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

Greybull River Hatch Chart

Insects

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Greybull River Fly Patterns

Mayflies
                         
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
                         
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.
Terrestrials
                         
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
Others
                         
Midges     •   •   •   •   •
  •   •   •   •   • Dry Flies: Griffith's Gnat, Double Midge, Fuzzballs. 
Nymphs & Emergers: Brassie, Midge Emerger,  Disco Midge, Serendipity, Tungsten Beadhead Larva

Insects

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Greybull River Fly Patterns

 

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