Sheridan, Wyoming Private Ranches
In northern Wyoming, runoff begins usually about the first week in May. Once placid streams rage and roar and one wonders how a trout could survive in all that chaos. This coffee-colored maelstrom continues until about mid-June or until last winter’s snowpack is almost spent and the roar then dissipates into a familiar song. As the streams drop and slow down, the summer sun now has a chance to warm the water. This change in temperature activates the trout and triggers the first real hatch of summer.
Huge pteronarcys stoneflies crawl to the willows and rocks that line the river’s edge to shed their pupal shucks and take flight. Over an inch in length, charcoal bodied with salmon-colored accents, these huge insects are the famous salmonflies of fishing lore. Fishermen bring out big (size 8), dry flies that encourage trout to voraciously feed on the surface. After almost nine months of feeding on tiny nymphs, these stoneflies must seem huge.
The pteronarcys adults disappear in early July, leaving only their shucks attached to rocks and bridge pilings as a reminder of their season. The water is now crystal clear... this is the classic, dry fly time of the year. The elk and deer lazily munch at the tall grass, the sky is a deep Wyoming blue, the trees are green and the fish are hungry. One can fish with nymphs, but it is the surface dry fly action, the lazy inspections and aggressive rises, that bring fishermen back to Wyoming year after year.
As July gives way to August, the days, as well as the fishing, get even hotter. By mid-August, you swear you can feel a hint of autumn in the air even though it may be 90 degrees outside. This is hopper season and the rainbows and browns fatten on the pestilence. Big flies, big fish, beautiful days, what could be better?
The hopper season continues as the days shorten and the nights become cooler in early September. This is the most beautiful time of the year and, although we can now have snowstorms at any time, you will most likely hit the weather right and your heart will ache with the beauty of it all. Yellow aspen and cottonwood, red sumac and green pines now frame these chatty, lazy streams. Slower pools are dimpled with rising trout making their last attempt to fatten on summer’s bounty.
It is not unusual to catch 10-30 fish per day on our private ranches. These ranch waters are not heavily used and the fish are not sophisticated, but they are wild, so stealth and proper presentation will be rewarded. When you book our private ranches you and your party will be the only anglers allowed access that day. No crowds and more water available to you than you could fish in a day.
Angling Destinations' private ranches each have a different character. You may choose to start high in the mountains fishing small streams. These creeks are loaded with brookies, browns and rainbows and are wonderful, not so much for the size of the fish, but for the environs in which they are caught. Gin-clear water and rich, alpine pine forests are framed by the high peaks of the Bighorn Mountains making for a classic angling experience.
Another choice is on a small stream where it exits the high hills and tumbles out onto the prairie. This ranch is one of the most beautiful in the west. Cottonwood and ponderosa pine line the river’s banks and the river bed is studded with granite boulders which pinch its waters into pools and falls. This is fabulous dry fly fishing and it is not uncommon to have 10-25 fish days. It’s all catch and release and the browns and rainbows are all wild, usually 10-17” in length. Rises to your fly are not subtle here and wild trout fight for all their worth.
If the wading is a bit too athletic for you on this stream or if you simply want to try another great stream, then we’ll travel near Buffalo, Wyoming. Here we fish a prairie creek that fishes much like a spring creek. The fish are big, mostly browns and rainbows and an 18’ fish is not uncommon. Long slicks run into shallow riffles and the fish stack up along cut banks to feed contentedly under the gaze of the Bighorn Mountains. The dry fly action, especially with hoppers, can be spectacular and occasionally someone connects with a real monster!
So come visit our “home waters”. You can fish a couple days on the fabled Bighorn River or perhaps the North Platte River, then fish our private ranches for a few days, perhaps finish with a day in the high country fishing for cutthroats. It is also possible to combine the private ranches in the Sheridan, Wyoming area with a trip across the Bighorn Mountains to Tensleep, Wyoming where we fish other secluded private ranches.
We will arrange your trip as you wish. Our guides are friendly and professional with a tremendous amount of experience in the local area... our many repeat clients can attest to their expertise. We are happy to arrange lodging and guides for you while you are on the Bighorn or North Platte Rivers. Accommodations while fishing on our private ranches while in the Sheridan area are at our beautiful three bedroom 4000 sq. ft. headquarters.
Give our area a try this year. After all, Angling Destinations, Inc. is headquartered in northern Wyoming for one very good reason... the fishing!
Tensleep, Wyoming Private Ranches
If you drive west from Angling Destinations' headquarters in Sheridan, Wyoming, you'll go up and over the Big Horn Mountains eventually arriving in the vast ranchlands of the Bighorn Basin. Here, a few scattered small communities live out the true western lifestyle. Cowboys wear cowboy hats only to hide their tanned and weathered faces from the sun and drive pickups because they have to get to an irrigated field or fix a fence up some dry coulee. There is nothing fake here or done for show. If you want to see the true West, spend a few days in Tensleep, Wyoming... and make sure you have a beer in the Tensleep Saloon! This is a land of red-rocked canyons, expansive ranches and cottonwood-lined small streams. One such community is Tensleep, Wyoming named by the Sioux Indians because it was "ten sleeps" from their camp on the Platte River and another ten nights from their trade route's camp near Bridger, Montana.
Tensleep sits at the confluence of Tensleep Creek and the Nowood River. If you follow either of the rivers upstream, you'll notice numerous small streams that flow into and join these rivers. There isn't a trout fisherman alive that wouldn't want to see what these streams held. If you could get permission to fish on these streams, it wouldn't take but a hopper and a short cast to find out. That's where our outfitter comes in.
This outfitter runs our Destination X horsepack trips in the Big Horn Mountains. These DX trips have been nothing short of spectacular. With a basecamp at 10,000 feet, these trips offer up some of the best high country trout fishing in the world. Our outfitter also ranches near Tensleep, Wyoming. His neighbors own the property through which the aforementioned streams meander. We mentioned to him a few years ago, somewhat selfishly, that he should get permission to fish these ranches. Well, to cut to the chase, he got permission, called us and we immediately dropped everything to drive over the mountain to fish these ranches. What we found was enticing!
All these streams have a different flavor. Some meander through meadows and hay fields only occasionally butting up against some small outcropping to form a pool, while others snake back and forth through deep canyons creating cutbanks and log jams. Still other streams are nearer the foothills and tumble over riffles and drops. All hold fish, predominantly browns and rainbows. Some hold greater numbers of fish with an average size in the 13-15 inch range while other streams offer consistent shots at 18 inchers and up. All these streams are beautiful and rarely fished. These creeks and streams offer the quintessential western small steam, private ranch experience... and we are now in a position to offer this experience to our clients.
Theses streams are perfect for 2-3 days of fishing either as a weekend getaway, as an add-on to fishing the Platte and Bighorn Rivers or as a way to expand your fishing on our private ranches near our headquarters which include Goose Creek and Tongue River.
These Tensleep ranches are best fished either pre-runoff in April or after run-off in June through mid-October. While dry fly fishing, especially with big terrestrials like hoppers and ants, is always the priority, a well-placed streamer or "hopper/dropper" can bring some of the biggest specimens these streams hold to the net. The best fishing occurs from late morning until sunset and we have planned our daily schedule to accommodate the fish and not the guides. As such, days will start after a leisurely breakfast and probably not end until dusk.
Anglers will be housed in a comfortable inn near "downtown" Tensleep. Anglers will be on their own for both breakfast and dinner. Lunches will be packed in coolers by the guides. Most visiting fishermen will choose to have dinner at the Tensleep Saloon or at a small saloon/bar in Hyattsville. The guides will help you determine which works best given your fishing schedule. This is important since you won't be getting back to town until late, especially during the long summer days of June and July.
One final note: This is Western walk-and-wade fishing at its best. This means shorter leaders, larger flies and a stealthy, but non-technical approach. While these streams see only a fraction of the pressure that more famous private waters see, they still hold trout... and trout, especially big trout, are intrinsically wary. This wariness doesn't take long to understand... usually after you've seen your first osprey or eagle for the day.
The guides are well-versed on the techniques that these streams require, but they are primarily local cowboys with a passion for fishing. As such, it is important to remember where you are... and that is in remote rural Wyoming. This area is not really a hot-bed for sophisticated fishing guides. These guys may have never seen a size 22 Adams and have rarely, if ever, fished with a 12' leader. But what they may lack in terms of sophistication, they make up for by being friendly, enthusiastic and fun-loving. And besides, they are the only ones that have permission to fish these private waters!
So come visit us in Wyoming and fish some truly unpressured private streams. We can arrange it as you wish from just a day or two to a virtual "Tour de Wyoming". You can fish a couple days on the fabled Bighorn or Platte Rivers, then fish our private ranches on both the east and west slopes of the Big Horns for a few days, perhaps finishing with a day in the high country fishing for cutthroats.
If you are an angler that loves to explore small streams in complete solitude all with stunning Western scenery, give our private ranches in the Bighorn Basin a try this year. After all, Angling Destinations, Inc. is headquartered in northern Wyoming for one very good reason... the fishing!