Wyoming is a wildlife and fishing wonder. There are antelope and deer in every field you pass. There are many reservoirs and rivers to try your luck. We gave it a shot and fished the La Bonte Creek and Sweetwater River.
We started by driving to La Bonte Creek. This creek is a beautiful gem with various recreational activities available, including camping, hiking and trails for ATVs. It is located in the Laramie Mountains of Southeast Wyoming, near Douglas. The Laramie Mountains are not as high as some of the surrounding mountain ranges, but they still rise to over 10,000 ft, in elevation.
Take Highway 91 south from Douglas, WY, until it turns to gravel. At this point it is called Cold Springs Road. After a few miles, there will be a split in the road and the traveler should take the left-hand fork, called Fetterman Road. A few more miles on Fetterman Road will take you to Old Maid’s Draw and just past that will be a road to the left. If you miss this road and cross a small creek (LaBonte Creek, but not marked), turn around and go back to the fork.
The Forest Service website offers the following information. “LaBonte Canyon is an area of steep granite rock formations well-suited for hiking and photography. The scenic steep canyon walls, groves of aspen, and stands of conifer can be viewed from Forest Road 658. Large populations of deer, elk, and bighorn sheep inhabit the area. LaBonte Canyon has several trails open to ATVs, horses, bicycles, and hikers. The Curtis Gulch Campground is located at the end of the canyon. Also, there are many beautiful undeveloped, dispersed campsites available along LaBonte Creek.”
The bottom line is that you have a good chance to see lots of big game animals and many interesting rock formations along this beautiful forested canyon. There are also bears and rattlesnakes in the area so visitors to the area should be prepared to take appropriate precautions.
Now, we’ll go on to the fishing. It was late in the summer when we visited LaBonte Creek (the first part of August). The water flow was low and you could easily wade or rock-hop across the creek in most places. Luckily for fishermen, there are many nice deep plunge pools along the creek. Each one of these pools is full of eager rainbow and brook trout. If you catch a 10-inch brookie or a foot-long rainbow, you have caught as large as the creek offers. But there are lots of them.
As we fished along the creek, having success with small dry flies and nightcrawlers, I though that this is a place that a person could spend a long day and have a shot at having a 100-fish day. We found the better fishing to actually be along the road. The road ends at the developed campground, but a good trail extends down the canyon and you can hike several miles with good fishing all the way.