Backpack and Fly Fish the Wind River Range

Wyoming Elkhart Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Fishing, Backpacking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Autumn

Lake
River
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Distance: 40 miles (over 6 days). Beautiful, rugged mountains and a wide range of landscapes. Tremendous wildlife and out-of-this-world fishing.

Day 1: Hit the Elkhart trailhead. Get set up at Hobbs lake, do a little fishing, eat and turn in for the night.

Day 2: Head out for Island Lake to set a base camp for the next few days. Keep an eye out for mountain storms and if you do catch as short one, be sure to take in the view. It's amazing!

Day 3: Start out early and tackle the Titcomb Basin. If you're lucky, you might get a shot at a fabled Golden Trout. The long hike in is rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime view as you enter the basin, surrounded on virtually all sides by snow-capped peaks. Be sure to throw layers in the pack as the weather can take a turn for the worse, even a little hail and snow. After the long hike back to base camp, crack open some Scotch to lick your wounds, plan your fishing strategy and watch the sun set over Island Lake.

Day 4: Really focus on fishing. Explore Island Lake (known to hold Cutties and Bows and rumored to have a few Golden as well) and the Fremont Creek area. If you're not having too much luck at a number of spots, head to a bay on the Northwest end of the lake that feeds into a stream. It's worth giving it a go, it's where we got into our first fish - a solid 20" Cut-throat that gave my 4 weight rod all it could handle. After landing several large Cutties, we moved further into the bay, near the confluence with the river where we could witness several large fish feeding. After a little exploration downstream, we decided to call it a night and head back to camp, vowing to return the next morning before the long hike down to Hobbs Lake. After dinner we sat around the fire, re-living the days' fun and planning for tomorrow.

Day 5: Head back to the "honey hole" to try a little more fishing. One early Cuttie on a streamer got our hopes up so we went back after the big guys we saw the day before. We watched them surface-feed for about 10 minutes and switched to hoppers. You'll only have a short time to fish if you're planning to break camp and make your way back down to Hobb's Lake - where you will spend your final evening before packing out the next day. It's sad to leave Island lake but it is one step closer to a burger and beer at the end.

Day 6: Slowly pack up and make the 6 mile hike back to the trailhead. I won't be surprised if you're already planning our next trip. Your tired legs should urged on by the promise of cold beer and a warm burger waiting for you at the end.

Pack List

  • Pack
  • Warm sleeping pad/bag
  • Tent
  • Stove
  • Water Filter
  • A variety of clothing for all weather
  • Good hiking boots
  • Fly rod and gear
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Reviews

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This area is such an incredible location with a rich diversity of photographic opportunities. I wish I had spent a week there instead of a few days so I could really stretch my legs and capture all the scenes I wanted. Tarns, Lakes, Waterfalls, Alpine Basins, etc. I will say it got pretty busy towards the end on a 4th of July Weekend but if you search you can still find plenty of solitude.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Amazing scenery, wildlife and fishing. Excellent backpacking and hiking. Bring a camera and bear spray :)

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Allen Crater

Hunting, fishing, hiking, all things outdoors, good food, good wine, good beer, good books, good friends and my family. These are the things I love.

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