Plenty of fishy waters in north-central Wyoming

April 13, 2017 GMT

Have you ever traveled a hundred or more miles to go fishing only to find out that there was plenty of good fishing water much nearer to home? I know I have.

It seems that many of us suffer from “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” malady when it comes to fishing. I have driven hundreds of miles to fish for northern pike in Canada only to find out that Tongue River Reservoir has a healthy population of northern pike and the distance is only about 25 miles from my front door. (I recently saw a Facebook post featuring a fellow holding a husky northern that he caught in Goose Creek in the middle of Sheridan!)

Checking with the fisheries crew at the Sheridan Game and Fish office gave me some leads on good fishing spots in and near Sheridan. Bud Stewart, Andrew Nikirk, and Paul Mavrakis offered their suggestions on where to fish.

Big and Little Goose Creeks converge in Sheridan. South Park is located on Little Goose Creek just off Brundage Lane. The creek has a decent population of brown trout, around 800 per mile of stream, and the park allows public access to some very fishy water. During the summer anglers can also catch smallmouth bass and rock bass from the creek.

Big Goose Creek flows through Kendrick Park and has some good spots for brown trout and smallmouth bass.

Stream improvement work has been done on both creeks in the parks so there are some good chunks of holding water and escape cover.

One of the major fishing spots in Sheridan is Sam Mavrakis Pond located off of West 8th Street. The pond contains largemouth bass, black bullheads, rainbow trout and golden trout. The Game and Fish plant the goldens in October.

Kleenburn Ponds are located east of the Acme Exit off of Interstate 90. These reclaimed strip pits are loaded with largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, rainbow trout, and tiger muskie. Sheridan County maintains an excellent park at the ponds. There is handicap access and gravel pathways around the ponds.

If a person wants to fish a stream near Kleenburn there are a couple of options: Goose Creek or Tongue River.

From the Acme Exit for a couple of miles the Tongue River either is flowing through Kleenburn Park, Wyoming State lands or Walk In Access lands. At this time of the year an angler can expect to catch brown trout, carp and maybe a sauger.

If you continue east on the Acme Road you will encounter Goose Creek. From the Burlington Northern tracks to the confluence with the Tongue River, Goose Creek is part of the Access Yes program. Like the Tongue River, Goose Creek holds some brown trout and carp this time of the year and maybe a sauger or two. Later on with warmer water, anglers can expect to catch smallmouth bass, rock bass and carp.

Farther downstream on the Tongue River off from Wyoming Highway 338 (the Decker Road), is the Welch BLM Public Access Site. The Tongue River at this site holds smallmouth bass, rock bass, sauger, carp and channel catfish.

Of course, farther north on 338 is Tongue River Reservoir, a mecca for crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleyes, channel catfish, bullheads, sunfish and carp.

The Ranchester Pond in Ranchester has rainbow trout, largemouth bass, tiger muskie, green sunfish and black bullhead.

The Connor Battlefield State Park in Ranchester is on the Tongue River and has a decent population of brown and rainbow trout along with a healthy whitefish population.

The Scott Bicentennial Park in Dayton and Tongue River Canyon have brown and rainbow trout, as well as whitefish.

There is a slug of public water on Clear Creek from Buffalo upstream with brown and rainbow trout being the most common fish for anglers to catch.

Muddy Guard Reservoirs south of Buffalo have some exceptional trout in them. There are brown trout, tiger trout, rainbow trout and Snake River cutthroat trout there. Your chances of catching a big trout are very good at Muddy Guard.

Of course, Lake DeSmet is a jewel of a fishery offering rainbow trout, a few walleyes, a few lake trout, rock bass, yellow perch and monster carp.

Healy Reservoir northeast of Buffalo has some big largemouth bass in it — Paul Mavrakis predicts that the next state record will come from there. Healy also has some hefty tiger muskies and tons of yellow perch.

On the southeast side of Buffalo is the Wetlands Pond. This pond has a healthy population of yellow perch and largemouth bass with a smattering of tiger muskies.

Bud Stewart wanted to point out that there are several ponds on the Bud Love Management Unit northwest of Buffalo that contain some nice rainbow and brook trout.

There is plenty of public water near Sheridan and Buffalo to keep the average angler busy for a year or two. Maybe this year I will have a chance to get out and sample all of the waters.