Fly Fishing the Fabled Wind River in Wyoming
We’re very proud and excited to be working with a lodging option located in the heart of Wyoming’s Wind River Canyon Range. While this guide service and the fishing opportunities that they offer are by no means new or undiscovered, what is new is that long-time guide and outfitter Darren Calhoun has now added riverside lodging to his line-up, opening what we feel is the most exciting new fishing lodge in the West! As a 100% Native American-owned company operating since 1992, Wind River Canyon Whitewater and Fly Fishing, located in Thermopolis, Wyoming, has long been home to the most seasoned, professional guide staff in the area. Darren and his team are the only commercial operation allowed to guide the Wind River Canyon on the Reservation, which essentially means that when you fish with them, you have an entire river all to yourself within the Canyon sections. Since their focus has always been on conservation and resource protection, they fish the Wind River Canyon in two stretches, dividing the trips into upper and lower floats, and placing a daily limit of one guided boat per section / per day. This is an amazing tailwater fishery that offers some of the best wild brown trout fishing in the United States complemented by impressive numbers of hot and heavy rainbows. There are also a number of great whitewater sections on these floats, which adds to the overall excitement of each trip! Along with the Canyon, guests can also float sections of the Bighorn River, above and below the town of Thermopolis, as well as the Upper Big Wind at Crowheart.
The lodge is located approximately 13 miles south of Thermopolis in the magnificent Wind River Canyon. This one-of-a-kind facility sits directly on the banks of the Wind in the heart of the Canyon, equidistant between the upper and lower section floats. The perfect base of operations for fishing the area, anglers can enjoy the ambiance and the comfort of the custom-built lodge, while taking in the beauty of the towering cliffs and the scenic canyon walls.
The lodge features expansive decks and outdoor seating areas, all of which overlook the river itself. There are large indoor eating and social area, and plenty of space to relax and unwind after a long day on the water. All accommodations at the new lodge will feature single occupancy, private guestrooms. The only exception to this will be for intact groups of more than six anglers when one of the rooms will then become double occupancy. This will only happen when folks know in advance that they will be sharing a room.
Food and Beverages
All meals are included in the lodging packages. Delicious homemade meals are prepared in the lodge’s kitchen, and anglers can expect huge cooked-to-order breakfasts and dinners that may be second only to the fishing. Beverages, such as iced tea, lemonade, soft drinks, and bottled water are complimentary throughout the stay. Beer and wine are complimentary during social and cocktail hours and with dinner. Anglers are more than welcome to bring their own liquor and specialty wines.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Known by many in Wyoming as the “Gateway to Yellowstone Country,” Thermopolis is a small, off-the-beaten-path town that offers all of the charm and ambiance of the old west. Home to Hot Springs State Park and the “World’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs,” there is plenty for the non-angler to see and do throughout the area. Visitors can take advantage of attractions that include the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, the breathtaking Wind River Canyon, world-class waterfowl and big game hunting, Legend Rock Petroglyph site, a fascinating museum, and many other sites.
Wind River Canyon Lodge also offers the most established, most experienced whitewater and rafting operations in the entire area. Whitewater float trips are offered daily, and trip lengths vary, which means that everyone can find the trip or package that is best suited to what they are looking for. The two-hour “Upper Canyon” trip features rapids such as First Dam Rapids, Sharpnose, and Pink Canyon Falls. The “Lower Canyon” trip includes rapids such as Freight Train, Split Rock, Sacajawea, and Washakie Falls. There is also the “Full Canyon” full-day trip which combines both trips and includes an amazing riverside BBQ lunch.
Internet / Communications
There is Wi-Fi at the lodge. Most cell phones will not work at the lodge. Once you leave the canyon or drive into the town of Thermopolis, cell reception is available.
How To Get There
Most anglers fly in via the Cody-Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD), which is located 80 miles from Thermopolis. Cody is serviced by United and Delta.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Most guests prefer to rent a car so they can enjoy the luxury of sight-seeing and other non-fishing activities. Guides will happily pick up and drop off guests at the lodge each morning for each day of fishing. You can arrive and depart Wind River Lodge on any day of the week. Check-in time is any time after 4 PM and check-out time is before 10 AM.
Wyoming fishing and hunting licenses are included in your package except for special hunting permits, tags, etc.
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Wind River Canyon Whitewater and Fly Fishing is the most established and most experienced fly fishing outfitter on Wyoming’s Wind River and Big Horn River. As a 100% Native American-owned company operating since 1992, owner Darren Calhoun and his team are the only commercial operation allowed to guide the Wind River Canyon on the Reservation, which essentially means that when you fish with them, you have an entire river all to yourself within the Canyon sections. Since their focus has always been on conservation and resource protection, they fish the Wind River Canyon in two stretches, dividing the trips into upper and lower floats and placing a daily limit of one guided boat per section, per day. This is an amazing tailwater fishery that offers some of the best wild brown trout fishing in the United States complemented by impressive numbers of hot and heavy rainbows. This amazing river system (the Wind and the Big Horn are the same rivers with two different names) winds from the Wind River Indian Reservation border just east of Dubois, Wyoming for over 100 miles before completing its amazing journey with a 15-mile plunge down the spectacular Wind River Canyon just outside Thermopolis. Exiting the canyon it soon leaves the reservation and enters the Big Horn Basin where it is then referred to as the Big Horn River.
There are also a number of great whitewater sections on these floats, which adds to the overall excitement of each trip! Along with the Canyon, guests can also float sections of the Bighorn River, above and below the town of Thermopolis, as well as the Upper Big Wind at Crowheart.
Wind River Canyon
The Wind River Canyon is fished in two sections: The Upper Wind River Canyon and the Lower Wind River Canyon. It is an amazing tailwater fishery that without a doubt offers some of the best wild brown trout and rainbow fishing in the United States. There is some pretty impressive whitewater to deal with on this float, but that only adds to the excitement. Large trout hold in several pools and runs, and they usually prove very willing to eat large flies in an excruciatingly slow manner, testing your patience for the set. They are also famous for smashing large streamers fished against the rugged canyon banks and in the pockets, seams, and tail-outs that are found all throughout the canyon stretch.
A classic dry fly stream, flowing right through the town of Thermopolis. This stream has several long stretches of slow, meandering water holding big fish that love to eat small dries. These fish are often times found rising and feeding in pods that can be so prolific that a pod of fish in a deep run will actually be mistaken for a shallow riffle. This section of the river also has several beautiful nymph runs and some very deep pools that hold some very big trout.
This is one of the last remaining freestone streams in the west where you have a legitimate shot at some unbelievably large, trophy trout on waters where you will not see another boat! The upper Big Wind is in the heart of the Wind River Indian Reservation. There are six separate sections of the Upper Wind varying in length from approximately 6 miles, to as long as 14 miles. The trips on the Upper Big Wind are like something out of an old western movie with incredible scenery, eagles, elk, whitetail and mule deer, beaver and waterfowl, and floats that pass by ranches, homesteads, and untouched cottonwood forests. The magnificent Wind River Range, the longest continuous chain of the Rockies in the lower-48 states, provides an incredible backdrop as you float and cast into one beautiful pool after another. Streamers tend to find the largest fish, although hopper and the terrestrial season will bring big fish to the surface as well.
Boats and Equipment
Float fishing on the rivers of the area is done with either whitewater fishing rafts or McKenzie-style drift boats. Rafts made specifically for stretches of serious whitewater are used to float and fish the Canyon sections. Each guide is outfitted with complimentary rods and reels, which are available for guests to use during guided trips.
Rates and Terms
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge.
2023 Pricing (bookings require a minimum of 6 anglers)
4 nights / 3 days = $4,595.00 per person
- Lodging (single occupancy rooms / shared bath)
- Guided fishing (2 anglers per guide)
- Breakfast and dinner at the lodge with cooler lunch while fishing
- Non-alcoholic beverages, beer, and wine with dinners at the lodge
- Transportation to and from the river and all shuttle fees
- Fishing gear, tackle, and flies
- Waders and wading boots
What’s Not Included:
- Transportation to and from the lodge (rent a vehicle)
- Wyoming and Wind River Tribal fishing licenses, permits, stamps, etc
- Liquor at the lodge (BYO)
- Alcohol on guide trips (BYO)
- Gratuities for guides and lodge staff
Wind River Canyon Lodge (Thermopolis, Wyoming)
TERMS AND CONDITIONS – CANCELLATIONS
A refundable deposit of 50% per person is due at the time of booking for all trip packages and reservations, and final payment if due 90 days prior to arrival. All trip cancellations must be received in writing, sent to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, LLC. For all cancellations outside of 90 days of scheduled arrival at the lodge, a full refund or trip credit (minus a $100.00 per person lodge cancellation fee and a $100.00 per person Yellow Dog cancellation fee) will be issued by the lodge. For cancellations inside of 90 days from start of trip date, deposits and final payments will be forfeited, and no refund or credit will be issued. If a cancelled package is resold by either the lodge or by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, then a full refund will be sent minus a $100.00 per person Yellow Dog cancellation fee. In the case of cancellation by the client, both deposit and final payment may be transferred to another guest or angler for those same (original) dates if facilitated and arranged by the client. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these packages. Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures strongly recommends that anglers and guests purchase travel insurance for this trip.
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Payment Terms For All Yellow Dog Trip Bookings
In order to lock in your trip reservation, we ask that you please remit payment at the time of receipt of invoice. For your convenience, Yellow Dog accepts on-line payments via a direct and secure ACH platform – a quick and easy way to complete your trip reservation. Note that all Yellow Dog invoices include a live link that takes you directly to the Yellow Dog ACH platform for fast and easy payment. For open and existing invoices with a remaining balance, payment reminders also include this easy link to the ACH page.
Other customary forms of payment that are accepted are checks or wire transfers. If you would like to pay in a different way or have any questions about alternate payment methods, please contact Yellow Dog at (888) 777-5060 or (406) 585-8667. We are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Beginning September 1st, 2020, Yellow Dog will apply a 3% convenience fee for all credit card transactions.
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Standard Forms For Payment
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*Please contact us if you prefer or require a different payment option. Convenience fees may apply for other payment methods.
**Please be aware that the ACH platform is only available for US financial institutions and bank accounts. International payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.
Yellow Dog Customer Reviews
“10/10 three simple examples:
1) I laughed about wanting to catch a carp on the fly. Robbie said “easy, done.” and the next morning I got a photo of me holding a 20+” carp.
2) At lunch one day we stopped and Robbie said “walk up the train tracks and look down you can spot fish and cast to them.” I caught my personal best cutthroat that I site cast to.
3) Also caught one of my personal best brown trout by skating a fly over a small pocket of calm water. I’ve never caught a fish that way before. so, all in all, maybe more experienced anglers would find it just “great” but for me, it was the trip of a lifetime.” – Chris A.
“This is a great venue for fly fishing that I believe flies under most people’s radar. We were fortunate to have both Robbie and Chris as our guides. Both of these guys are hard-working, knowledgeable guides. I thought that the staff was very flexible in meeting our fishing needs as we fished late 2 out of the 4 days. Most lodge operations are very structured with the evening meal and that was not the case with this facility. This is definitely an experience that I would recommend to my fly fishing friends.” – Brian D.
“Excellent location for a quiet getaway fish numbers was good, the fish size was excellent.” Steven W.