According to Cody Region AIS Specialist and ice fishing fanatic Greg Mayton, Buffalo Bill Reservoir offers some of the most fantastic ice fishing the Bighorn Basin has to offer.
According to Cody Region AIS Specialist and ice fishing fanatic Greg Mayton, Buffalo Bill Reservoir offers some of the most fantastic ice fishing the Bighorn Basin has to offer. Located just six miles west of Cody, this reservoir is easily accessed from town and offers anglers an opportunity to catch several species of trout.
Mayton said that while safety should always be a priority, anglers should exercise special caution while ice fishing Buffalo Bill Reservoir because ice conditions can change both quickly and drastically.
“Anglers should be aware that due to strong winds and geothermal spots in the reservoir, ice conditions can be very unpredictable and can pose challenging safety conditions for ice fisherman,” Mayton said. “The wind that persists at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shoshone River can cause unstable ice conditions no matter how cold the winter has been. You also have to keep an eye out for geothermal warm spots that can occur across the reservoir. There has been winters with good, safe ice on parts of the reservoir, and in just a day or two, those same spots are open water.”
Anglers wanting to ice fish the reservoir also need to consider the weather conditions. “When out on this reservoir, anglers should be prepared for brutal west winds that can crop up out of nowhere,” Mayton said.
To check out the weather before heading out, Mayton advises anglers to visit Buffalo Bill State Park’s website. “If therewas one tip that I could give to help avoid a wasted trip, it would be to check out Buffalo Bill State Park’s webcam and weather page to get an idea of what’s happening before heading out. The webcam can be found at: [log in for link]
Mayton continues, “On the brighter side, if the weather cooperates and ice conditions are safe, Buffalo Bill anglers can have the thrill of catching some of the best eating and fighting trout the Basin has to offer.”
Buffalo Bill’s under water topography is diverse and ranges from shallow mud flats to steep rocky drop offs. While most ice fishermen are pursuing trout, the reservoir contains both warm and cold water fish species including cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat rainbow hybrids, brown trout, lake trout, walleye and perch. Some of the most popular places to ice fish are Bartlett Lane off the South Fork Hwy, off the steep shores of Stage Coach Trail and the more easily accessible North Fork Hwy.