Photos and Story by Brian Harrington
Top Five Lakes to Fish on the Laramie Plains
Fly fishing in Laramie, Wyoming requires the right conditions, as it does everywhere. When our freestone rivers and creeks are un-fishable due to spring runoff and we’re locked out of the high country given the persistence of snow, luckily, there is a place to turn: the Laramie Plains Lakes.
As a fly fisherman and a resident of Laramie for nearly a decade, I’ve gotten to know the Laramie Plains Lakes well. These lakes are more than just a last resort to turn to during high water conditions. They are a worthy destination in and of themselves, and on a good day, they might just hand you the biggest trout of your life.
While the plains surrounding Laramie are dotted with a generous amount of fishable lakes, my five favorites are, in no particular order, Alsop Lake, Twin Buttes Reservoir, Lake Hattie, Meeboer Lake, and Diamond Lake. In this post, I will share some useful tips and information about each of these lakes to help make your day on the water a success.
General Tips and Info for All Laramie Plains Lakes
In general, all five lakes in this list pair an abundance of food with the perfect ph to create fast-growing fish. Managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish, the lakes allow for a great day of fishing for the most experienced angler and the first-timer alike. While fishing is possible year-round on the lakes, they reach their full potential in the spring and late fall.
Almost by definition, the Laramie Plains Lakes lack any sort of shelter from the wind, which of course makes casting a challenge. Laramie locals know that mornings tend to be less windy, so get to your destination early for the best conditions. If you can’t make it early or are planning to fish well into the day, bring a heavier weight rod, such as a 6 or 7, to help you push through the wind.
I highly suggest popping into one of the local fly shops on your way out of town. I’ve made a habit of stopping at the shop where I used to work, Four Seasons Anglers, for the best selection of flies and the most up-to-date information.
1. Alsop Lake
Favorite flies: callibaetis, olive streamers
Alsop Lake is designated by the Wyoming Game and Fish as a trophy lake, meaning that only artificial flies and lures are permitted and that any trout less than 16 inches must be immediately released. Additionally, the lake’s limit is two fish per day.
In 2016 Alsop Lake unfortunately saw the devastation of fish over the winter. Following this die-off, the game and fish stocked 5,000 Rainbow Trout and 2,500 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. During a 2018 Wyoming Game and Fish survey on the lake, cutthroat averaged 19 inches, rainbow averaged 20 inches, and the largest fish revealed was a 6-pound, 24-inch rainbow.
Alsop Lake is located just a few miles west of Laramie. To get there, take Highway 130 toward Centennial, then turn right on Herrick Lane and follow that north for 6.5 miles.
2. Twin Buttes Reservoir
Favorite flies: shiny minnow-like streamers, olive streamers, damsel nymphs
I’ve had some of the best days of fishing in my life at Twin Buttes, particularly during the spring when big aggressive rainbows are prone to chasing bright, flashy streamers. It’s not just big rainbows that make Twin Buttes worth your time: every hook-set is also an opportunity to land a huge brown.
Twin Buttes hosts two boat ramps and allows overnight camping, but does not offer RV hook-ups. To get there, take Highway 230 west out of Laramie, turn right on Pahlow Lane, and follow that onto Twin Buttes Road.
Favorite flies: leeches, crayfish
Home of the “Hattie Fatty,” Lake Hattie is the largest of the Laramie Plains Lakes. Its surface area registers between 1500 and 3000 surface acres depending on the water level. Hattie boasts a variety of fish species, including rainbows, brown, kokanee salmon, and perch. It’s not uncommon to witness a 10-pound trout come out of this lake. Your best bet is to fish Hattie from a boat or float-tube, but you can still net a sizeable fish from the bank. In fact, my favorite place to fish at Hattie is along the eastern bank. Lake Hattie is located just past Twin Buttes. Simply take Pahlow Lane to Rodeo Lane and follow signs to the lake.
Favorite flies: olive leech, olive or orange scuds, damselfly nymph
Meeboer is in many ways the perfect plains lake. It’s small enough to easily survey fish activity but large enough to allow for bigger trout. Though Meeboer has traditionally had issues with winterkill, the Game and Fish has worked diligently to solve this issue. Several years ago, they installed an aeration system to keep parts of the lake open all winter. This technique has allowed the size of fish in Meeboer to explode.
It is not uncommon to consistently catch 10 to 15-inch rainbow trout all day long on Meeboer. And, the lake is now providing fish much larger with regularity. Wading in or fishing from the shore are both great ways to get your catch, as are fishing from a boat or float tube. I’ve always had the best luck by retrieving a damsel nymph slowly and consistently. Meeboer is the closest of the plains lake to Laramie and is located south of Pahlow Lane, just 4.5 miles after you turn off Highway 230.
5. Diamond Lake
Favorite flies: callibaetis, olive leches, damselfly nymphs and adults, chironomids
Diamond Lake, also known as Bosler Reservoir, is located about 40 miles west of Laramie on I-80. Be sure to search for Bosler Reservoir (not Diamond Lake) on Google Maps, as there is another Diamond Lake on private land that, to add to the confusion, is located in Bosler.
The Lake was famous through the 80’s and early 90’s for huge fish and easy access. However, Diamond Lake later suffered from low water during drought years, resulting in a nearly complete die-off of the trout. By working with landowners, the Game and Fish has restored this lake to an unbelievable quality. As with all of the plains lakes, wind can be an issue. Fortunately, there is a well-placed snow-fence on the western bank of Diamond Lake that allows for a semi-sheltered cast with the prevailing wind at your back.
Whether you’re a first-time fisherman or a seasoned veteran, Albany County and the surrounding Laramie area offers an abundance of options to cast a line and reel in the big one. Visit our website to learn more or request a fishing brochure, providing lots of useful information on everything you need to have a great experience fishing the waters of the Laramie area.
Note: Brian and Dani Harrington are independent writers contracted by Visit Laramie. Views and opinions expressed here are their own and do not reflect those of the Albany County Tourism Board.