For many of us, a trout was the first fish we ever caught on a fly rod. It may have been a brook trout in an eastern stream or a native trout in a western mountain river, but the thrill of bringing to hand a brilliantly colored trout stuck with us. As we all progressed as anglers, small fish were slowly replaced with big fish. Then many of us chose fly fishing as a way to explore the world.
As if the angling gods gathered to ensure we always have another horizon to explore, the opportunity to catch trout exists on all seven continents. From the wilds of Mongolia to the windswept steppes of Tierra del Fuego, there is a trout species swimming that will challenge and amaze you. Here are 10 Places to Fly Fish for the Trout of Your Dreams.
1. New Zealand
While the country is similar in size to the State of Colorado, there is incredible diversity in country and climate. New Zealand is an extremely unique destination for American tourists for many reasons, but perhaps most notably for the postcard-like beauty of its varied natural landscapes. New Zealand is often described as “1950’s America.” The local people, known as “Kiwis”, are friendly and hospitable to a fault and things just move a bit more slowly in this South Pacific island nation. Our best piece of advice: stay a while and land yourself a trout worthy of a tale told over and over.
“Chile,” wrote Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda, is a country that was “invented by a poet.” Chile extends for over 2,880 miles in a serpentine ribbon stretching along the western coast of South America. The towering ranges of the Andes cover one-third of Chile, and the landscape is often compared to the US Pacific Northwest. Fly fishing in Patagonia Chile is something every dedicated trout angler should experience within their lifetimes. From the parched, mineral-rich Atacama Desert in the north to the haunting spires of Torres del Paine National Park in the interior and further south to windy and inhospitable Tierra del Fuego, the country is best described as “nature on a colossal scale” with some very large trout.
3. Kamchatka (Currently closed due to ongoing conflict)
With a peninsula larger than the landmass of California and only one passable and maintained road heading into this region’s interior, it is safe to say fly fishing here is a true backcounty wilderness fly fishing experience. And, the native fish here grow big…and eat with aggression. If you have ever dreamed of fishing some of the most remote, untouched rivers on earth for large, aggressive, surface-feeding native rainbow trout, then this trip should be at the very top of your list. Kamchatka is still a completely wild place, and while most Kamchatka fly fishing operations on the Peninsula can deliver a fairly pristine and remote wilderness fishing experience, there are definitely some operations that are more remote, wilder and more productive than others and we work directly with those operations.
On the opposite of the world as Kamchatka and the jumping off point for anyone heading to Antarctica, lies this wind-swept place. Known as the greatest place on earth to target wild sea-run brown trout, the rivers here, mainly the Rio Grande, offer intrepid anglers opportunities for lifetime great catches. There’s no finer destination on earth for chasing large sea-run brown trout than on the Rio Grande. The massive Rio Grande meanders across the landscape creating undercut banks where large browns love to lie. The Rio Grande offers comfortable and easy wading for brown trout that frequently run over 20 pounds, and with a few fish just under the 30 lb. mark, this is a fishery like none other. Other rivers exist in Tierra del Fuego in the area for excellent fishing as well, and Yellow Dog has access to the lodges that serve them.
The largest state in the union is also home to the largest diversity of options for finding large trout. Covering over 371 million acres, Alaska contains one-fifth the total landmass of the Lower 48, more than half of America’s national park land, 80% of America’s national wildlife refuge land, and more world-class fishing water than a person could possibly explore in a lifetime. Choosing where to fish in Alaska is often the most difficult part of an Alaskan fishing trip, so contact us and we will take the time to learn what you are hoping to accomplish and we can match your desires with our excellent offerings in Alaska.
Tierra del Fuego may be located in Argentina, but, that is not the only region of this large country home to plenty of trophy-sized trout. With a mainland area of over one million square miles, Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world, noted for its rich culture, friendly people, and fine food and wine. Here, the landscapes, abundant productive water, and light fishing pressure is comparable to Montana and the U.S. West, but more like sixty years ago. From large rivers and lakes to small spring creeks and technical waters, Argentina is home to a massive variety of fishing options…and in many of these options lurk some large trout.
If you were to use only one word to describe fly fishing in Canada, that word would definitely be “variety.” From the legendary steelhead waters of British Columbia to the trout-rich rivers of Alberta to the pike-filled lakes of Saskatchewan, finding a Canada fly fishing lodge to exceed your highest expectations is effortless. From steelhead to bull trout to native cutthroat trout eating large dry flies, Canada rivals any worldwide destination. While rarely a “numbers” game, the satisfaction of hooking, fighting, and landing even a single wild and pure-strain anadromous fish ranks at the very top of the list of great angling accomplishments.
The taimen is an exceptionally fierce and ferocious predator that is famous for feeding on other gamefish, ducks, mice, and even large prairie dogs. If you enjoy hunting large, predatory fish with streamers and top-water flies and value the quality of catch over quantity, then this is your place. Taimen fishing in Mongolia is rarely a numbers game, but when a three, four or even five-foot river fish violently smash your fly and the line comes tight, you’ll quickly understand the draw of fishing the rivers of Mongolia. More than two and a half times the size of Texas, Mongolia is a mysterious and ancient country. To foreigners, it is recognized as the fabled homeland of the fierce nomadic warrior Genghis Kahn. A trip to Mongolia to chase taimen should be on any angler’s dream fish trip list.
9-11. Western United States: Wyoming,Idaho, and Montana
If you add up the amount of trophy trout water in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana one could argue this region has the planet’s highest concentration of big fish rivers and creeks. Plus with access to top-shelf lodges, guides, and overnight float-and-fish outfitters, this region contains enough opportunities for you to catch multiple lifetime trout over the course of several lifetimes. Wyoming boasts several species of native cutthroat trout, hundreds of miles of difficult-to-access rivers and creeks, and a rich tradition of western hospitality. All of this within the least populated state in the union. Idaho is home to rivers fed from the Teton and Sawtooth Mountains, Yellowstone Plateau, or Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho’s fly fishing waters should be on every angler’s wish list. Montana is home to the world-famous trout waters of the Madison, Missouri, and Bighorn Rivers. The Yellowstone, Blackfoot, and Big Hole Rivers are steeped in fly fishing history. Round out the list with smaller rivers, spring creeks, wilderness rivers, and backcountry lakes, why would anyone ever want to leave?
The “land of fire and ice” is home to some of the best and most legitimate fly fishing opportunities for trophy brown trout, arctic char, and Atlantic Salmon found anywhere in the world. For anglers looking for an incredibly unique fishing experience that offers intimate waters, great wading, seclusion, and world-class service, fly fishing in Iceland definitely needs to be on the top of the list. With fishing scenarios that are focused on conservation and low angling pressure through the utilization of the classical European style “beat” system, many of the rivers in Iceland see very few anglers throughout the entire season, something that guarantees lots of action, large and healthy fish, and private, secluded fishing.