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

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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.