Instream Flow / Greys River

Greys River

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Length: 10.1 miles
Priority Date: 10/08/1993
Printable Access Map: Download Map
Technical Report: Download Technical Report
X-Stream Angler Article: Download XStream Angler Article

*Angling regulations may have changed since X-Stream Angler Articles were written. Please check current Fishing Regulations for current fishing limits.

About the segment - Hidden away deep in the Wyoming Range of western Wyoming, the Greys River is the epitome of a Western trout stream. Pine and aspen-covered mountains rise high above the willow-lined river as it courses seaward. Originating at the Tri-Basin Divide (where Labarge Creek and the Smiths Fork also arise), the river passes through a high valley before entering a narrow boulder-strewn canyon near its confluence with the Snake River. The landscape and waters of the Greys have changed little since the river was first viewed by trapper John Day, a member of John Jacob Astor's party, in the summer of 1811 (in fact the river was called John Day's River until about 1902). A developed road parallels the river all the way from its origin at the Tri-Basin Divide to the town of Alpine. Although it is possible to drive a sedan the whole way when it's dry, the road is rough enough that most rank and file tourists bypass the area on their way to more popular venues like Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. The remoteness of the river allows near-wilderness type opportunities for a wide range of outdoor recreation throughout its entire length.

Rationale - Recommended flows are based on detailed field studies that identified the amount of water needed to maintain 1) spawning habitat for native cutthroat trout in the spring and early summer, 2) habitat for growth and survival of adult and juvenile trout in the summer and 3) over-winter survival of all ages of trout.

Fishery - The Greys River fishery has changed little in the nearly 200 years since European-Americans first visited it. Now as then the river holds good numbers of native Snake River cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, and mottled sculpins. In the early 1900's, fishery managers stocked the lower parts of the river with various non-native trout species like rainbow, brown and brook trout to address their fear that over-fishing might harm the native fishery. By the end of the last century, though, biologists found that stocking was not needed and the natives were quite able to maintain themselves without any help. Despite the early stocking of non-natives, the river is dominated by wild, native cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish. In spite of the road right along the stream, crowding is seldom a problem on the Greys. And because you have access to the entire river, you can select about any kind of fishing that strikes you. It's just a matter of where you stop the truck or car to determine whether you'll be fishing small, slow moving pools or fast, deep runs. A wide range of attractor dry flies on a lightweight fly rod will provide plenty of action in late summer in the middle and upper portions of the river. Try a heavier line and streamers or spinners in the lower portions. Be sure to check the latest Game and Fish regulations for special regulations that limit the kind of tackle you can use and number of fish you can keep in different parts of the river.

How to get there - Find your way to the town of Alpine located at the confluence of the Snake and Greys River in the far western part of the state. Turn east on the Greys River Road that joins with highway 89 just south of the bridge over the Snake River. This road parallels the Greys River all the way to its headwaters at the Tri-Basin Divide. The road forks there and goes to either La Barge or Cokeville. Once you reach the Forest Service boundary just east of Alpine there are lots of places to pull over and enjoy some fine fishing on this classic Western trout stream.
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