George H. Hunker, Sweetwater Fishing Expeditions, LLC, WY

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Lander, Wyoming

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George H. Hunker

Sweetwater Fishing Expeditions, LLC

Phone icon307-332-3986 Email Link
PO Box 1201
Lander, WY 82520

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The Story

2003 Endorsed Guide of the Year
Looking for the ultimate in seclusion, beauty, and a rustic, uncomplicated lifestyle? Join George Hunker's Sweetwater Fishing Expeditions camping trips into the Wind River Range, often called the best fishing in the lower 48. We do horse and llama-supported trips as well as backpack adventures into this spectacular wilderness with thousands of glacial-carved lakes and connecting streams. You can choose between cutthroat, brook, golden, and rainbow trout (not to mention a few browns and mackinaw. We have been taking fly-fishing trips into the Winds since 1977 and golden trout are our specialty. In the Lander, Wyoming area we guide on the small streams of the area, known for hopper fishing and surprisingly large browns. We also specialize is floating the Bighorn River near Thermopolis, Wyoming in the spring and fall. We take pride in our ability to teach to all skill levels, including beginners. Come join us for a rewarding fly-fishing experience in untrammeled water. Orvis-Endorsed Guide of the Year 2003 and operating continuously since 1977.

Date Range

March through November for lowland fishing and float trips on the Bighorn.

What is Provided to Customer

We can provide all fishing gear (including Tenkara rods, waders, and wading shoes), tents, sleeping bags, and pads.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Wind River Mountain extended trips are generally at an elevation between 9,500 and 11,000 feet. Almost every species of trout can be found there in the nearly 3,000 glacially carved lakes and the small streams running between. Predominantly, we fish for cutthroat, brook, and golden trout (and hybrids). We access this true wilderness via backpacking, riding a horse, or walking with horses or llamas carrying the gear.

Lander's small streams are at 5,000 feet in elevation and are relatively easy to wade (we often wade wet). This is mostly brown trout fishing.

Our Bighorn River floats trips near Thermopolis focus on brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout, with chunky, truly trophy-sized fish landed almost every day.

Typical Weather by Season

Our region is high and dry. Most often people say, “I can't believe how good the weather was, especially in the Wind River Mountains.”

March, April, and May: cool and sunny, with the occasional snowstorm thrown in for free.

June, July, August: summer with low humidity, low moisture, and afternoon thunderstorms. Weather in the mountains can present the whole range, from snow to wind, to bright blue. Nighttime temperatures can drop as low as freezing and daytime can feel like 100 (although it is probably only 80). This is "be prepared for anything" country. Lowland streams, including the Bighorn, can expect sunny and warm (occasionally hitting 100).

September, October, November: mountain season ends in September with good possibilities of snow during the month. Lowland streams and the Bighorn often experience a wonderful "Indian summer." Very little precipitation falls during this time, but again we start to experience Western weather, with snow coming in October and November.

Sample of Typical Itinerary

An itinerary for a typical Wind River Mountain Trip:

Arrival day: Arrive at Riverton, Wyoming airport by mid-afternoon. Get pickup by Sweetwater Fishing and transport to Lander. Check gear and pack. Stay in local motel.
Day 1: Leave town early and arrive at horsepacker's base by 7am. Have breakfast. Pack into mountain base camp. Set up camp and go fishing.
Day 2-6: After breakfast, hike to the day's fishing, high lakes or streams, or stay right at camp. Family-style dinner.
Day 7: Pack up and return to trailhead. Drive back to Lander. Spend night in a local motel.
Day 8: Return to Riverton Airport, transported by Sweetwater Fishing. Fly home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How are the bugs?
A. Mosquitos in the Wind River Mountains can be heavy from mid-July to the end of the month on wet years (some may say monumental).

Q. When is the best fishing?
A. Right after runoff in our lowland rivers and streams (usually early July). We often have stunning hopper fishing throughout the summer in the small streams around Lander. The best fishing in the high Wind River Mountains is right after ice out in early July.

What Should Customers Bring?

It is very important to bring long-sleeved shirts and pants to keep off the sun and pesky insects. Fleece, wool, and polypro clothing are recommended for wet weather, and lightweight hiking boots are recommended for the mountains.

Species You Fish for by Season

Spring: good baetis hatches on the Bighorn. Cicadas on the right years. Summer in the mountains has the whole range of hatches compressed into a very short time—all the way from golden stones and green drakes to PMDs and midges. Golden trout are a specialty, but they don't succumb easily. It’s heavy on the hoppers in the lowlands.

Fall: We still have lots of hoppers around in the low country until they are diminished by frost. We also have clouds of tricos (especially on the Bighorn), followed by a really long season of baetis. Fall fishing is predominantly with streamers on the Bighorn.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Each trip better than the last I took my seventh wilderness trip into the Winds with Sweetwater this summer. I’ve seen various parts of the range backpacking, horsepacking, or combinations of both. Each time I come off a trip, I can’t imagine it getting any better. Yet with each new mountain view, each new piece of water to fish, and each new hysterical story I hear around the fire, Hank and George continually exceed my expectations. I’m not able to fish as much as I’d like, but these trips sustain me throughout the year, and most of my improvement as a fisherman can be attributed to the Hunkers. They have a life-long client in me.
Date published: 2020-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic One of my best-ever fishing experiences. George is an incredibly experienced guide and a great teacher. We fished the Popo Agie for one day and were almost continuously hooked into beautiful brown and rainbow trout of all sizes. George certainly know how to find the fish. I learned more on this one day than I have learned in years of fishing on my own. I highly recommend George Hunker and Sweetwater Expeditions.
Date published: 2020-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Food - Fun Fishing - Wonderful Trip We went on a six day trip into the Wind River Range. We hiked about 9 miles and the horses dropped our gear. Hank Hunker led the trip with Scott wood as his assistant. They were both extremely personable and knowledgeable - clearly both loved being outdoors and sharing their experiences. Between them we fished a variety of water - the N Fork of the Popo Agie and a some high mountain lakes. The fish were plentiful and ranged from small book trout to feisty cutthroats ... with a few golden and or rainbow hybrids. It was really fun fishing! The food was also delicious. Breakfasts and dinners were hot, filling and tasty. The scenery was spectacular. The evenings were spent around the fire sharing stories and a few glasses of wine. Th whole trip was really well organized - showing the professionalism of their company. It was about as relaxing and fun trip as anyone could ask for!
Date published: 2020-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We had an excellent time We had an excellent 5 day horse packing trip into the Wind River range. We went in through Lander and went up the N. fork of the Popo Agie River. Guides were very knowledgeable and put us on great fishing.
Date published: 2020-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique experience This was my fifth time in the Winds with Sweetwater Expeditions and the trip was a great experience. Hank's skill and care, the spectacular location and the diverse fishing make for a unique experience and one that I hope to repeat as long as possible.
Date published: 2020-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breathtaking trip Awesome fishing guide and mountain adventure! The trip of a lifetime.
Date published: 2020-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every expectation surpassed Amazing trip into the Wind River backcountry. Fishing every bit as advertised but client service expectations surpassed in every way. No better way on earth to experience the best is wilderness fishing.
Date published: 2020-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Two days in heaven We had a wonderful experience fishing for cut throat in a most beautiful remote Wyoming River Valley. We camped overnight and the second day we had the entire river valley to ourselves! Unbelievable beauty and solitude. The scenery was off the charts and so was the fishing. In addition to catching fish our guide was an excellent teacher and we left much more knowledgeable. Thank you Sweetwater for two days in heaven!
Date published: 2019-09-28
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