Home Water

June 17, 2024 By: Spencer Durrant

Unless you live within a stone’s throw of a legendary trout river, chances are your home water isn’t a major tourist draw. Folks will always make the trek to Ennis or Last Chance, because the fishing there is the stuff trout dreams are made of. Rarely will someone book a hotel in Provo, Utah, to explore the trout streams of the Wasatch Front Range.

Those are the trout streams I grew up on, and while I live in Wyoming now, I make regular treks back home to fish the water that raised me.

My “new” home water in Wyoming consists of two fantastic tailwaters, two more incredible freestones, and more mountain creeks and ponds than I could fish in a lifetime. That’s not counting everything in Yellowstone, which is just two hours from my house. With all that fly fishing around me, why do I bother returning to Utah to fish third-rate trout streams? For that matter, why do I make the hour-long drive to either tailwater when there’s a fantastic canyon creek 25 minutes from my front door?

Us fly anglers love our mythology, and few places wear that mantle as well as Yellowstone does, or any of Wyoming’s stories tailwaters. There’s also a healthy dose of FOMO (fear of missing out) that, in no small part, is thanks to social media. We can instantly know if the Green Drakes or salmonflies are out, and if we’re not there to take part in such a monumental event on classic trout water, than can we even call ourselves fly anglers?

Home water is overlooked and under-fished, and I’m as guilty of that as anyone. My regular trips to fish home water in Utah are more of an attempt to hang onto the past than they are a fishing trip, if I’m being honest. If I wanted a great fly fishing experience, I’d never leave Wyoming. Heck, I wouldn’t even really need to leave my county.

While traveling to fly fish is fun, it’s not the only gateway to incredible experiences. Too often we fall into the trap of following the crowds – fishing in Patagonia or Iceland – instead of embodying the simple adventurousness that this sport’s pioneers possessed. We won’t all be Lee Wulff, flying with Curt Gowdy into Labrador. Most of us are like a guide friend of mine who lives and works on one of the best tailwaters in the world. He spent time in South America fishing for dorado, but he ended up back home in the West, next to a trout stream that’s on the bucket list for many anglers. He stays there because he says there’s no point in going anywhere else when the fishing out his front door is so good.

I reckon the fishing out your front door is just as excellent. How often have you gone out to experience it for yourself?