Clark's Fork Wyoming Rainbow Trout
Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Clark's Fork River Wyoming
This is the Clark's Fork River of Wyoming, not the
Clarke Fork River Montana, so make sure you don't get
the two streams confused. The Clark's Fork River is
located in Northwestern Wyoming and is the state's
only "Wild and Scenic" river. The river starts near Cooke
City Montana not far outside of Yellowstone National
Park and flows along the Beartooth Highway into the
state of Wyoming. It flows through the Shoshone
National Forest.

The uppermost section has plenty of rainbows,
cutthroats and brook trout. Fly fishing the Clark's Fork
River in this area is fun, easy to wade and access is
plentiful. The river stays more like the normal headwater
stream until it flows into a deep canyon called the Box
Canyon. It's a twenty-mile long canyon that is, too say
the least, difficult to access. It is very deep and requires
a killer hike to get into and out of. Needless to say, it is
rarely fished. It is rough, full blown pocket water with
plunges, short cascades, waterfalls and deep pools with
huge boulders spread throughout its waters. There are
several trails that lead down in the canyon for those who
want to fish its waters. There is a road that leads into
one end out of the little town of Clark but you would
need a four-wheel vehicle for sure and then you still
have to hike through some rough territory to reach any
of its water upstream of that point. Most of the trout in
the canyon are rainbows but there are also some brown
trout in the lower section.

The lower twenty-five miles of the river, from its exit from
the canyon to Montana, flows through sage brush land
that's typical Wyoming country. There are several public
access points but it flows mostly through private
property. The lower Clark's Fork River can be fished
from a drift boat. The lower end of this section receives
trout from a hatchery to supplement the wild ones. In
other words, the better fishing is in the upstream
sections in the canyon and the section above the

The river has several tributary stream that also contain
wild trout. Lodgepole Creek, Sunlight Creek, Crandall
Creek and Pilot Creek are the larger ones. Most of
these require hiking into the backcountry to reach their
waters. Although the trout average a smaller size, there
area plenty of them and an occasional large one can be
caught. For the most part, they go unexplored.

The best time for fly fishing the Clark's Fork River is
from just after runoff to the end of August.
Parts of the river can be fished prior to runoff but it
usually isn't very productive.
Summertime is the best time for fly fishing the Clark's
Fork River.
Early Fall provides some good opportunities.

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream

Cutthroat (Native)
Brook Trout (Wild)
Rainbow Trout (Wild)
Brown Trout (Wild)


Northwestern Wyoming

Nearest Towns
Cook City, Montana

April 1 - October 31

Okay, except the box canyon
requires a tough hike

Special Regulations

Non-Resident License
State of Wyoming

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
Clark's Fork River Wyoming
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