Fly Fishing the Ham’s Fork River
The "Humble Ham's" -as Wyoming Wildlife dubbed it-is quite the fishery. In recent years, anglers have come to fish the Hams Fork River more frequently because fishing is good year round and they can expect to catch respectable sized rainbow trout and brown trout. The number of fish per mile is dramatically higher the first five miles below Viva Naughton Reservoir, but anglers can still catch good numbers of fish further downstream. Anglers should bring their normal arsenal for trout and be aware of the artificial only section between the reservoirs (Viva Naughton and Kemmerer City reservoirs).

Many anglers have their favorite flies to use, but here are some suggestions to those who may not have fished the Hams Fork River before or are just getting into fly fishing. Firstly, anglers can get by with a four weight rod but it’s recommended to not use anything smaller than a five weight. Additionally, you will want to have a net handy, as the river is dense with willows and landing fish without a net can be extremely difficult. Another question we get frequently is what to use. During spring, anglers can try trailing a rock worm behind any kind of beadhead or midge. When fishing during summer mayfly, stonefly, and caddis patterns in the morning and switching to nymphs in the afternoon can be very productive. The angler who uses the "hopper/dropper" with large foam bodied terrestrials and small olive to iridescent green bead heads anytime time from midsummer through the fall could also expect hookups. During winter, midges (zebra/disco white/red/black) and worm patterns (Rock/San Juan red or white) will work for those die hards who like snowshoes with their waders. Those skilled at stripping or drifting streamers through the deep holes will bring in good fish year round. Olive or earthy colors have worked well, as well as white, especially for Brown Trout in the fall. Both large articulated streamers and small simple streamers can produce good results.

Summertime water temperatures typically stay low thanks to its high elevation tail water nature. However, anglers should be aware that if water levels drop during the heat of summer, this small river could warm up fast. When water temperatures rise, give fish a break to reduce their level of stress. If big Brown Trout are what you are after, you will typically do better in the lower sections between Lyons Park and slightly below Kemmerer City Reservoir during fall. Should you decide to try your hand at fishing here this time of year, you should be cognizant of redds (spawning areas) in this relatively small river. 

Access on the river is good. There are five well marked Game and Fish access sites starting about seven miles upstream from town. All of these are accessible with any vehicle outside of winter. There is also a marked public access above and below both reservoirs. The stretches between the Bridger Teton National Forest boundary and Viva Naughton are harder to navigate but there are several fishable miles there as well, one just needs a good map or GPS to prevent trespassing. Unfortunately, there have been several cases regarding trespassing with anglers, so it is strongly advised that anglers be aware of the access status and rules of walk-in/public access areas and state lands.

How to get there - From Kemmerer in the extreme western part of the state, take highway 233 north out of town from the north end of the business district. Just stay on this paved road until reaching Kemmerer City Reservoir. Along the way you'll pass several well marked public access areas that all provide opportunity to fish the segment that extends over 10 miles from the base of the reservoir downstream toward town.

By the Green River fisheries crew. This is an article in the 2018 Green River Angler Newsletter. Read the full newsletter to learn more about fishing in the Green River region.
Green River Regional Office: (307)

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