Meeteetse Wyoming

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What Meeteetse lacks in size, with a population of less than 500 people, it makes up for with a colorful history, scenic beauty, flourishing wildlife and a surprisingly full calendar of events. Its authenticity remains in tact, as original wooden boardwalks, hitching posts and water troughs still run through town. Seated at the junction of the Absaroka Mountains and the Wyoming Bad Lands, the town is close to Thermopolis, the world’s largest hot springs, and driving distance to the renowned Wyoming Dinosaur Center.



Fishing is plentiful with a wide choice of rivers, streams and mountain lakes. Greybull River is especially well known for it’s trophy, cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish while the Wood River Valley boasts great small stream opportunities. One word to the wise – savvy locals recommend applying “bear spray” if you opt to fish in a wilderness area.
 
During the summer and fall months activities include The Art Festival, a Labor Day Rodeo and excursions to Kirwin, a mining ghost town that has remained largely untouched since the late 1890’s. Warm weather choices include hunting, camping, hiking, wind surfing and boating, while during the winter it’s possible to go ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting and sledding. Shooting pictures of wildlife from Pitchfork Road is a year-round, photographer’s dream. 
 
Fishing Waters
Fly fishers who seek to get far from the maddening crowd should consider the Clark’s Fork, as it offers ample fish, scenic beauty and alluring solitude. The river makes its grand entrance ... moreinto Wyoming from Montana through a rift in the jagged, glaciated Absaroka Mountains. Surrounded by soaring, snow-capped peaks, the river is bounded by the Beartooth Mountains to the northeast and the rugged Sawtooth Mountains to the southeast. Running for over 60 miles through the state, its upper waters are full of Yellowstone cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout while grayling and brown trout can be found below the famous Canyon section as the river makes its way back to Montana.

Designated as Wyoming’s first Wild and Scenic River, it flows through verdant, conifer forests, a stunning, 20 mile-long Canyon area, and open farm and ranch lands. The river descends from 8,500 feet at its headwaters near Cooke City to less than 3,000 at its northeastern crossing at the state line. The spectacular canyon portion of the river is as popular with hikers, kayakers and river rafters as it is with fishermen. Adventurers around the globe come here to experience its Class IV to Class VI rapids.

Technically the river is open year-round for fishing although the Colter and Beartooth passes are usually blocked by snow until late May. Public access can be gained from the highways that parallel most of the upper river through the Shoshone National Forest and anglers can, with a few exceptions, stop and fish at their leisure. Much of the lower river runs through private land although the Wyoming Game and Fish manage 4 public access points making it possible to enjoy fishing in these waters. Spring runoff can continue through June, sometimes even into mid-July, and then tends to remain steady from late summer and well into September.
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Where does this river begin? This question remained unanswered well into the 19th century. In fact, the Wind River and the Bighorn River are one body of water artificially divided ... moreby two names. Because the river’s course is largely set by the surrounding mountain ranges, The Wind River Range that extends southeast to northwest along the continental divide and the Bighorn Range that rises east of Shoshoni and curves north to Montana, the river changes direction and appearance more than once during its long journey. Overhearing Native Americans describe this basin, mountain men, adventurers and mapmakers just assumed they were talking about different rivers. 

Today the Bighorn River arbitrarily starts at the end of Wind River Canyon at a spot known as the Wedding of the Waters near the town of Thermopolis. From Thermopolis to about 20 miles below the Wind River Canyon, the river runs cold enough to support ample trout, with the best fishing actually beginning on the Wind River below the Boysen Reservoir, 15 miles upstream. Roadside access to this year round, world-class destination is unlimited as long as you obtain a Wind River Indian Reservation fishing permit.

One of the vagaries of Wyoming law is that landowners can own and control access to shorelines and riverbeds, making it illegal for anglers to wade or anchor in private water. Thankfully, most of the Bighorn River around Thermopolis is owned by the town, which provides many points of public access. You’ll be fine with the law if you wade upstream or down, as long as you stay below the high-water mark. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has designated several fishing access points and easements over private lands to provide public use of the river.
Game Fish Opportunities:
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