Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Wind River In
The Wind River is one of Wyoming's most overlooked
trout stream. Its trout fishing opportunities rival any of
the other streams in the state. It is one of our favorite
western trout streams. Fly fishing the Wind River is
usually a big adventure anywhere you choose to fish the
There are two basic sections to the Wind River. The
upper section of freestone stream and the tailwater
section below Boysen Reservoir. Fishing all but two
miles of its water in the tailwater section requires a
permit from the Wind River Indian Reservation. The
thirty miles of water above the dam doesn't require a
The upper freestone section has plenty of access
because it flows through the Shoshone National Forest.
Its is rather small to medium in size, depending on the
location, and generally easy to wade. Its trout, mostly
rainbows and brook trout, probably average less than
12 inches in the uppermost sections. The trout below
the confluence of the Jakey's Fork are larger and
average close to 15 inches with many much larger. The
river is quite larger in this section.
Jakey's Fork itself is a fine trout stream. It doesn't have
much public access, but what's available is well worth
fishing. It has a good population of brown, rainbow and
The best of the Wind River's fly fishing opportunities lies
below the Boysen Reservoir in the tailwater section. It
flows through a deep, wild and rugged, but beautiful
fifteen-mile long canyon. All but two miles of this water
lies on the Wind River Indian Reservation. This section
hold some huge trout. The Wind River Canyon has
brown, rainbow and some cutthroat trout with many
going 18 inches and better. Access is easy. U. S.
Highway #20 follows the river though the canyon.
The aquatic population is great through out the Wind
River and even in the tailwater section. Hatches are
more than common for a tailwater. It often requires
matching the hatch in order to catch its large trout.
There are several species of mayflies, but the most
important are the Blue-winged olives and Pale Morning
duns. There are also hatches of Dark Red Quills, Yellow
Quills, sometimes called Pink Lades, Small western
green drakes, Green drakes, March Browns, Triocs and
Caddisflies are also plentiful, especially in the tailwaters.
There are several different species called Spotted
Sedges, Little Sister Caddis, Green Sedges,
Short-horned Sedges and even some October Caddis.
Stoneflies are very important and very plentiful. They
include the Little Winter stoneflies, the Giant
Salmonflies, Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow
Stoneflies. Stonefly hatches produce some of the best
fishing of the year.
During the hot summer months, terrestrial insects can
become important. Ants, beetles and hoppers work well
at times. Sculpin are the most plentiful baitfish and
imitations of them produce some of the larges trout.
During the cold months of the year, the Mighty Midge is
king. The tailwaters are full of them.
Fly fishing the Wind River provides the best opportunity
you will get to catch a large rainbow trout from a river.
The season varies with the section of the river.
Winter fishing can be very good in the tailwater
Late Spring before the runoff, can be good on the upper
river above the reservoir. Early spring can be good in
the tailwater section.
Summertime flows run high in the tailwater. The upper
section of the Wind River can be good.
Late Fall may be the best time of the year to fish the
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Wind River Wyoming
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 2-0X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five or
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Wind River Fly Fishing Report:
05/08/14 Fishing has been good for the past month in the tailwater section of the Wind River.
Customers ordering flies are using our White Belly Sculpins and Blue-winged olive nymphs.
For the past week, stream levels have been high
January 12, 2017
Updated Fishing Report
(see bottom of page for Archive)
05/25/14 High water levels due to melting snow (runoff) currently has the Wind River not in
good shape to fish, not even in the tailwater section.
06/05/14 The river has dropped some but it is still high. It is getting warmer and Salmonflies
should begin to hatch anytime, if not already.
06/12/14 No reports from anyone fishing because of high water levels from runoff. It is
improving and should be ready soon.
07/03/14 The stream levels are down but not down to the point fishing could be called good.
The dams are discharging lots of water and the freestone is still a tad high. This week should
make a huge difference and the "catching" should pick up.
07/17/14 Two customers reporting some very good action and catches. Golden Stoneflies
and Little Yellow Stoneflies are hatching along with PMDs and Spotted Sedges. Now is a very
good time to be fishing the Wind.
07/24/14 Fishing continues to be excellent. Hatches are slowing down some but there are
still plenty of Little Yellow Stoneflies, spotted sedges and PMDs.
07/31/14 Stream levels are in excellent shape and lots of trout are being caught in the
freestone and tailwater sections of the river.
08/28/14 Sorry for the lack of reports. Our customers caught plenty of trout prior to the high
water levels. It is still high in the headwaters with plenty of tailwater flows, so it may be a while
getting back into good shape.
09/11/14 We had three good reports come in during the past two weeks from customers.
Two were using Western Ginger Quills and Little Yellow Stoneflies and one mostly
terrestrials, hoppers and ants.
09/25/14 No reports from this past week. Fishing has been excellent as long as the stream
levels have been in good shape. This should continue to be true for the next few days.
October Caddis are showing up.
10/09/14 There are plenty of October Caddis still hatching but BWOs should be the center
of attention for the next couple of months. Brown trout are aggressive and in the pre-spawn
mode and our Brown Sculpin will take them as well or better than anything.
10/16/14 Stream levels have been high at times but falling with no rain in the forecast. Both
tailwaters are discharging water. Conditions should improve for the coming week.
10/23/14 Stream flows have been high all week. No reports from anyone fishing.
10/30/14 One report from a customer suing our sculpin streamers catching some larger size
trout this past week. Cautions that the discharge (water levels) must be checked.
11/30/14 The tailwater section has been fishing good when weather has permitted. Watch the
water levels and weather and choose a good day and you should catch some trout. Cream
Midges is the main insect to be imitating.
12/18/14 The Wind River below Boysen holds large, brown and rainbow trout.
Boat access below the dam is limited to guides authorized to float through the canyon. It is
on tribal land. To put yourself in the position to access the big fish here, you'll want to
consider hiring an authorized guide.
12/25/14 No reports from the past week
01/01/15 Still no reports. Very cold weather is in the forecast for a few days.
01/15/15 We still don't have any reports but conditions have been much better with good
stream levels and better weather. Let us hear from you.
01/22/15 Sorry, but still no reports from anyone fishing.
02/05/15 Road conditions are clear and in good shape stream levels are good and the
weather is as good as it gets in the winter months.
02/19/15 We are a little surprised we didn't get any good reports this past week. The
weather has been excellent for February.
02/26/15 Still no reports from anyone fishing
03/05/15 Although the weather and stream levels in the tailwater have been good recently,
we still don't have any reports from anyone fishing. Let us her from you.
03/19/15 Warm weather has had snow melting and the water off color. Still no reports from
03/26/15 Stream levels are still a little high. No reports from the past week.
04/02/15 High stream levels exist throughout the system.
04/16/15 Stream levels are back down near normal with good early season conditions but
we didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing.
05/07/15 Runoff is underway with high water levels.
05/21/15 We have had a bad link on the tailwater USGS data but it is fixed now. The tailwater
is fishing good when the discharges are not to high.
06/11/15 The river is blown out from the spring runoff. It will be a while longer.
07/02/15 The river levels have dropped and cleared and the freestone section is getting
into good shape. There are lots of hatches taking place including the big stoneflies, Green
drakes, PMDs, Spotted Sedges and others.
07/09/15 Good conditions continue from the headwaters to the tailwater.
07/16/15 At Kinnear the flow is down to 522 cfs and 4.21 ft. It doesn't get any better. Lots of
hatches including PMDs, Spotted Sedges, Goldens and Little Yellow Stones.
07/23/15 A good report from two or our customers from last week. Perfect conditions for dry
fly fishing. Good stream levels from the headwaters to the tailwater.
08/05/15 Trout are being caught in good numbers in both the freestone section and the
tailwater. Terrestrials are working along with the PMDs, Spotted Sedges, Little Yellow Stones.
08/12/15 We got a good reports from a customer fishing the headwaters. Good numbers and
sizes of trout being caught on PMDs, Caddis and terrestrial imitations.
08/20/15 No reports from last week, but we will have soon. Derek Porter, a contributor to
Perfect Fly, and a group of anglers are fishing the Wind River range for the next few days.
08/27/15 The upper and middle sections are a little low but good shape and trout are being
caught in good numbers. We didn't get a report from the canyon section.
09/03/15 Our contributor and his crew did very well fishing the wind river range lakes and
streams this past week. They caught trout on a variety of flies. We didn't receive any reports
from the canyon section.
09/10/15 Two more good reports. One from the upper headwaters and one from the canyon.
Good weather and good stream levels equals good fishing.
09/17/15 The freestone section is just a little above normal level and doing great. They are
running a lot of water through dam and the tailwater is far too high. Keep a close check on it.
09/24/15 The freestone section closes to fishing at the end of this month. The tailwater
stays open for fishing year-round.
10/01/15 The tailwater is the only section open and we didn't receive any reports from the past
week but will soon.
10/08/15 We still didn't get any reports from the tailwater section last week. Let us hear from
you. Not many are fishing and they are missing a very good opportunity. Great conditions exist.
10/15/15 Conditions have been great in the tailwater lately but few anglers are fishing. We did
get one good report from a local.
Wind River Map
10/21/15 Reports are only a very few local anglers are fishing and they are doing well. The river
is in good shape in the canyon with October Caddis at the peak of their hatch. Blue-winged
olives are starting to hatch again.
10/29/15 There are still a few October Caddis around but the main hatches are Blue-winged
olives. That will be the case until it gets down to midges and baitfish. Right now, our Brown
Sculpin streamer should be the top fly.
11/05/15 Few anglers are fishing the Wind river at this time of the year - very few. The canyon
tailwater can be a big fish paradise when the discharges and stream levels are good. The
upper headwaters is getting a little chilly.
11/12/15 Discharges have been low and conditions good but we still didn't receive any reports.
11/19/15 Still no reports from anyone fishing this past week. Midges work great at this time of
the year. If the discharges are reasonable, you can almost always catch trout in the canyon at
this time of the year.
12/03/15 The flows in the canyon tailwater is staying low and in good shape. We have one
report recently of a few big browns caught on our Brown sculpin streamers. Few are fishing and
that is a shame because the conditions are still good. I guess everyone was too full of turkey.
12/10/15 Conditions are still good in the canyon section. Midges are still the most important
insect to imitate but we just added Winter stoneflies. They have started to hatch.
12/17/15 The Wind River canyon tailwater is about the only place you have any chance of
catching trout this coming week. There is a high wind warning for tomorrow, and with the high
temperature of only 41, usually lower, that isn't a good idea. Conditions will be better later in the
week. The stream levels should be fine with little water being discharged most of the time. Winter
stoneflies and midges would be your best fly options. Streamers work best on overcast days.
12/23/15 The freestone section of the river is out of service. I'm joking but it is too cold to fish
with lots of ice. The tailwater is fine. You can catch trout there as long as you're willing to bear
the elements. Right now, it is cold in Wind River country. Midges and Winter stoneflies is about
the only feasible options.
12/31/15 The only opportunity is in the tailwater thanks to the bottom discharge. That is the only
place in the river where the water will be warm enough. Midges and Winter stoneflies should work
well there. It is going to be cold and clear most of the coming week. Make sure you check the
01/07/16 The only feasible option for the Wind River at this time of the year is the Boysen
Reservoir tailwater. It is a bottom discharge and the water temperature is usually no colder than
39 degrees. That sounds cold but you can catch trout with midges, little BWO nymphs and
Winter stonefly nymphs.
01/14/16 We didn't receive any reports from the last week. The tailwater water temperature near
the dam is 39 degrees, which is plenty warm enough to catch trout on midges and little winter
stonefly nymphs but getting there, with snow forecast everyday this coming week, may be a
01/27/16 The Wind River canyon tailwater below Boysen is the only place with warm enough
water to fish. You will have to make sure the discharges are going to be suitable and that you
can safely get to the water with the snow situation, but otherwise, it is fishable. Midges, winter
stonefly nymphs and Sculpin streamers are the flies you need.
02/03/16 Boysen Canyon is the only option that's worth considering or available right now. With
all the cold weather that has been taking place, this is unlikely to change for the next few weeks,
but you never know for sure. Getting there is usually a bigger problem that catching trout when
you do get there.
02/11/16 It is going to be much warmer this week that it has in a while but it won't affect anything
but an angler's comfort. The only section you should consider fishing is the canyon below
Boysen Reservoir. The discharges are find now and should remain in good shape this coming
02/18/16 The weather has been much warmer and that makes it a lot more pleasant to fish but
makes little difference in the water temperature in the canyon section. That is where you should
be fishing using midges. They are hatching good most days. Creams and reds are the two major
02/25/16 According to our reports from local customers, the Boysen Reservoir tailwater has
produced some trout this past week. Little BWO nymphs, and cream and red midge pupa and
larva fished in tandem did the trick. It is going to continue to be warmer than normal but snow
again starting Thursday.
03/03/16 The only feasible option is still the tailwater below Boysen Reservoir. You have to check
the discharges and flows. They vary them due to the melting snow and warmer weather. Winter
stoneflies, Black Flies and midges, creams and reds, work best.
03/10/16 The weather is going to be clear until next Monday when there is a slight chance of
snow. Stream levels appear to be normal. The only option is the tailwater in the canyon at this
time. Midges, larva and puap, creams and reds, are the best flies to use.
03/17/16 The tailwater below the reservoir is still the only option. The recent warm weather did
little other than melt a lot of snow and ice and hold the water temperature down. Midges and
Winter stoneflies are still the main insects to imitate.
03/24/16 The fishing report looks like the same thing week after week. The freestone river is just
too cold to fish anywhere. The only option is the tailwater in the canyon. You can catch trout
there on Midges. You just have to deal with the circumstances of snow and cold weather.
03/31/16 The river can be fished in the canyon below Boysen but that is still the only logical
choice. It won't be long before Skwala stoneflies will begin to hatch.
04/06/16 The first week of the Wind River fishing season turned out to be okay, but few anglers
took advantage of it from the reports we got. Skwala stoneflies should be hatching in the lower
elevations of the freestone section above the lake. Blue-winged olives and Midges are the
insects to imitate otherwise.
04/13/16 The Wind River is flowing at a normal level in the freestone section. The discharges
below the dam in the canyon has varied up and down and down. There is rain and snow forecast
04/20/16 The river is back up again due to melting snow and heavy rain. It is dingy. The only
opportunity would be the canyon tailwater, but you will have to check the discharge schedule.
The water is still cold, in the mid forties.
05/28/16 The Wind River is high in all sections due to melting snow and rain. There is more wet
snow in the forecast every day for the coming week. It is keep the levels high and stained and
not much fly fishing opportunity exist.
05/05/15 The warmer weather has runoff like conditions, with high stained water. The clearest is
in the canyon tailwater. Midges, Blue-winged olives and soon to be, the Mother's day hatch of
little Black Grannom Caddis will take place.
05/12/16 The Wind River is for all practical purposes in runoff, although this is very early for it. It
may stop later and start again near the end of the month but right now the levels are high and
the water off color.
05/19/16 Runoff is underway big time and all sections of the river pretty much blown out.
05/26/16 The water levels in the freestone section have fell out a lot, but still in runoff and
expected to remain that way for several more days. The only option might be the canyon
tailwater but it, of course, depends on the discharges.
06/02/16 The river is high, fast and dingy but expected to go much higher due to the warmer
weather forecast for this coming week. The tailwater will be the only option but most likely, not a
very good one. The lake in near full at this time and high discharges are likely.
06/09/16 The river is undergoing some strong runoff which isn't so good right now, but does
indicate that is should be a good fly fishing year for the Wind River. The snowpack is a good one
and the weather getting warm. The discharges in the canyon tailwater is likely to be high but
would be the only chance to fish when it isn't.
06/16/16 The flows near Kinnear are at 2980 cfs, which is extremely high. The runoff appears to
be full strength. The canyon tailwater is likely very high as well, but the gauge isn't working and
we don't have the reading.
06/23/16 The levels only dropped a little and the river is still too high to fish in any section. It is
falling and hopefully, won't be much longer until the runoff is finished.
06/30/16 The upper freestone river has gotten into good shape with good levels still a little high
but it can be fished successfully. The tailwater section in the canyon discharges vary, but are
offering more opportunity now. Several insects are hatching including Salmonflies, Golden
stoneflies, little Yellow sallies, Green Drakes, 3 species of caddis and more.
07/07/16 The river level is down and the water clear. There are a lot of insects hatching, but it
depends on the section. There are Golden stoneflies, Little Yellow stoneflies, Spotted Sedges,
Green sedges, Pale Morning duns, Yellow Quills, Blue-winged olives, and others insects
hatching. The headwaters down through the canyon is in good shape.
07/14/16 The flows near Kinnear are 372 cfs at 4.62 ft. at this time. Below The USGS gauge
below Boysen Reservoir isn't working. They should be low but that's a guess. The freestone
section runoff is over and the river in very good shape with lots of hatches and trout being
07/21/16 The river is in good shape from its uppermost headwaters to the lowest section that
holds trout. Trout are being caught in both the freestone and tailwater sections. Lots of aquatic
insects are hatching. Send us an email and we will send you a list of flies for the section of water
you plan to fish. Most all sections can be waded. The stream is averaging a little below normal.
07/28/16 The canyon tailwater has been good to those fishing it. The headwaters are in good
shape. The middle and lower section of the freestone is a little warm. Tricos have started to
hatch there. The hatches vary greatly as you move upstream. Fish the higher elevations for the
08/04/16 The Wind River high country is much cooler than the lower area but the stream levels
are low and you have to be very careful not to spook the trout. The middle and lower sections
above the lake are too warm for good fishing. The tailwater in the canyon is in good shape with
low discharges and flows. This situation should be changing soon and cooling down some.
08/11/16 The upper freestone section of the river is in good shape. There are some good
hatches taking place but vary with the elevation from the headwaters downstream to Boysen
Reservoir. The canyon tailwater discharges are low and our customers reporting catching trout
there as well.
08/18/16 Excellent conditions exist in all sections of the river from the headwaters to the Boysen
tailwater. Hatches vary with the elevation. Caddisflies are hatching in all sections. Send us an
email for a complete list where you plan to fish. You can wade most anywhere in the freestone
section. Drift boats are doing well in the tailwater.
08/25/16 The data for the tailwater flows isn't available right now, but was up a little high recently.
The freestone section levels are just barely below normal levels. It is in very good shape from
backcountry trips. Hatches are taking place but vary greatly with the elevation.
09/01/16 The river is in good shape in all sections from the uppermost section the tailwaters.
Stream levels are good averaging just a little below normal. There are lots of caddisflies hatching
but many others that vary with the elevation and type of water. Send us and email for a list.
09/08/16 The freestone section is low and although you can fish it, you need to stay hidden and
use stealth. There are several insects hatching but it depends greatly on the elevation. Send us
an email for a fly list with dates you're fishing and approx. place.
09/15/16 The upper freestone section is low, but otherwise, in good shape. You just have to stay
low and hidden from the trout. The cooler weather helps and there's not water temp. problem.
The canyon tailwater is in good shape with normal discharges and levels. We received good
reports from both sections this past week.
09/22/16 The cooler weather and rain is improving the stream conditions fast. It will rain off an on
through Saturday and the levels will be rising some more. Customers are catching trout in the
headwaters and canyon in good numbers. This should continue, but be sure to check the levels.
October Caddis are starting to hatch.
09/29/16 The upper river is flowing a little high right now. Wading is okay in some skinny water
and not possible in other places but it is falling. The tailwater is also a little high from local
reports. The USGS gauge below Boysen isn't working today. The cooler weather has the water in
good shape and the trout active. October caddis, Mahogany duns and BWOs.
10/06/16 The river is very high right now and is going to take some time to drop back to normal
levels. The tailwater will also be high with heavier discharges. You need to keep a check on the
stream levels of both the freestone and tailwater to determine when it can be fished.
10/13/16 The stream levels are down in good shape flowing about an average level. The water
temperature is perfect and lots of trout are being caught this past two days. The discharges may
continue to be high in the tailwater for another day or two but should also settle down.
10/20/16 The levels in the upper section fell back to near normal levels but are back up high
again. We haven't received any reports from anyone fishing the tailwater this past week.
10/27/16 The weather and water temperature is colder, especially in the high elevations. The
stream levels are just a little above normal but tough to wade most places.
11/03/16 The river is still running high, too high to wade safely in most sections. The canyon
tailwater may be fine at times. You will just have to watch the discharge schedule and levels. Blue-
winged olives are hatching good..
11/10/16 The upper and middle sections of the river are still running high, too high to wade
safely in most places but falling. They should be good in another day or two. The canyon varies
depending on the releases but has been high more often than not.
11/17/16 The upper freestone section of the river is still staying high, too high to wade. The
weather is turning much colder with some snow. Midges and BWO's will be the only hatches. The
canyon tailwater will be best but the discharges have to be right.
12/01/16 The tailwater section of the river is in good shape. Discharges are usually low, allowing
plenty of good fishing opportunity. The freestone section is closed to fishing.
12/08/16 The Boysen tailwater is the only option at this time. The discharges should be relatively
low and the water temperature near 40 degrees. Cream Midges are hatching.
12/15/16 The freestone section trout fishing season is closed for the year. You can fish the
canyon tailwater section below Boysen Reservoir. Midges, creams and light greens, are
hatching. Winter stoneflies should be hatching as well. Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem
for the best results.
12/22/16 The tailwater below Boysen Reservior is still the only good option. The water
temperature there is about 39 degrees. Midges, Creams and Blood midges (reds) are the only
insects hatching other than some Winter Stoneflies.
12/29/16 With the freestone section closed until the new season starts, the Boysen tailwater is
the only option. Getting there with a drift boat may be a bigger problem than catching trout.
There's a lot of snow and ice. The water is fine, about 37 degrees and midges are hatching.
01/05/17 There could be some opportunity below the reservoir. The weather is clear and the
roads should be clear. We do not have reading on the discharge rates and levels due to ice in
the gauge. I'll try to get a physical update on it.
The only option would be the tailwater.
There is snow forecast for today, then
clear for several days. It will be warmer
but still not above freezing. The
discharges should be low with low
water levels. Midges, Creams and
Reds, will catch trout below Boysen.