One’s Home Waters are a place of comfort. Studied over long days on the water, we learn the intricacies of each drift and come to know the specific fish that live in each pool and riffle. Late each summer my feet start to itch. No, this is not because I need to wash my waders, but the draw of new waters, untapped and unpressured by the growing number of anglers making my home waters their own, and the possibility of trophy trout just waiting to take the fly on the end of my line. For those who share my wanderlust, inside are a few fly fishing gems worth adding to your fly fishing bucket list!
The Crooked River
Oregon Nestled in the shadows of towering redstone pinnacles, the Crooked River is a high desert fly gem that is definitely worth the detour to fish. A tributary to the better-known Deschutes River, the Crooked is home to the fabled Red-side rainbow which is renowned for its fight and brilliant crimson sides. Anglers can access almost all of the 125 mile length of the Crooked, as rivers in Oregon are accessible to everyone as long as you walk and wade below the high water mark. Next time you are in Central Oregon, grab a growler of beer from Mcmenamin’s Tavern, load up on 3x leader, and expect a day for the books when fishing the Crooked!
The Driftless Region
Minnesota Spared from the grinding force of the glaciers as they receded with the last ice age, the rolling hills and limestone streams of the Minnesota Driftless Region offer both beauty and challenge to the Midwest Fly Fisher. The spring-fed streams of this region are rich with scud, caddis, and mayflies giving the angler ample opportunity to cast big bugs to healthy brown trout. Located just 3 hours from Minneapolis or 5 hours from Chicago, the Minnesota Driftless is an excellent place to escape for the weekend and catch some great fish.
The Wind River Reservation
Wyoming As far as I’m concerned, the crowds are welcome to flood to the North Platte River and fight the prairie winds of Eastern Wyoming. When I want solitude, untapped fisheries, and enough 20+ inch trout to make my arm cramp by the end of the day, I go to the Wind River Reservation. The 3,500 square mile reservation is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes as well as one of the healthiest and least pressured populations of trophy brown, brook, and rainbow trout in the Rockies. Whether you are fishing the main stem of the Wind River or one of its many tributaries, large trout will seemingly rise to almost any dry fly you tie on in the summer. If you want a taste of fishing like it was back in the good ol’ days, add this to your bucket list!