Well, as the saying goes, “everyone is entitled to their opinion” and so the following is purely my own opinion on good fly fishing spots (with the help of a fly fishing spouse). If you know any fly fisherman, you know that you will never get a consensus on the top 5 rivers as fisherman tend to be pretty fickle and biased based on first- hand experience. Fly fisherman also tend to put fishing spots into categories such as large rivers that you would fish from in a drift boat; small rivers that you would hike into and stalk the fish and everything in between. And let’s not forget some fisherman love the intimate style of fly-fishing where the only thing separating you and the fish is a 3 wt. rod and a short cast. So, all this being said, here are my picks. If you know of some you’d like to add, be my guest!
1. Deschutes River in Central Oregon. In the high desert of Oregon, runs the famous Deschutes River running from Deschutes National Forest to the Columbia River. Over 100 miles of meandering river loaded with native Deschutes River “Redside” Rainbow Trout and Summer Steelhead is waiting for you. The river is huge and you can find your own favorite spot depending on how far or little you want to hike.
2. Lee’s Ferry in Arizona. Near the spectacular Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, you’ll experience not only breathtaking scenery but some of the best rainbow trout fishing in the country. There are 15 miles of beautiful scenic river running above historic Lee’s Ferry through steep canyon walls and you will need a boat to access the best fishing. The fish grow to 14″ -16″ but some have been “said” to be up to 20″ (or maybe that was a fish tale!).
3. Yellowstone National Park in Montana. One of the most spectacular national parks in the country. Much of the wildlife that John Colter encountered in 1807 you can still experience today seeing everything from bison, elk, bear, coyotes, wolves and yes, native cutthroat trout. Due to the alkalinity of the streams running through Yellowstone, there is an abundance of good trout fishing. However, keep in mind, since the mid-1970’s, all the streams inside the park are managed as a catch and release.
4. Rapid River in northwestern Maine. Probably considered one of the most prolific and premier fly fishing spots in the country. This very short river flows from Lower Richardson Lake to Umbagog Lake, but in that short span of river, runs the renowned brook trout for which the area is famous. 3.2 miles long, this may be the shortest and best brook trout river in the country. It is also requires about a mile walk or an hour’s boat ride to reach the best fishable water. Well worth the effort!
5. Fryingpan River in northwestern Colorado. Best known as a tail-water fishery (for the novice, this means fishing below a dam where water is colder and the flow is controlled) this river is located below the Reudi Reservoir. A small stretch of the Williams Mountains outside of Basalt, Colorado juts west from the Continental Divide and separates the “Pan” and the Roaring Fork, another well-known fishing stream in Colorado. Fly fishing here is the true meaning of “Rocky Mountain High”.
What are other great fly fishing spots? Let us know.