Shoshone River brown trout
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Shoshone River
The Shoshone River is one of the most under-fished
rivers in the general Yellowstone area. It provides great
fishing throughout most of its length. It has two major
forks, both of which provide very good fly fishing
opportunities. Fly fishing the Shoshone River can be a
wonderful experience that few anglers take advantage of.

The North Fork of the Shoshone River starts in the
Absaroka Wilderness in Yellowstone National Park and
flows for approximately fifteen miles. The upper section
must be accessed via horseback or by foot. Most of the
trout in the North Fork are small, averaging about eight
to twelve inches, but they are plentiful.

You can access the lower and middle parts of the North
Fork from highways 14, 16 and 20. The highway to the
East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park follows the
North Fork of the Shoshone. Rainbow and cutthroat
trout are much larger in the lower section of the river
than they are in the upper section. Eighteen inch trout
are not uncommon. Late Spring, Summer and early Fall
is a good time to fish either the upper of the lower
section of the North Fork.

The South Fork of the Shoshone River begins in the
Washakie Wilderness area and flows almost twenty-five
miles through public land or National Forest. The fish in
the South Fork average a small size, or about eight to
twelve inches and are mostly cutthroats and rainbows.
There are some browns in the lower section.

The South Fork's beginning is southwest of Cody
Wyoming. Fishing is good for brook trout and cutthroat
trout that average about 8 to14 inches.

During the Fall some large browns will make their way
into the upper sections of the South Fork to spawn. Fly
fishing the Shoshone River in its upper sections, South
or North Fork, requires hiking or a horse back trip. The
section of the river that's not in the wilderness area flows
through private  property. There are a few access points
along the way.

The lower section of the main Shoshone River is a
tailwater that flows through Cody Wyoming below Buffalo
Bill Dam. It's fishable year-round. There is access in the
town of Cody and downstream towards Powell.

The Shoeshone has a very diverse population of
aquatic insects but they vary from its headwaters to the
tailwater in Cody. The most plentiful mayflies are the
Pale Morning Duns, Bluewinged Olives, Green Drakes,
Small western Green Drakes, March Browns, and Tricos.
There are several others.

The most plentiful caddisflies are the Spotted Sedges,
Green Sedges, Little Black Caddis, Short-horned
Sedges and October Caddis but there are others.

Midges are important during the cold weather but
particulary below the dam in Cody. Blood or red midges,
Cream and Light Greens are the most plentiful.

Stoneflies make up a large part of the trout's diet in the
Shoeshone River. Winter Stoneflies, Salmonflies,
Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow Stoneflies are the
most plentiful ones.

There are lots of terrestrial insects that become
important during the summer months of the year. Grass
Hoppers, Carpenter Ants, Japanese Beetles and others
are among the most plentiful terrestrials.

The season varies with the section of the river.
Winter fishing is possible below Buffalo Bill Dam.
Late Spring can be good except during runoff.          
Summertime is the most popular time to fish the river.
Early Fall may be the best time of the year to fish the
Shoshone River

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream

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


Northwestern Wyoming

Nearest Towns

Year-round below the dam - regular
Wyoming season other areas


Special Regulations

Non-Resident License
State of Wyoming

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies

Buffalo Bill Dam:
USGS Flow Data
Shoshone River Wyoming
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Options For Selecting Flies:
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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 (
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.

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