The Wind River

 

Wind River LakeThe Wind River is the name for the upper reaches of the Bighorn River in Wyoming. As the story goes, a miscommunication between 19th century explorers led to the portion of the river that enters the Wind River Canyon to  be  named the Wind River, while the one that exits the canyon is called the Big Horn River. The Wind River begins its journey in the icy waters of Wind River Lake and Brooks Lake at the top of Togwotee Pass in the Absaroka Mountains. Glacier fed creeks pour into it from the glacier studded Wind River Range, Dunior, Horse Creek and the East Fork of the Wind River just east of Dubois all which drain the southern Absaroka Range join it before it hits the desert of the Wind River Indian Reservation. It flows southeastward, across the Shoshone Basin and the Wind River Indian Reservation and joins the Little Wind River near Riverton. It then veers northward then is temporarily tamed at the juncture of the Owl Creek Mountains, where the river is dammed to form Boysen Reservoir, the Wind River officially becomes the Bighorn River at the Wedding of the Waters, on the north side of the Wind River Canyon.

Wind River, dubois wyomingChiseled by time and gushing water through the Owl Creek Mountains some of Earth’s oldest rock is on display in the canyons 2000-foot walls and some of Wyoming’s most challenging whitewater can be found in the Wind River Canyon. The Wind River Canyon with whitewater, large boulders, pockets, and pools. This section remains clear virtually all year long because it is a tail water fishery with the deep, narrow canyon harbors a collection of Class three rapids that can quickly grow to tumultuous Class five waves under high water flows. Steep canyons, boulders, pocket-water, and deep pools comprise most the features in the lower section. There are significant stretches of whitewater as well. Unlike some bigger, broader rivers that have few obstacles, the Wind River Canyon is a technical playground, a sinewy waterway chock full of boulders and rock gardens that require paddlers to carefully thread their way downstream. Quick reactions and strong paddling are needed to weave back and forth across the river to avoid obstacles and set up for the correct entry into rapids sporting names like Black Coal, Windy Point, Split Rock, Sacajawea, Glassy Waves and Screamin’ Lizard.

fly-fisherman, Wind River CanyonThe upper reaches of the Wind River above Dubois is typical mountain stream fishing as it makes its drop from the high valleys of peaks of the Winds and Absarokas. From Dubois to Boysen Reservoir, it changes character and is a typical Western freestone stream with a large and diverse trout population.  The surrounding terrain looks much like the southwestern desert with chimney rocks, buttes, and sandstone. This is brown trout country, and the size of the browns found in this river is impressive. Most of the fish here range from 8 to 15 inches, with a good number up to 22 inches and some nearly 30 inches.

Below Boysen Reservoir the Wind flows through the Wind River. The fish are not as numerous as in the upper section, but they are much bigger. While fishing the canyon stretch an angler may encounter the fish of a lifetime. Following a rugged course that drops an impressive 200 feet from the time it enters the Wind River Canyon to the time it exits, the river leaps, bounds and jumps over ledges and swirls around boulders.

Remember when recreating on the portions of the Wind River that are on the Wind River Indian Reservation a permit is required for a small fee from the reservation.

Whether you are whitewater rafting, kayaking, sightseeing or fly-fishing. You'll enjoy the unparalleled beauty of one the Wind Rivers variety from alpine mountain valleys, open desert badlands, and oldest beautifully hued canyons in the region.

Wind River Hatch Chart

Insects

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Wind 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
Caddis
                         
Caddis             •
  •   •       Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, Stimulators,
Nymphs & Emergers
: Peeking Caddis, Buckskin Caddis, Beadhead Nymphs
  Stone Flies                          
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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Wind River Fly Patterns

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