The Shoshone River is an overlooked jewel offering lots of fine fishing opportunities. The North Fork, South Fork, and Lower Shoshone provide anglers with miles of river to wade or float for wild rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.
The North Fork of the Shoshone has been rated one of the top 10 freestone rivers in the Rocky Mountains. The North Fork headwaters on Yellowstone National Parks eastern side. Even though this river is bordered by Highway 14,16 and 20 leading to the East entrance of Yellowstone, seldom is there to be found a crowded fishing spot on this river, due to everyone's rush to get to the park. The North Fork has 50 miles of river to cast a fly over within the Shoshone National Forest and Washakie Wilderness. Eighteen miles of the North Fork flows through a combination of private and BLM lands Sorry, there is NO stream access law in Wyoming, but there are plenty of access points!
If we neglected to mention the wildlife in our haste to tell you all about the excellent fishing, let us now mention the fact that elk, moose, mule deer, Bighorn Sheep, black bear and grizzlies inhabit the wilderness surrounding all the rivers and streams in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, which we call Cody Country. The North Fork of the Shoshone was much favored by Buffalo Bill Cody as a great place to hunt big game. The many lodges dotting the river have some history and relationship with this famous buffalo hunter, Army scout and showman.
Float trips are the preferred mode of transport on the North Fork. Each float trip is broken up into 8-10 mile sections where anglers can fish from the boat or stop and take advantage of the many runs and tail-outs as we move downstream to our final destination at day's end. The float trip season begins as early as mid-June and generally finishes completely mid-August on the North Fork.
Walk/wade angling can be done on the North Fork, too. Even though there are times and places where the North Fork is unwadeable, there are plenty of spots where anglers can spend all day fishing one, two or three long runs. Yellowstone cutthroat, rainbows, cuttbows and brown trout are the dominant species found in the North Fork. All are wild, strong and healthy. Occasionally a brook trout and Rocky Mountain whitefish can also be caught.
Besides the main channel of the North Fork, there are several tributaries of the river which provide excellent angling opportunities during the summer and early fall months. The average trout size in the North Fork is 16 inches, with many larger than that. The tributaries carry a mixed size population of trout. Expect larger fish in the month of July, maybe through mid-August, and smaller trout after that, sized 6-14 inches.
The North Fork has great hatches of all the major species. Stoneflies, mayflies, caddis and midges are abundant during the angling season. Dry flies become the norm after July 1, although the North Fork special, a bead-headed nymph developed on the North Fork by Tim Wade, will consistently keep one's rod bent all day. Dries, nymphs, emergers, spent and streamer patterns work very well on the trout population in the North Fork. What more can we say? The North Fork of the Shoshone is absolutely the finest trout fishing you will find anywhere. The North Fork has, so far, escaped the attention of those anglers who believe all the hype about Montana. Let the maddening crowd fish the Madison or the Bighorn, while you experience solitude, wildlife and wild trout on the North Fork!
The trail is accessed from River View Drive in Codys Canyon View subdivision.
The North Fork of the Shoshone River is located in northwest Wyoming and is a heavy corridor for people visiting Yellowstone Park via the east entrance. The North Fork and East Entrance to Yellowstone is accessed by driving the river corridor on State Highway 14-16-20 (Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway) west out of Cody. The lower reaches of this river are primarily private though there are 3 public fishing areas maintained and well signed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The upper reaches are all located on the Shoshone National Forest lands and are easily accessible via automobile. The headwaters of the North Fork and most of it's tributaries are accessible by foot or horseback only. State Highway 14-16-20 is winter maintained and open for vehicular traffic year round.
Spring fishing closure from Buffalo Bill Reservoir up to and including Newton Creek from April 1 to July 1 to protect spawning runs of rainbow trout and Yellowstone cutthroat. Ice out usually occurs before the spring closure and high water runoff has usually passed by the time the river reopens to fishing.