Fly Fishing the New Fork River

Traditionally by late June and early July drift boaters from Jackson are making the 55 to 75 mile one-way drive over “The Rim” that leaves the Columbia River drainage behind in Jackson, and greets the Colorado River tributaries, the Green River and its smaller tributary, the New Fork.

These two trout-rich streams flow from lakes and headwaters in the Wind River Range and meander past wagon ruts made by pioneering settlers on the Oregon Trail. Preceding the wagons were the early trappers and explorers between 1810 and the 1870’s. Such mountain men came into the great valley of the Green to trap and sell beaver fur pelts to competitive fur trading companies. Beaver fur was the foundation of stylish mens hats of the times.

The Green or Spanish River as it was originally known, was also called Seeds-ka-dee (big sage grouse) by the natives, and became a center for frontier forts, trading posts and trade routes across the Rocky Mountains.

Ranching, mineral exploration and tourism fuel this Pinedale and Big Piney region economy today. Along rivers where beaver trappers once maintained a wary eye for hostiles, modern anglers pursue brown trout. A sampling of rainbows and several subspecies of cutthroat trout also make guest appearances.

The Green offers a variety of twisty, barreling motocross-like river courses as well as relatively benign, meadow portions enriched with trout delights ranging from stoneflies, caddis and grasshoppers to a variety of mayflies.

The winter snow pack and ensuing water year determine the timing and length of season on the Green and New Fork. Wyoming Game and Fish Department managers and local Trout Unlimited organizations have worked diligently to increase in-stream habitat which has stimulated this brown trout fishery. Naturally spawning trout populations have benefitted from the elimination of stocking catchable rainbows on the Green.

The additional drive time to the Green and New Fork Rivers is justified as both a historical visit with the wildlife-rich high prairies between the Wind River and Wyoming Ranges as well as a exceptional brown trout opportunity.