If you love to fly fish, there is no better feeling than wading in the water with your fly rod in hand. Fly fishing is boundless; it can be done in many different places, and each spot brings new challenges and thrills. We have curated the list for you if you are seeking your next fly fishing adventure.
It’s honestly difficult to narrow down the best fly fishing spots to just five because the United States has some of the best fly fishing in the world.
Yellowstone River, Montana
Our first recommendation is located in the beautiful landscape of Montana. The Yellowstone River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the country.
It is guaranteed to give you a classic Montana fly fishing experience. Once you visit the river, you will most likely want to return to fully immerse yourself in a diverse range of fish, scenery, and rivers.
Once you are in the area, head to the Yellowstone River Campground to park your adventure van for the night. This campground is located in Billings, Montana, and has 141 spaces. Here, you’ll find a dump station, bathroom facilities, WiFi, and electricity hookups on some sites.
South Platte River, CO
Our next stop will take you into the mountains and greenery of Colorado. You are almost guaranteed to catch fish at the South Platte River (or at least see them pass by). There is an impressive population of brown and rainbow trout, some over 20 inches long. If you are fishing in the river near Denver, you might even be able to find carp.
We recommend checking out the Dream Stream if you can’t choose your fishing spot. This section of the river stretches over 3.5 miles and has a great reputation for fish traffic.
Once you are done fishing for the day, drive your adventure van to the Lone Rock Campground. This campground is located next to plenty of hiking and incredible fishing spots, and it offers vault toilets, potable water, and picnic tables.
Get out of the sun and drive to the Denver Beer Company for beer and specialty-made seltzers.
Green River, Utah
Once you have explored Montana and Colorado, it’s time to fish in the beautiful state of Utah. The Green River runs for over 25 miles and is located next to the Uinta Mountains. The river boasts ample water flow and a large population of large rainbow and brown trout. There are three sections of the river — A, B, and C — with A being the spot with the highest fish density and C being the lowest.
Once you have fished to your heart’s content, journey over to the Green River State Park for camping, the ideal spot to set up camp here is at the waterside Green River Campground near Stillwater Canyon or the famed Labyrinth Canyon River.
At Stillwater, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for fly fishing not too far from your tent. If you set out into the canyon by boat, be prepared for several days on and off the water. You can navigate the canyon yourself if you’re an experienced fisherman, but it can take the better part of a week to see the gorgeous views and cast your line to your heart’s content.
As for the Labyrinth Canyon River, you can expect calm waters and plenty of fish. You can run the entire length of the river (68 miles total) in three to four days, which makes for phenomenal fishing and camping within the sprawling Green River State Park.
Another addition to your "fly fishing bucket list" has to be the Deschutes River in Oregon. The Deschutes River is a hotspot for fly fishing in the Pacific Northwest, and for a good reason. The river is broken up into three sections: the Upper, Middle, and Lower Deschutes.
- Fish in the Upper Deschutes for rainbow and brown trout here, as well as pine forests and lava flows.
- Middle Deschutes is known for fall fishing and getting the chance to spot deer, quail, coyotes, and birds.
- Spend your time at the Lower Deschutes for the largest concentration of world-class trout.
After you've fished your heart out in the scenic areas the Deschutes offers, you'll find plenty of options for parking your van for the night.
The Deschutes National Forest offers several campground options and dispersed camping areas. If you want a taste of Oregonian life, head to Bend for a refreshing beer at one of the 20+ breweries in the area and park stealth mode in town.
San Juan River, New Mexico
The San Juan River in New Mexico is our last must-see spot for fly fishing. This river is another hot spot for fly fishers since they can rely on the river’s consistent year-round outflow temperature. That being said, the river stays pretty cold, so be sure to bring breathable waders, but leave the leaks at home. Because of the consistent temperature and water flow, you can count on seeing some of the largest trout you have seen.
After spending the day in the river, head to Cottonwood Campground for your weekend stay. Here, you will find 47 campsites with access to 30 and 20 amp hookups, water, picnic tables, dump stations, flush toilets, and drinkable water.
Are you interested in more? 25 miles from the Navajo Dam, you can tour Aztec Ruins dating back 900 years. Experience half a mile of stunning architecture.
Adventure Van Essentials for Fly Fishing
Now that you have picked your fishing trip destination, it’s time to write your packing list. Below are some essentials to pick up if you don’t already have them installed in your adventure van
A Camper Folding Table for Fish Prep
It’s best to keep your fish alive as long as possible, but as soon as they are dead, you should place them on ice in a cooler. It’s recommended to clean them within two hours and eat them within 24 hours.
A camper folding table is a perfect solution to finding a space for preparing your fish. These tables fold up compactly, meaning they won’t take up much space in your van. Plus, they’re easy to clean.
A Galley for Food and Gear Storage
Now that your fish are properly prepped, it’s time to get cooking. We know that kitchens in adventure vans can sometimes be small or lacking in some of the essential features, which is why Flatline Van Co. custom designs premium parts to fit the needs of your life (and fit the space in your van).
If you are lacking in storage space or a fitted space for a refrigerator, we recommend checking out our 41” Galley. This will give you drawers and storage space for food, utensils, flatware, or any other kitchen necessities.
A Portable Fire Pit for Out-of-the-Van Cooking
If you don't want to be inside the van and want to spend more time outside, opt to cook your fish over a fire. Although some campsites offer a firepit for you to use, you can’t rely on finding one at every stop. That’s why it’s best to come prepared with a portable fire pit.
Pack Your Gear and Hit the Road
So, weekend warriors, it’s time to grab your best fishing gear, van, and camping essentials and hit the road! Be sure to reserve your campsites ahead of time and come prepared with the proper fly fishing gear so you can stay dry, warm, and have a great time.