Picture(s) of the Day: Powder Dry Flies

Written by: Greg Senyo

Powder River Brown Trout

Nymphs need not apply: The Red Fork of the Powder River was dry-fly heaven.

photo by Greg Senyo

Driving toward the Powder River, I felt like a big ‘ol fat Labrador sticking his head out the window and slobbering down the side of the jeep. At this point I didn’t have a care in the world; I was just smiling! The history of this place is as intriguing as the wild trout that inhabit the water running through its red canyons.

We would be fishing in the middle of no-man’s land between the Wyoming towns of Sheridan, Kay-Cee, and Buffalo. It was here in these hills that the famous Butch Cassity and the Sundance Kid would make their escape from deputy marshals and local law enforcement after repeated robberies of the towns’ local banks. Just looking at the terrain, I could imagine how crazy the outlaw horses must have been during the chase, and why they were so successful at getting away! 

The Red Fork of the Powder River ranges from 20 to 40 feet wide and is littered with runs and pools from 3 to 6 feet deep. The riverbanks are virtually all undercut several feet back, providing excellent cover for holding trout. The area was also covered in bug life. Caddisflies and golden stones, and terrestrials such as ants, grasshoppers, and cicadas were abundant.

Powder River Brown Trout 2

Big, wiggly dry flies drew splashy strikes from fish living in undercut banks.

photo by Greg Senyo

Even during the heat of the day, the water ran cold, and the river’s resident trout are always looking up. Big dry flies are the preferred offering here, and there is no need for a dropper! As long as the presentation was good, the fish would eat. Foam flies such as Chubby Chernobyls, Cartoon Hoppers, Foam Stones, Chernobyl Ants, and Fat Alberts are perfect choices. The Red Fork’s clarity and size offer you an up-close and action-packed dry fly take, where you have the best front row seat to watch it all go down!

Greg Senyo is the owner of Steelhead Alley Outfitters in Ohio.

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