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The Greybull River

Greybull River
Greybull River, Absaroka Mountains

Native American tribes named the Greybull River after an albino bison bull that once roamed the area. On a cliff overhanging the river near the town of Greybull Wyoming in a pictograph is pictured a buffalo with an arrow through his body. With this picture goes the story that an old gray bull which ranged up and down the river chased by the Indians was finally killed by driving it over the edge of this bluff into the river below.

The Greybull River south of Cody Wyoming runs through some of the most remote backcountry in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The river rises near Francs Peak in the Absaroka Mountains in the southwest corner of the Big Horn Basin. The Wood River, which drains a part of the Absaroka Mountains to the south, joins it west of Meeteetse, continuing through the southern parts of Park County and Big Horn County before flowing into the Big Horn River near Greybull. Along its 90-mile corridor, water travels from snow-capped peaks in the Absaroka Mountains to sagebrush flats and prairie at its confluence with the Bighorn River.

The Greybull River watershed is famed for supporting the best genetically pure populations left of Yellowstone cutthroat trout remaining in the west, a species decimated elsewhere in the West by non-native species and altered water flows. Much of the upper river is considered a blue ribbon trout stream, The River’s high-quality aquatic habitat is spurring efforts among many landowners to join with partners to protect and restore this biologically important watershed. If you are chasing Yellowstone Cutthroats. This river's lower half is almost completely private. When you enter National Forest you have over 20 miles of incredible hike-in-fishing, with fish ranging from 10-27 inches this is a crown jewel for Cutthroat in America. Dry fly fishing for Yellowstone Cutthroats is excellent on the Greybull. If you are interested in small stream fishing in a beautiful location this is the place.

Cody Hunter landing Greybull River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
Cody Hunter landing Greybull River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

Much of the Greybull River after it leaves the Absaroka Mountains is private ranch land but access is possible through permission and guided fishing trips.

Whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information, CLASS I-III

Venus Creek to Forest Service boundary section

This section of Greybull River in Wyoming is 6 miles long and has been rated as a class I-III section by American Whitewater. Whitewater rafting and kayaking spots in Wyoming are harder than the national norm, so don't forget that quite a few of the sections here are not easy. There are no other sections to paddle along Greybull River other than the Venus Creek to Forest Service boundary section. The wild scenery of the Absaroka Range is great. No matter if you're whitewater rafting or kayaking this is an area with not too many other places for that.

To reach the upper end of the Greybull River, continue west on State Highway 290. The road turns to dirt and into Forest Road 208 at the same place. Continue on this road until you reach the Jack Creek Trailhead. The access to the upper reaches of the Greybull River is by foot or horseback.

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Greybull River Hatch Chart



Greybull River Fly Patterns

Blue Winged Olive (BWO)     •  •
  • Dry Flies: BWO's, Parachute BWO's, Parachute Adams,
Nymphs & Emergers:
Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, BWO Emergers. Beadhead Nymphs
Pale Morning Dun             •   •
  •       Dry Flies: PMD's, Parachute PMD's, Light Cahill. Pink Cahil, Pink Sparkle Dun, Parachute Adams,  Adams,
Nymphs & Emergers: Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, PMD Emergers, Qwiggly Cripple. Beadhead Nymphs
Green Drakes          
            Dry Flies: Paradrakes
Nymphs & Emergers:  Prince Nymphs, Beadhead Nymphs  
Caddis             •
  •   •       Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, Stimulators,
Nymphs & Emergers
: Peeking Caddis, Buckskin Caddis, Beadhead Nymphs
Yellow Sallies             •    •   •       Dry Flies: Yellow Stimulators, Henry's Fork Yellow Sallies, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis.  Nymphs & Emergers: Prince Nymphs, Beadhead Nymphs
Golden Stoneflies             •
          Dry Flies: Yellow Stimulators, Irresistible Stimulators. Chernobyl Ants, Royal Coachmans, Madam X's, 
Nymphs & Emergers
Prince Nymphs, Stonefly Nymphs, Halfback Nymphs,
Salmonflies             •   •           Dry Flies: Sofa Pillows, Orange Stimulators. 
Nymphs & Emergers: Black Rubberlegs, Stonefly Rubberlegs, Bitch Creek Nymph.
Ants           •  •  •   •  •   •     Black Fur Ant, CDC Ant, Foam Ant, Flying Ant
Grasshoppers               •   •   •   •     Dave's Hopper, ParaHopper, Foam Hopper, Madam X's, 
Beetles & Crickets             •   •   •   •   •     Deer Hair Beetle, Foam Beetle, Dave's Cricket, Henry's Fork Cricket
Midges     •   •   •   •   •
  •   •   •   •   • Dry Flies: Griffith's Gnat, Double Midge, Fuzzballs. 
Nymphs & Emergers: Brassie, Midge Emerger,  Disco Midge, Serendipity, Tungsten Beadhead Larva



Greybull River Fly Patterns

Links for river level @ cubic feet per second (CFS)
Wyoming River Montana Rivers Idaho Rivers

Salt River flow at Etna Wyoming

Grey's River flow at Alpine Wyoming

Gros Ventre flow at Zenith Wyoming

Snake River flow at Moran Wyoming

Green River @ Warren Bridge

Green River below Fontenelle

New Fork River @ Big Piney

Wind River @ Dubois

North Fork Shoshone River @ Wapati

South For Shoshone River @ Valley

Greybull River @ Meeteetse

Bighorn River @ Basin

Yellowstone River at Fishing Bridge

Canoeing on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs MT 

Yellowstone River @ Livingston

Madison River @ West Yellowstone

Madison River @ Camron

Gallatin River @ Gallatin Gateway

Jefferson River @ Twin Bridges

Beaverhead River @ Dillon

Boulder River @ Boulder

Smith River @ Logan


Whitewater Rafting on the Galatin River

Henry's Fork flow at Ashton Idaho

South Fork of Snake flow at Irwin Idaho

Fall River flow at Ashton Idaho

Teton River flow at Leigh Creek Idaho

South Fork of Snake River flow at Heise Idaho

Henry's Fork flow at Island Park

Blackfoot River @ Greys Lake




Fly-fishing on the South Fork of the Snake River

Fly-fishing Fine Art Prints by Daryl L. Hunter
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I have spent thousands of hours researching for, and creating content to create a market for my photography, for 35+ years I have been roaming this land for landscape and adventure photos and content for this effort. although this was the  greatest of adventures exploring every corner of the Greater Yellowstone and sharing it some compensation would be greatly appreciated.

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