Overnight Trip: Big Horn River, Wyoming

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Date(s) - Thursday, May 31 - Sunday, Jun 3
All Day


Trip Captain: Brett Edwards

Wind River / Big Horn River Trip

May 31 – June 3

Cell: 303-517-9509

Email: baakpakrs@comcast.net


Geography and Surrounding Area

The Wind River (“The Wind”) flows out of the Wind River mountain range in Wyoming and feeds into Boysen Reservoir. The reservoir is between the towns of Thermopolis and Shoshoni WY. Our trip will concentrate on the waters between the Boysen Reservoir outlet and the town of Thermopolis. Below the reservoir, The Wind flows through the Wind River Canyon to a point called Wedding of the Waters. At that point, the river changes names to the Bighorn River and flows northward into Montana.


Fishing Access

Immediately below the Boysen Reservoir lies Upper Wind River Campground, part of Boysen state park, with about 3 miles of public river access. This section is well suited to the wading angler and can be floated by pontoon, raft, or drift boats. Below the state park boundary begins Wind River Canyon. This 12-mile river section lies entirely on the Indian reservation and requires an Indian permit to wade fish (see section below). There are areas in this section that are difficult to access and wade and poison ivy thrives but the fishing can be great chucking big streamers at large browns and rainbows.


Wedding of the Waters

Below the canyon near the mouth lies the Wedding of the Waters boat ramp. There is public fishing and it is a popular launch point for float trips to Thermopolis. You do not need an Indian permit for this section although lands on both sides of the river are, for the most, part private. This section is best fished from a drift boat. Guides are available at www.windrivercanyon.com.  A guided half-day trip is $400 and a day trip is $525. These prices are for two people and include rod and reel if needed, and lunch on the full-day trip.


Reservation Fishing Access

Permits are available in Shoshoni at the Exxon station. Individuals are prohibited from floating the Indian section unless you are with an Indian guide. You can arrange a guided trip with Wind River Canyon Whitewater by calling 1-888-246-9343 or emailing www.windrivercanyon.com. The cost of a full day trip in the canyon is $795 for 2 people.


16 to 20 inch++ browns, rainbows, and cutthroats are common in all sections. Streamers, big attractor dries, match the hatch midge, mayfly patterns, and typical tailwater nymph rigs are all effective.





The Upper Wind River campground in Boysen State Park is a great place to pitch a tent or park your RV. There are no hookups but there is water available, spacious level sites, and toilet facilities. There are 3 new cabins on the river available for $50 per night. The cabins sleep 3 or 4 and include electricity, table, grill and a fire pit. You must supply basic gear to cook and your own bedding. Camping here enables you to roll out of bed and fish some good water. Reservations for this campground can be made through the Wyoming State Parks website http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/index.php/permits-reservations/reservations. I recommend getting your reservations in soon as this campground gets full on weekends. I have reserved site 63. Sites 64 and 66 are currently available. You can also use Reserve America.com to make reservations for RV/tent sites.


Motels in Thermopolis

Below are a few available motels and others can be found on Travelocity or similar sites.


Hotel Contact Information Rate
Days Inn Hot Springs Convention Center (located next to the hot springs) 307-864-3131 Double or Single – $103.50 + tax
Coachman Inn 307-864-3141 Double – $60-$70

$130 for 5-bed bunkhouse (1 bath)

Paintbrush Inn 307-864-3155 Single – $53.90 + tax

Double – $64.90 +tax

Quality Inn 307-864-5515 Rates from $75 + tax

Includes free breakfast


License and Boat Inspection

A Wyoming fishing license is  required and can be purchased online at the Wyoming Game and Fish website or at the Exxon station in Shoshoni. Any boat entering Wyoming must have an invasive species sticker (available online on the Wyoming Game and Fish website) and be inspected at a game and fish authorized inspection point. The Wyoming Welcome Center on I-25 at Cheyenne is the closest.


Please call or email me if you have any questions.  Also please email me of your plans to attend this trip so I can get an email thread going for all the participants.  That way there will be opportunities to share rooms, camp sites, carpool, meet ups,  social events etc.


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