Big Laramie River, Wyoming Fly Fishing

 by Huston Heatherly

Location

The Big Laramie River flows through southeastern Wyoming. The river runs for a little over 200 miles. It begins in Colorado and eventually merges with the North Platte River in Wyoming. The closest major airport is the Denver International Airport and Cheyenne Regional Airport (CSY). The nearest town is Laramie, which is west of Cheyenne. 

About the Big Laramie River

The Big Laramie river is a true freestone stream located in a remote and pristine area. It can be a very productive trout stream. It receives significantly less fishing pressure than some surrounding rivers which means one can find solitude here. It is however prone to some drastic fluctuations in water levels.

The river is a relatively slow flowing “flat water” river with many deep runs and pools with undercuts along the bank from the town of Laramie to the Jelm access point. More riffles and faster runs begin to appear from this point as the terrain begins to alter. 

There is a lot of public access for this river and it is very wader friendly, and most of the access points are located near Hwy 230. For those looking for a trip to take and be successful without the help of guides, the Big Laramie is an excellent opportunity. 

Types of Fish

The Big Laramie is known for its trophy wild brown trout that can be found throughout the river with fish taken in the 12-25” range regularly. It also contains stocked rainbow trout that are able to hold over through the seasons giving rise to some larger fish. 

Best Times to Fish

The best season for fishing the Big Laramie river is in the early spring months before the run-off and after, usually in late June. 

The fall months also offer phenomenal fishing with some excellent hatches and terrestrials falling into the river from the fields that border its banks. 

Summer months can lead to pretty low water levels with dry conditions but the river can still be productive. During late summer be sure to be on the river in the early morning and late evening hours when the water temperatures are at their lowest.

Winter months are not very productive as the Big Laramie river usually ices up. Head out during the warmest parts of the day and look for sections that are not slushy. 

Access Points

·        Hwy 230

·        Green Belt

·        Monolith Ranch

·        Pioneer Canal

·        The Jelm Access area

Tactics and Gear

When hatches are not occurring, try to stay away from the numerous flats that occur throughout the river. Instead, focus your nymphs and streamers through runs and riffles or drift/strip up against the undercut embankments.

When trout are actively feeding on duns, the slow flats can be extremely effective. It is important in these conditions to match the hatch and provide a clean, drag free drift. It also helps to use a slightly longer 9 to 10 foot leader with some fluorocarbon tippet.

For the majority of fishing on the Big Laramie, your standard 9 foot 5wt fly rod can be effective. For big streamer fishing, a 6wt with sinking line and shorter leaders are better adapted to this type of fly fishing. 

Hatches and Flies of Importance

Winter (December-February)

Streamers: Sizes 4-12 wooly buggers, sculpin patterns, and leeches. Crayfish patterns are also effective. 

Midges: Sizes 20-26 

BWO: Sizes 18-24

Spring (March-May)

Caddis: Sizes 16-20. Tan bodies on your dry patterns are the most effective. Olive and brown will also work. 

Callibaetis: Sizes 16-20. Flashback pheasant tail patterns are great nymph patterns for this species. 

Streamers: Sizes 4-12 wooly buggers, sculpin patterns, and leeches. Crayfish patterns are also effective. 

Midges: Sizes 20-26 

BWO: Sizes 18-24

Summer (June-August)

Caddis: Sizes 16-20. Tan bodies on your dry patterns are the most effective. Olive and brown will also work. 

Callibaetis: Sizes 16-20. Flashback pheasant tail patterns are great nymph patterns for this species. 

Tricos: Size 18-20 

Gray Drake: Sizes 10-14 

PMDs: Sizes 16-22 in dun and spinner patterns. 

Caddis: Sizes 16-20 in tan, olive, and brown. 

Golden Stoneflies: Sizes 6-12. 

Salmonflies: Sizes 2-8. 

Terrestrials: Hopper patterns size 8-16 and ant patterns size 16-20 are a must have on the Big Laramie river during the fall months.

Fall (September-November)

BWO: Sizes 18-24 

Caddis: Sizes 16-20 in tan, olive, and brown. 

Terrestrials: Hopper patterns size 8-16 and ant patterns size 16-20 are a must have on the Big Laramie during the fall months. 

Streamers: Sizes 4-12 wooly buggers, sculpin patterns, and leeches. Crayfish patterns are also effective. 

Area Guide Services

·        Four Seasons Angler

·        High Plains Fly Fishing

·        St. Peter’s Fly Shop


Wyoming Fly Fishing Regulations and Fishing Access

Wyoming fishing regulations      

Wyoming fishing access          

Other Useful Links for Fly Fishing in Wyoming

Wyoming fly fishing resorts:

Fly fishing lodges in Wyoming:

Wyoming fishing cabins:



Return to Wyoming Fly Fishing from Big Laramie River Fly Fishing



Ask About Fly Fishing