Since many people who fish seek isolated areas where great catches are possible, it can be a good idea to plan a full-on backpacking trip when trekking out to these rural areas. Backpacking-fishing trips provide opportunities for seeing some of the last wild places in America. In these locations, hikers can fly fish in beautiful lakes and clear rivers visited by only small numbers of anglers each year.

For those who have not fished in the West, the vast number of rivers to select from can make for a difficult decision. However, hiring a guide can remove the guesswork from a fly fishing trip and prove to be a rewarding experience. And, since guides provide much of the fishing gear needed, hikers need only their other necessities. Here are some suggestions for backpacking/fishing trips:

Golden Trout Wilderness in California

While the breathtakingly beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains are often crowded, the Golden Trout Wilderness in these mountains is remote enough to dissuade many from going there. Golden trout are naturally found in the nearby Kern River. Additionally, these trout are smaller in this native range than they are in other places, which can make some fishers feel like the hike is not worth the payoff. Yet, it is a worthy trip for anyone who values the experience over the catch.

Hell’s Canyon in Oregon, near Idaho

As North America’s deepest river gorge, Hell’s Canyon in Oregon has walls that lie on the Idaho border, rising nearly 8,000 feet above the Snake River. Trails are accessible for all levels of hikers, and the fishing is terrific year-round, especially in the fall when the steelhead run.

Wall Lake in the Uinta Mountains in Utah

Hiking in the Uinta Mountains is quite popular, as this range can accommodate many hikers. Nearby Wall Lake, one of the state’s more scenic lakes, has the peace that many seek, as well as an ample trout population. Hikers can also take day excursions to dozens of surrounding lakes and ponds that have big trout.

Eagle River in Vail Valley in Colorado

The Eagle River, located in the Vail Valley, has unbelievable trout fishing, but it is often overlooked because several rivers, including the Colorado River, are nearby. Guides are very helpful to instruct anglers in the nuances needed to fish here successfully. 

Wind River Range in Wyoming

The longest and highest mountain range in Wyoming, the Wind River Range, has more than 1,300 named lakes. The upper lakes are stocked with a variety of trout, such as Rainbow, Brook, Cutthroat, Brown and Golden Trout. There are also Mackinaw and Grayling in these lakes. The Wind River Mountains attract hikers and fishers from around the world. Many enjoy the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.