Chances are, if you go on a fishing trip to Wyoming’s high country waters this summer you will be in close proximity to any number of trout streams that abound in the state’s mountainous areas. And chances are even better that in some of those streams will be stretches where the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has sought instream flow water rights to help keep water flowing.
Thanks to a law created in 1986, Wyoming has pursued flow protections on more than 130 stream segments throughout the state. Last year, Game and Fish implemented the X-Stream Angler Program to raise awareness of the state’s efforts to protect flows on fisheries for the public and places where the state’s instream flow law has been used.
Qualifying for X-Stream angler recognition is simple. Due to the proximity of instream flow segments in a number of areas, anglers could probably accomplish the X-Stream angler criteria in a day or two on a single fishing trip. Runoff is mostly over due to moderate snowpack in much of the state and recent warm weather. Most streams are in good fishing condition.
To become an X-Stream angler, simply fish three instream segments, submit a photo of the angler fishing the segment and send in an application. Information about the X-Stream Angler Program, including the list of instream segments, information about each stream how to get there, and the application form is available at wgfd.wyo.gov/InstreamFlow. Anglers who fish three segments will receive a poplin baseball cap with the program logo. Anglers who fish seven of the stream segments will receive an upscale oil-cloth cap.
“We started the program to increase the awareness of Wyoming’s instream flow law and to encourage anglers to visit some of the streams where we’ve sought instream flow water rights on their behalf,” said Tom Annear, water management supervisor for Game and Fish.
There is no deadline to fish the streams and submit the application, but there is a limited supply of caps, so anglers are encouraged to start fishing soon.
“Securing needed flow on these streams under the state’s existing water law is one of the most cost-effective ways to maintain important habitat for native cutthroat trout and other fish, and to provide angling opportunities for future generations,” Annear said.
Anglers can call Annear at 307-777-4555 for additional information on a particular water. Information is also available in the early summer issue of Wyoming Wildlife News, available at license agents or Game and Fish offices across the state.