Plan your next fishing trip to one of these incredible fishing locations for the chance at a catch of a lifetime.
A strong argument could be made for any of these waters to be declared as the "Best Trout Stream" in the Western US. These streams not only are know for good numbers of healthy trout but also all have the ability to produce trophy-sized trout.
1. Colorado River
The Colorado River has incredible trout fishing throughout much of its extent in Colorado, as well as in the tailwater located below Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona. If you are fly fishing, plan on hitting the salmon fly hatch for either a solo or guided trip during the month of June for days on some of the best waters you can fish.
2. San Juan River
The San Juan features an abundance of rainbow trout that on average range between 16 and 18 inches and even is known to have some large brown trout. With fish numbers as high as 15,000 trout per mile, the San Juan is one of the best trout streams in the country and you won’t have to worry about finding fish to catch.
3. Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the Lower 48 and is one of the best freestone trout streams in the western United States. The headwaters, located in Yellowstone National Park, are home to the highly sought after Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. Following the river downstream into Montana, healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout can be found. The various water types mean this river provides great fishing for both fly and spin anglers.
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4. Bighorn River
The tailwater stretch of the Bighorn is the best area to cast a line or fly. Famous for containing heavy hatches that bring trout to feed, fly fishers do particularly well here. Spin anglers have ample opportunity to catch large trout in this area as well.
5. South Platte River
Ranging form high mountain meadows to deep canyons, these waters are home to large rainbow and brown trout and can has something to offer for everyone. The stretch west of Colorado Springs typically sees good numbers of large trout in Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir in spring and fall. Fish over 10 pounds are caught here every year making it an exceptional spot.
6. North Platte River
Stemming from the high mountains of northern Colorado, the North Platte flows north, winding through canyons and incredible country as it enters Wyoming. The best waters to fish are located close to Casper , Wyoming along the tailwater stretches. These waters are legendary for containing some of the largest fish in the the western U.S.
7. Madison River
The Madison is another great trout stream with headwaters located in Yellowstone National Park. With excellent fishing in both the Park and further south in Montana, this river features fantastic hatches and great fly fishing.
8. Green River
It can be argued that this is the best trout stream in the entire country. The tailwaters below Flaming Gorge Reservoir in NE Utah is a complete anglers paradise. These waters are so rich with fish, that the Utah Division of Wildlife estimates there are more than 20,000 fish per mile in the upper sections of these tailwaters. To add to this excitement, many of these fish have grown to impressive sizes.
9. Deschutes River
Located further north in central Oregon, the Deschutes is famous for yearly salomonfly and golden stonefly hatches. These big bugs attract large trout to the rivers surface yearly in spring to early summer creating a fly fishers dream scene of being able to catch large trout on dry flies.
10. Sacramento River
The Sacramento River has both upper freestone area that has great hatches and a lower tailwater that has large and healthy rainbow who love to feast on caddis. This variety offers something for every angler making it an ideal location to fish.