

Non-Native (immediate killing is required)

  • Burbot
  • Northern pike
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye

Food by Season

Bug – Micro scuds
Season – Winter
Sizes – 20-22

Bug – Mayfly nymphs
Season – Winter
Sizes – 20-22

Bug – Blue-winged olives and midges
Season – Winter
Sizes – 20 to 22

Bug – Chernobyl ant black
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 2-16

Bug – Black sailor ants
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 8-18

Bug – PMX peacock
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 6-14

Bug – Black Green River para crickets
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 10-16

Bug – Black beetles
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 8-18 

Fishing Techniques

Tip – You’re likely to have some luck with dry bugs in the fall. You’ll also find ample shallow-water trout for nymphing year-round. Streaming is best in the morning or at nightfall, especially in the fall when brown trout spawn.

Tip – In early spring, you’ll find abundant scuds and midges along with mayflies, caddisflies and others. Look for blue-winged olives in early to late spring.

Tip – The river is divided into “A,” “B” and “C” sections. The seven-mile “A” section of the river is located in Red Canyon and is the top spot for fly fishing, according to most experienced anglers.

Tip – You are required to release all fish between 13 and 20 inches. Otherwise, you’re allowed to keep two. All non-native species (see above) must be killed upon catching.

Gear

  • 9’ 5 weight rod
  • WF trout fly line for floating
  • Nine-foot leader with 4X tippet
  • For sinking: bank shot sink tip line

Summary

While many western rivers can be fairly inhospitable during winter months, the Green River is consistent and welcoming all year long, thanks to warmer water temperatures and a steady flow. If it’s rainbow you’re after, try just below the dam. Otherwise, you’ll do well to head downstream where browns and other trout await.

Getting here: If you’re flying into Salt Lake City, it’ll take you a little under four hours to reach the Flaming Gorge area via Interstate 80. It’s doable from Denver, but be prepared for a nearly seven-hour drive (albeit through some of the prettiest scenery in the nation).

If a trip out west and trophy trout are on your bucket list, the Green River is a can’t-miss experience.

About BugClub

Offering an annual subscription to anglers of all experience levels, BugClub provides four seasonal BugBags designed to match each season’s hatch. You’ll also get a free bonus starter kit worth more than $69. When you subscribe, you’ll start receiving our monthly newsletter highlighting fishing hot spots and hidden gems. Enjoy exclusive member benefits such as access to our blog and guide cards to ensure your next fishing trip is an optimal one. Learn more at BugClub.com.

The North Platte River in Wyoming – home of the monster trout

The North Platte River gives way to Wyoming’s largest and highest fish-producing river basin in the state. There are many parts of the river that can hold a range of 2000 to 4000 fish per mile. If you’re looking for a trophy trout, the North Platte is a safe bet. The “Grey Reef” section of the river holds fish that can tip the scales at over 10 pounds! Although some areas are particularly rocky and mossy, carefully maneuvering around structure can pay off big time. You can expect a private outing on the water, with little fishing traffic. Head out to the cowboy state for some great western trout fishing.

Location/Geography

At over 500 miles long, the North Platte River flows through three states: Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The river flows north from Colorado into Wyoming and flows east and south.

Aquatic Species:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Walleye
  • Longnose Sucker
  • White Sucker
  • Longnose Dace
  • Carp
  • Darter
  • Creek Chub

 

Food by Season:

 

Bug – Aquatic Worms
Season – Year Round
Patterns – San Juan Worm, Bloodworm

Bug – Beetles
Season – April through November
Patterns – Loco Flying Beetle, Monster Beetle, Foam Beetle

Bug – Caddis Flies
Season – May through October
Patterns – Rock Roller Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Soft Hackle Hares Ear

Bug – Blue Winged Olive
Season – April through June, September through November
Patterns – Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Parachute Adams

Bug – Ants
Season – April through November
Patterns – Epoxy Ants, Flying Ants, Foam Ants

Bug – Midges
Season – Year Round
Patterns – Zebra Midge, Chocolate Emerger, Parachute Adams

Bug – Grasshoppers
Season – June through October
Patterns – Stimulator, Stalcup’s Hopper, Rainy’s Grand Hopper

Bug – Brown Stone
Season – April through June
Patterns – Brown Stonefly Nymph, Stimulator, Royal Trude

Bug – Leeches
Season – Year Round
Patterns – Hot Head Leech, Wooly Bugger, Mini Sculpin

Bug – Salmonflies
Season – May through June
Patterns – Stonefly Nymph, Titanic Stone, B1 Bomber

Fishing Techniques:

Because there is an abundance of large trout in the North Platte, showing up prepared with the proper tackle is paramount. A five-weight rod with floating line and 4x tippet should suffice. The average fish weighs over a pound, with some fish nearing 15 pounds.

The river is constructed of longs pools with interconnected riffles and runs. If fish are being picky with your offering, try matching the hatch and picking the correct sized fly. Drift boat fishing is a popular technique used, where an angler fishes from a small boat and drifts down the river, covering more fishable water than possible on foot.

The North Platte River can be fished any time of year, as long as it is not iced over. That being said, the cold Wyoming winters can be spotty with ice, so monitor the weather before booking a fishing trip in the winter. The spring season runs from the beginning of March to the end of April, before the winter runoff. The summer fishing is best from the middle of June through August, when the hatches are at their peak. Fall is also a great time to fish, just be aware that water levels tend to be lower.

Summary

If you’re looking to take a trip out west for an epic fly fishing trip, look no further than the North Platte River, specifically the section that flows through Wyoming. You won’t find crowds of people, allowing for a calm and private outing on the water. Perhaps the most notable characteristics of the North Platte, is its high fish to water ratio with an average of 3,000 fish per mile. You won’t have to look far for a good time and a tight line.

Sign up for BugClub now to start receiving monthly boxes of the best flies personalized to your geographic location. Click here to get started.

River: The Madison River in Montana – a fun mix of many fish

The Madison River is a must fish destination for anglers of all ages and skill levels. The river gives way to an eclectic mix of native and nonnative species of fish. Your chances of catching something is really good. The scenery along the way is amazing with hundreds of miles of mountains and surrounding fields of green fields. There is easy access to many great fishing spots. Anglers must be made aware that there are strict fishing regulations. Most of the river is catch and release, and you must purchase a fishing license.

Location/Geography

The Madison River starts off at Yellowstone National Park and flows north for nearly 150 miles to Three Forks in Montana, where it empties to meet the Missouri River. The river feeds several lakes, including Hebgen Lake in Gallatin County and Ennis Lake in Madison County.

Aquatic Species:

NATIVE

  • Arctic grayling
  • longnose dace
  • longnose sucker
  • Rocky Mountain sculpin
  • mountain sucker
  • mountain whitefish
  • stonecat
  • white sucker
  • westslope cutthroat trout

NONNATIVE

  • brook trout
  • brown trout
  • common carp
  • fathead minnow
  • rainbow trout
  • Utah chub
  • Yellowstone cutthroat trout

Food by Season:

Bug – Pale Morning Dun
Season – July through August
Sizes – 14-18

Bug – Midges
Season – Year Round
Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Baetis
Season – April through May
Sizes – 16-20

Bug – Caddis
Season – April through September
Sizes – 14-16

Bug – Golden Stone
Season – June through July
Sizes – 2-6

Bug – Salmonfly
Season – June through July
Sizes – 2-6

Bug – Green Drake
Season – June through July
Sizes – 14-16

Bug – Trico
Season – August through September
Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Baetis
Season – September through October
Sizes – 16-20

Fishing Techniques:

Tip – Get out to the river early. First light is always a good time to be fishing. Trout prefer colder temperatures and the water is cool in the mornings. The change of light also trigger feeding activity.

Tip – Don’t be afraid to fish streamers. The nice thing about streamers is that they mimic a variety of aquatic life. More specifically, those imitations are often year round food offerings such as crawfish or minnows.

Tip – Spring fishing is excellent on the Lower Madison because it warms more quickly than the upper portion of the river. You’ll find trout in deep, slow water. To be successful, try worms, crayfish and nymphing egg patterns.

Gear –

  • Fly Rod – 9 foot, 5 weight, four-piece rod
  • Fly Reel – 5 weight
  • Line – 5 weight floating
  • Leader/Tippet – 5x tapered leader

Summary

The Madison River provides a diverse fishing experience for all anglers alike. Its blue-ribbon fishery ups the ante of catching a big trophy fish. Perhaps the most sought-after fish are brown rainbow and cutthroat trout although there are many other species to be caught. These fish average about 15 inches and can easily exceed 20 inches. As you venture along the river to find that perfect spot, you’ll notice no two spots are really the same. The beautiful landscape is awe inspiring and makes for a great day out on the water.

Want to receive a free BugClub Bonus Box with nearly $70 worth of fly fishing essentials? This kit comes with each annual subscription, in which you’ll receive four seasonal BugBags to match the hatch each season. Learn more here.