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The Backstage Pass

7 Best Places for Large, Wild Trout in the United States

May 03, 23

There are many reasons to fly fish—one of the big reasons is to catch big trout. Since we’ve been doing this for twenty years, we’ve got some experience finding trophy-sized trout. And after every trip, we are always happy to return home to Montana because we know great fly fishing trips exist right here in our home state.

That’s why we have created our list of The Six Best Places for Large Trout right here in the Good Ole U S of A. So if you’re looking for a trophy trout trip on home soil, read on.

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It is only fitting that the country’s largest state is also home to a ridiculous amount of water that is home to an even larger amount of massive rainbow trout and wild steelhead. From high-end fly out lodges to remote tent camps to overnight float trips in the bush, the opportunities to chase huge rainbow trout seem endless. The Alaskan fly fishing operations are the very best at delivering great fishing, personalized service, and a fantastic experience. Covering over 371 million acres, Alaska contains one-fifth the total landmass of the Lower 48 and more world-class fishing water than a person could possibly explore in a lifetime.


The southern United States has sweet tea, football, excellent BBQ, and...large trout? The White River in Arkansas not only produces some of the country's largest brown trout but is also widely known as a spectacular streamer fishery. There are other places in the Southeast where anglers can get into some truly large brown trout, but nothing as consistently as the White River. Streamer junkies from across the world hold these waters in high regard. So grab your streamer rod and head to the Ozark Mountains to fish some of the finest trophy brown trout water in North America!


Big Sky Country. The Treasure State. The Last Best Place. These are all fitting nicknames for a state home to a remarkable amount of accessible trout water. And, in these waters lurk some seriously large trout. From the Land of the Giants to the Bighorn to private access waters, Montana’s angling resume boasts plenty of places to fish for large trout. We’ve put our passion for Montana fly fishing trips to work and have hand-picked a selection of fly-fishing lodges, overnight float trips, and day trips. If you’re thinking of a Montana fly fishing vacation, looking for a multi-day wilderness fishing experience, or just visiting Bozeman or Missoula or another Montana town and want to add on a fishing trip, put Yellow Dog’s Montana roots to work for you.



What the state lacks in population—it is the least populated state in the union—it makes up for in trophy trout. From the desolate, yet fishy Wind River Canyon, to the lush and green forests near Jackson Hole, the opportunities for large trout are plentiful with our angling partners. Wyoming is home to some heavy hitters—the North Platte, the Bighorn, the Wind, the Snake, and several other well-known rivers. But, with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures you will have the exclusive opportunity to fish some of the West’s most difficult to access waters. The Wind River Canyon, Brush Creek, and French Creek are a few of these gems and Yellow Dog’s expert staff knows them well.


Challenge and variety. These two words sum up Idaho’s magnificent angling options. From the famous large rainbows of the Henry’s Fork to the wilderness floats on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho is home to a fly fishing trip to suit anyone’s desires. The Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake are known worldwide for producing consistent hatches and trout willing to rise to a well-presented dry fly. Local beats on these rivers have become legendary—Railroad Ranch, the Canyon of the South Fork, Osborne Bridge—and books, films, and angling personalities owe lineage to these waters and the trout in them. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is a wilderness river suited for multi-day float trips for anglers who enjoy casting dry flies to rising native cutthroat trout and dining by the campfire on a fully-outfitted trip.


Like Idaho, Oregon has an abundance of options for anglers seeking trophy-sized trout. There are backcountry trips on the Rogue and Deschutes Rivers and day trips for wild steelhead on Pacific Ocean tributaries. The Rogue River, in southern Oregon, is an ideal backcountry trip for groups, families, and all skill levels. For over forty miles, the Rogue River is designated a Wild and Scenic River. If the beauty and enjoyment of a multi-day river trip aren’t enough, the river is home to healthy populations of steelhead and trout. Steelhead can be found in Oregon year-round and excellent guides have been fishing Oregon’s waters for generations. Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures focuses on the Deschutes and Rogue River systems and the wild steelhead and native trout in them. Even if steelhead isn’t on your brain, the rambunctious rainbow trout–known locally as redsides–of the Deschutes River are worth a trip.


The Evergreen State might as well be named the Large Trout state. With populations of massive trout in the Upper Columbia River and consistent runs of steelhead, anglers looking for large trout need to look no further than Washington. Olympic National Park’s Sol Duc and Hoh and others, the Grande Ronde, the Columbia, the Klickitat, and others create a line-up of Washington fly fishing rivers offering steelhead and trout. For a multi-day backcountry experience, the Grande Ronde River in southeastern Washington provides opportunities to catch a steelhead in a wild and scenic setting—the way the steelhead gods intended. Or if a lodge-based itinerary is more your style, we’ve got access to lodges with great guides and amenities for all tastes and budgets.