WGFD fall fishing forecast
Cheyenne - Just as the temperatures drop, Wyoming fishing starts heating up. We have the scoop from our Game and Fish regional experts on the fishing this fall. Regions unanimously report fall is the best time to get outside with your rod, and the fishing will be spectacular wherever you cast your line. See what’s happening in your favorite spot or learn about a new destination with our 2016 fall fishing forecast.
With the coming of fall many anglers hang up their fishing gear and shift to hunting. But Al Conder, Casper regional fisheries supervisor suggests to not completely forget about fishing. Fall offers some of the best fishing in the Casper region. Cooling water temperatures means increasing trout activity particularly near the shores of our reservoirs. Fall fishing produces some of the highest catch rates for trout in Seminoe, Pathfinder and Alcova reservoirs. Trout number aren’t as high as recent years but fishing should still be very good.
If you are after walleye, these same reservoirs offer some of the best walleye fishing in the state. Pathfinder currently boasts one of the highest densities of walleye and a population with the highest percentage of trophy sized fish in Wyoming. While Pathfinder currently offers the most and the largest walleyes, Alcova and Seminoe are not far behind and should provide great fall opportunities .
And do not forget your fly rod on your fall trips in the Casper Region. Currently there are very good numbers of rainbow and brown trout on the Miracle Mile (between Kortes and Pathfinder Dams) a recent estimate found an impressive 2,900 trout per mile. As water temperature cool, brown trout also begin moving into the Mile from Pathfinder Reservoir to spawn. Brown trout spawning in the Mile peaks around Thanksgiving.
Fall marks a time when most sportsmen in the Cody Region hang up their waders and fishing rods and head into the mountains in pursuit of big game. This fall transition leads to plenty of elbow room along the streams and rivers of the Cody Region, and boat ramps on lakes and reservoirs free of waiting lines. As day length shortens and the sun tracks lower on the horizon line, water temperatures begin to drop. For fish these two cues, shorter days and lower water temperature, serve as a warning that another long winter is on its way. In response, fish “put on the feedbag” so to speak. So if elbow room and aggressively feeding fish sound like a good combination, then here are a few places to consider casting a line in the Cody Region this fall.
Of all the quality fall fishing opportunities in the Cody Region, the Shoshone River below Buffalo Bill Dam is certainly among the top. Beginning in mid-October, the irrigation network turns off and water clarity in the Shoshone River improves. “Between Buffalo Bill Dam and Willwood Dam there are 2,500 trout per mile and relatively good access for both wade and float fishermen. Large streamers are the name of the game in the fall,” said Sam Hochhalter, Cody
regional fisheries supervisor.
There is perhaps no better time to fish for sauger in Big Horn Lake then the fall. Decreasing water temperature and shorter days trigger a downstream migration out of the Bighorn River and into Big Horn Lake. The size structure of this sauger population is impressive with fish topping out at five to six pounds and many in the two to four pound range. The sauger fishery is in its prime from October through November and with everything from jigs and crank baits to night crawlers and live minnows being effective.
Green River Region
As water temperatures cool down this fall fishing on Green River waters should start heating up. Start planning your trip when the water temperatures drop into the 50s and below for the best fall fishing.
As the temperatures drop both shore and boat fishing will get better for lake trout pups (less than 28 inches) and rainbow trout in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The numbers of lake trout less than 28 inches are still high in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. “Please help out the fishery and consider harvesting the smallest lake trout you can use. The limit for lake trout less than 28 inches on Flaming Gorge is 8 fish per day and in possession. These small lake trout provide wonderful table fair,” said Robb Keith, Green River regional fisheries supervisor. “You may even catch a few of the Bear River cutthroat trout the Game and Fish stocked during the spring of 2015 and again in 2016. The 2015 cutthroat are reportedly between 17 and 19 inches.”
Similar to the Gorge, Fontenelle Reservoir can be a good destination in the fall as temperatures drop. In October anglers should find good numbers of spawning Kokanee salmon along the cliffs between the boat ramp and the dam on the west side of the reservoir. Unlike Flaming Gorge there is no closed season on harvesting Kokanee in Fontenelle Reservoir. Bank fishing and boat fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout can be productive this time of year. You might consider a little night fishing for burbot along the cliff and rocky habitat around the reservoir. Anglers will have a good chance of catching a burbot of a lifetime weighing at or over 10 pounds.
If you like diversity try Jim Bridger Pond for rainbow trout, Snake River cutthroat trout, tiger trout and splake. Jim Bridger Pond is immediately adjacent to Jim Bridger Power Plant a short distance east of Rock Springs. Access is good with a few parking areas around the reservoir. Boats are allowed but anglers will find they can access most of the reservoir from shore. Make certain to read and adhere to the rules posted by the plant administration near the reservoir. Tiger trout were first stocked in 2014 at 3 inches and are now 16 and 20 inches long. At times the reservoir has produced rainbow trout and cutthroat over 4 pounds.
If you prefer fishing flowing water you might consider the Green River below Fontenelle Dam. The Green River can be pretty quiet fishery in the fall of the year. Many anglers put up their fishing gear and grab their guns in the fall. The Green River can fish really well in the fall. Remember to check your fishing regulations as there is special regulation area that starts a few miles downstream of the dam and ends at the Big Sandy River confluence. The Green River supports populations of rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. You may also catch mountain white fish one of the native salmonids in the Green River. In the fall Kokanee salmon migrate out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir to spawn in the Green and provide a little diversity to the fishery. Small lake trout (less than 28 inches) also frequent the Green River after water temperatures. Don’t be surprised if you catch one fishing a streamer, spinner or spoon.
If you prefer to fish all by yourself try the Hams Fork River downstream of Kemmerer City Reservoir. There is a long stretch of private land below this reservoir with public access through a Game and Fish fishing easements. Easements rules are posted at all the easement parking areas that get anglers closer to the river. Please review and strictly adhered to the easement rules. This is a willow clothed rainbow and brown trout fishery – very scenic. The river is easily waded, especially in the fall.
After a summer of elevated stream temperatures and sluggish afternoons fish , and anglers are ready for cooler fall temperatures. The most popular fall fishing in the Jackson Region is found on the Snake River for the native Snake River Cutthroat Trout. Rob Gipson, Jackson regional fisheries supervisor advises, “There are several access points for float fishing, but large portions of the river are within Grand Teton National Park or the Bridger-Teton National Forest allowing for some great walk-in fishing.”
Flat Creek, on the National Elk Refuge, is only open to fishing from August through October. Flat Creek is an artificial [truncated for length]