Rocky Mountains

If there is a heaven, fly-fishers can only hope it resembles the spine of the American West amid the Rocky Mountains, which run from northern Montana through Wyoming and Idaho, and all the way to southern Colorado. Along that route anglers find some of the most spectacular landscapes and trout fishing in the world. These range from massive tailwater systems (the Madison, Bighorn, Missouri, Green, and Platte rivers) packed with thousands of wild rainbows and browns per square mile, to intimate, freestone streams offering a mix of eager native cutthroats and carnivorous bull trout. Additionally, the Rocky Mountains offer pristine spring creek fishing, including Idaho’s legendary Silver Creek and Henry’s Fork, where large browns and rainbows force anglers to creep on their knees within casting range and use tiny dry flies and 6X or 7X tippet to get a rise.

If that kind of commitment isn’t your style, you also have the option of lazily drifting through many of these rivers in a McKenzie-style drift boat or raft, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide on the oars. If you prefer some solitude, you can hike along the banks almost wherever you please. The Rockies provide some of the best access in the world and in many places the only restrictions are how far your own boots are willing to take you.
The region offers access to some of the world’s most noted national parks, including the iconic Yellowstone National Park, where the Yellowstone, Madison, Firehole, Gallatin, and Gardner rivers beckon. Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park, also provide great trout fishing and the opportunity for pure solitude.

The Rockies are host to some of the heaviest and most predictable hatches in the world; ranging from the giant salmon fly and golden stoneflies of June, to the green drakes, pale morning duns, and Callibaetis of July, and the diminutive Trico and Baetis mayflies that arrive during late summer and fall. And don’t forget the terrestrials—meaning grasshoppers, ants, beetles and moths—which bring fish to top all summer long. Strictly interested in giants? During the fall most anglers go headhunting with large streamers hoping to stick a 10-pound brown as it’s headed toward the spawning grounds.

While the Rockies’ best trout streams have become more and more popular in the past 20 years, an enormous amount of public access, coupled with a ready guide fleet that can row you down any river you choose, makes the region one of fly-fishing’s most desirable destinations. When you visit Montana, Idaho, Wyoming or Colorado you’ll definitely find a little piece of fly-fishing heaven.

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