You cross a threshold, both mental and physical, when fishing the backcountry. First, the fish are usually wild, not the docile, pellet-fed offspring of a hatchery. Also, the farther and higher you hike, the better the fishing. And remember: Nothing tastes more like wilderness than pan-fried trout for breakfast. These three classic hike-in spots hook you up.
Lake Louise, WY
Chase wild trout through the Winds
The Wind River Range is famous for fly-fishing and climbing, but ropes and carabiners won’t get you dinner. Ever since state senator and climber Finis Mitchell-the Johnny Appleseed of trout in these parts-planted fish in 300 area lakes in the 1930s, the Winds have been a trout-chaser’s mecca. But you won’t find crowds on the 2.3-mile Glacier Trail (stay right and follow West Torrey Creek). The hike gains more than 1,000 feet before reaching a granite-rimmed, blue-green lake that resembles its famous Canadian namesake, minus the tour buses. Cast dry flies or nymphs at the West Torrey Creek outlet, then work your way left around the south shore. Fishing is also good at the inlet on the lake’s west side.
Got all night? Scramble up West Torrey Creek another 900 feet to Hidden Lake, just southwest of Louise, for solitary camping.
Four miles south of Dubois on US 26/287, turn right onto Trail Lake Road and drive 9.6 miles, following the signs to Trail Lake Ranch.