30 Great Places: Seedskadee

Region: Rocky Mountains
Activities: Hunting and Fishing
Species: Brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout; ducks; deer; pronghorn

Where: The Seedskadee rests near the southwest corner of Wyoming, in the w

estern shadow of the Wind River Range, and northwest of the town of Rock Springs. Most of the refuge protects riparian, wetland and upland shrub habitat adjoining 36 miles of the Green River, below Fontenelle Dam and above Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The Green is a ribbon of life amongst this inhospitable terrain, a haven for more than 250 species of wildlife, including many migratory birds. The term Seedskadee, incidentally, comes from a Shoshone word that means “river of the prairie hen.”

Why: One of the West’s great unheralded trout streams…if one can endure the extremes.

“Many of the anglers that fish the Green in the Seedskadee are hesitant to mention it, as it’s so good,” said Nick Walrath, Trout Unlimited’s Green River Project Manager. “But I feel it is protected a little from crowds because of the intense wind and brutal heat and cold. It can send even the most experienced angler home licking his or her wounds with nothing to remember but bad weather.”

This section of the Green holds stocked rainbows and cutthroat, and wild browns.

“The size of the fish can be ridiculous,” Walrath continued. “On a good day, you’ll get rainbows 16” to 20 plus”— lots of them. Browns can be even bigger. There’s not a fish in every seam, but if you keep working them and have confidence in what you’re using, you’ll eventually find success.”

Though there are plenty of sections to wade, this section of the Green is best fished from a drift boat—and this gives visitors a chance to really see the refuge. A favorite time for local anglers is the kokanee run.

“From the end of August until mid-November, the kokanee run up from Flaming Gorge to spawn,” Walrath added. “There might be thousands in one area. Casting egg patterns or streamers behind them (while being careful not to step on redds) is very productive. It’s reminiscent of fishing rainbows in Alaska.”

Seedskadee also offers fine duck, mule deer and pronghorn hunting.

Inside Knowledge: Don’t dismiss dry flies. “You might not see fish rising, but you can have good success with big dry flies,” Walrath advised. “Fish will be interested if it’s big enough. Make monster casts and long drifts in front of the boat.”

TU Initiatives: TU is carefully monitoring an initiative to increase access to stored water in Fontenelle Reservoir, as the project has the potential to negatively impact the fishery if not done correctly. The anglers that use and love this fishery will need to share their passion and concerns to ensure that the fishery is protected.

Make a difference: A dollar spent on conservation is a dollar spent for the benefit of future generations. And with recent budget proposals, those dollars and the programs they support are in jeopardy, including public lands like the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Visit Standup.tu.org to send a message to Congress that you support funding for the United States Fish and WIldlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

By Shauna Stephenson.