Top Fly Rods For The Wind River Mountains – Wind River Outdoor
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Top Fly Rods For The Wind River Mountains

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Top Fly Rods For The Wind River Mountains

The question comes up a lot on what fishing equipment, in particular fly rods, an angler needs to bring to the Wind River Mountains of west-central Wyoming. While the obvious answer to this question is up to personal preferences, there are a couple of simple choices that stand out from the others.

The Wind River Mountains are a very rugged mountain range in West-Central Wyoming that run northwest from Lander, WY (our base of operations) to Dubois, WY. Both Lander and Dubois are on the eastern front of the range while Pinedale is the primary entry point for the west side of the range. The length of the range is roughly 100 miles and is about 30 miles wide at its widest point and is filled with countless lakes and streams that team with trout and grayling. Because of the rugged nature and size of this mountain range, fly anglers must be cognizant of their equipment because the only way into this range is by foot or stock animal and either way, weight and length will play into your enjoyment and success.

When I talk with fly anglers planning a trip for the Winds I generally give them two rod options - a 4 piece, 9 foot 5 weight rod and the second option is a 4 piece, 8.5 foot fast action 4 weight. For both of these rod options I would highly encourage that a weight forward fly line that is 1.5 sizes heavier than the rod be on the reel. The reasoning for this is that the Wind Rivers are known to be windy and having a heavier line, coupled with a faster action rod, can punch through the wind much better than a true-to-size fly line. Additionally, a line that is 1.5 times heavier will also load the rod with less line out of the top guide and that is very handy when dealing with lakes and streams that have heavy tree/brush growth right up to the waters edge that makes backcast difficult to impossible.

Casting distances are not critical in the Wind River Mountains in a general sense. Most angling on lakes is confined from the shore out a distance of 40 feet. There are exceptions to this rule but 90% of the angling on lakes is within a short distance of the shore. Stream fishing in the Winds is limited to small creeks and streams as there are few water bodies that are more than 25 feet wide. Most any rods, armed with the right line, can handle these distances comfortably.

One critical point to remember, however, is that any rod that is taken into the Wind Rivers should be encased in a DURABLE rod carrier that allows for the rod to be cushioned and sealed. I cannot tell you how many trips have been cut short due to broken rods due to not having a rod tube to place the rod in during hiking or being carried by stock animals. Getting into the Wind River Range is not easy so don't blow your fishing by not taking the right steps to protect your rod during travel into and out of the Winds.

As always, feel free to shoot us an email to discuss this matter further or if you have other questions about an upcoming trip into the Wind River Mountains. Wind River Outdoor Company has a wealth of knowledge in hiking, fly fishing and hunting in this magnificent mountain range. Tight lines!

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  • Ron Hansen
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