By Jeff McDonald
Many areas in Wyoming’s high country are still heavily loaded with melting snow, which means that most of the rivers and creeks continue to run high with poor water clarity. High, fast moving water can also make wading a challenge, if not downright dangerous.
Just because some of the better-known trout streams are “blown out,” it does not mean that there is not good fly fishing in Wyoming right now. During these runoff conditions, I like to focus my attention on smaller out-of-the-way places that escape the dangerous runoff conditions much earlier in the spring.
A perfect example of one of these areas is the Laramie Range between Laramie and Cheyenne. During the months of June and July I have been exploring many of the small drainages in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, including small creeks around the Vedauwoo area.
These small creeks run cold and clear, but what makes them most attractive to fly fishermen are numerous beaver ponds along the way. Getting into these beaver ponds can sometimes require some creative bushwhacking skills, but they are easy to wade and refreshing in the afternoon sun. These ponds offer the perfect habitat for brook trout that are numerous and eager to eat. These fish are typically small (between eight and 12 inches), but catching a two-pound brook trout in a Laramie Range beaver pond is not uncommon.
As many experienced fly fishermen know, brook trout are often aggressive when hitting a dry fly, and typically less picky that other trout species in the region. I fish these ponds with light tackle (nothing more than a 5-weight rod), delicate tippets (6X or 7X), and small dry flies. My fly selection usually consists of some Parachute Adams, blue-winged olive, caddis and midge patterns.
I am always amazed at the stunning colors and spots on these brook trout. To me, catching a beautiful eight-inch brook trout on a light rod with a dry fly in a beautiful area is just as much fun as catching a three-pound rainbow in a larger river. And who can beat dry fly fishing for trout in Wyoming in June and July?Exploring this area is easy. Within minutes from exiting at the Summit rest area on I-80 (exit 323), you can be on one of the numerous Forest Service roads winding into the Laramie Range. All you have to do is keep your eye out for beaver ponds in the many draws, and you are ready to fish. Just remember to pack your mosquito repellant.
Laramie Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter websites.
Jeff McDonald is a member of our local chapter of Trout Unlimited (Laramie Valley Trout Unlimited). Hen enjoys travel Wyoming with his wife and daughter, fly fishing, skiing and photography. You can watch some of Jeff's fly fishing videos on his Laramie Angler YouTube channel.