Located 30 miles southwest of Evanston, Wyoming, lies a world-class stillwater fishery. It is known by many names including, “Guild Ranch Reservoir,” “Hawg Heaven,” “Guild and Dean Reservoir,” and “Piedmont Reservoir.” Locals know it as “Trout King Lake.” If you love big trout, this lake is certainly worth putting on your bucket list.
Piedmont Reservoir is truly a remarkable fishery. I always include this destination in my travels during the spring and fall. It can easily be fished from a pontoon boat or boat with an electric motor. Only artificial flies with barbless hooks are allowed on this catch and release lake.
The Guild family owns the lake and rents a little cabin situated right next to the water. The cabin sleeps five, has electricity, a wood burning stove, three beds, a fire pit, and a two burner Camp Chef cook stove. Bring your own drinking water. You can camp, stay at the cabin, or stay in Evanston, WY a short 30-minute drive away.
The fishing here lures anglers from all over the country. It is not the number of fish caught that makes this lake compelling, it is the size and variety of species that are available: Rainbows, Cutthroats, Brooks, Browns, and Tigers. Trout up to 34 inches in length have been caught here.
How to fish this lake
The dam, upper bay, and the island are all productive areas to target. I find this lake fishes well during the springtime as the higher water levels allow access to the upper part of the lake. The lake fishes well along the dam and in the bay next to the cabin especially at sunup when minnows are cruising close to shoreline edges.
A nutrient rich reservoir, Guild Ranch Reservoir supports a wide variety of aquatic insects. For example, when the damsels emerge trout will position themselves close to shallow shoreline areas, particularly in the upper bay.
Here they wait, gorging on the damsel pupae as they swim towards shore to begin their emergence into adults. This is the perfect time to cast close to the shoreline edge.
During the spring and early summer, flying ants make their appearance. Be sure to include some flying ant patterns in various sizes to your fly box. When the ants are on the water, I find trout will key on them and ignore all other fly offerings.
One of the patterns that has earned top honors in my line up for Piedmont is my UV Emerger pattern. This pattern has proven extremely effective.
In the spring, minnows can be observed swimming in shallow shoreline areas (as seen in this photo taken in June). Minnow or streamer patterns are effective, particularly early morning. Once trout reach approximately 16 inches in length, their need for protein increases. Prey fish and minnows then become desired food sources.
Fish minnow patterns close to shallow shoreline areas or in the top few feet as seen in this video that was taken in May:
If you have never fished this lake before, I suggest you go with someone who is familiar with the lake as they can provide you a shortcut on how to fish this lake. The time that you spend learning how to fish Piedmont will be well worth it once you hook into a fish of a lifetime.
These are the patterns and colors I find productive at Piedmont Reservoir:
- UV Midge (Black)
- UV Midge Pupa (Olive and Black)
- UV Emerger (Black and Caddis Brown)
- All-Purpose Nymph (Olive and White)
- UV Crystal Pupa (Olive and Burnt Orange)
- Grizzly Bug (Burnt Orange and Olive)
- Predator Leech (Dark Olive, Dark Olive and Burnt Orange, Black)
- Predator Minnow (All colors)
- Predator Bugger (Burnt Orange, Burgundy)
- Ant patterns
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