In the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, anyone can be a fisherman–or fisher-woman! With over 75 good fishing lakes in the Snowy Range, there is a fishing spot for everyone. From experienced anglers to novices, seasoned aficionados to young children, the fishing experience here is truly unique and accessible to all.
Where to Stay
The small, mountain community of Centennial, Wyoming makes an ideal home-base from which to explore all that the Snowy Range has to offer. Primely situated at the edge of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Centennial is only a 35-minute drive from the larger town of Laramie, and is an excellent choice for outdoors and fishing enthusiasts. Needless-to-say, The Mountain View Historic Hotel is the perfect place for a fisherman to relax after a day on the water. Enjoy the historical atmosphere, rustic charm, and all the comforts of home! The hotel also has a wonderful cafe with delicious breakfast and lunch options, as well as fantastic coffee roasted on-site!
Snowy Range Waterways
Surrounded by the epic beauty of the Snowy Range wilderness, numerous streams, lakes, and reservoirs offer a variety of fishing experiences. Some, like Lake Owen and Rob Roy Reservoir, allow motorized watercraft and are equipped with boat ramps. Others permit only kayaks and canoes, enabling their patrons to absorb the quiet tranquility of a fishing experience “closer to nature.” For more on boating (and fishing) regulations visit the Wyoming Game and Fish website.
No boat? No problem! Fishing from shore is a great option as well. There is great access along Mirror Lake, Lake Marie, or Lewis Lake—the dam area on Little Brooklyn Lake is a great place for kids to catch fish.
If you’re looking for a more secluded fishing experience, the Shelf Lakes might be just the ticket. A marked hiking trail (intermediate skill level) skirts the edges of these beautiful lakes.
The North Platte River, located just over the mountain, is the recommended river for Fly Fishing. Local experts also highly recommend French Creek and Douglas Creek. However, with the literally dozens of well-stocked lakes in the area, there is certainly no shortage of prime fly-fishing locales.
So Many Fish, So Little Time
A wonderful array of fish swim in the waterways of the Snowies. Brook, golden, cutthroat, and rainbow trout, along with splake and grayling provide ample opportunities for fly or bait fisherman to try their luck. A variety of fish are stocked regularly by Wyoming Game and Fish.
The variety of waterways and fish afford no shortage of exceptional experiences, whatever your level of expertise may be. Seasoned fly fishers will find ample challenge to satisfy, and even children can enjoy enough success to instill a life-long love of fishing and the outdoors. After all, there is nothing quite like the thrill of reeling in a fish for the first time—or even the 101st time.
Gear and Supplies
Of course, there are supplies you will need. Fishing licenses can be purchased online from Wyoming Game and Fish or at many hardware stores and gas stations in the area. The West Laramie Fly Store, and their exceedingly helpful staff, are a great source for not only fishing licenses, but also bait, tackle, flies, and just about any other fishing paraphernalia or information you could want. Check out their regularly updated “Fishing Report.”
Fly fisherman can employ an array of gear and tackle to suit their fishing preferences. Nymphing is particularly popular in the alpine waterways—Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, and Copper Johns (size 14-18) are highly recommended—but dry flies are more than adequate as well.
For those who want a truly extraordinary trip, consider hiring Two Dogs Guide Service. These experienced guides offer a terrific selection of guide packages for all abilities and preferences. They also offer full gear and equipment rentals.
The best times of day for fishing are in the early morning hours and the evening hours. There is a pristine magic in these bewitching hours. Far from the clamor and chaos of civilization, the lilting twitter of an American pipit or brown-capped rosy finch mingles with the rustle of lodge-pole pines and aspen to serenade the mountain explorer. On the glassy mountain lakes–disturbed only by leaping trout–the reflections of rocky peaks and emerald spires, backlit by the rising or setting sun, will literally take your breath away. You may even be fortunate enough to glimpse a moose or an elk emerging from the forest for a cool drink. You can download a map of the Snowy Range Area here.
Once the peak fishing hours have passed, there is still plenty of adventure to fill your day. Hike one of the many wonderful trails and have a picnic lunch. Fresh brook trout are renowned for their delectable texture and flavor! Or, head back into Centennial for a delicious lunch at the Mountain View Cafe!
You could also spend some time driving the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, bird-watching, photographing, reading, or exploring the Nici Self Historical Museum in Centennial—the possibilities are endless. For more information check out the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest: Snowy Range Area website!
Undoubtedly, fishing in the Snowy Range is an adventure everyone will enjoy! There are memories to be made, mountains to be climbed, and fish to be caught. Come to the Snowies, the trout are biting!
Book your stay at The Mountain View Historic Hotel by May 31st (subject to availability) and get 10% off your room when you mention this blog post!!