Wild trout gather at the Rise of the Popo Agie River, where they are fed by visitors and unmolested by fishermen, growing to an estimated 10 pounds. (Katie Klingsporn/WyoFile)

The Rise of the Popo Agie in Sinks Canyon State Park may be Wyoming’s best approximation of trout paradise. For the trout, that is.

Located a half-mile downstream from the geologic marvel known as the Sinks — a cave where the river disappears into a series of underground channels — the Rise is where the river emerges again. Here, in a serene pool that is off-limits to fishermen, trout — primarily rainbows and browns — grow into lunkers as they nibble at insects as well as fish food that rains down from above, care of visitors. 

According to the state park, the fish arrive at the Rise naturally, migrating from downstream, and stay because it is protected and has ample food. No one has weighed or measured the fish in the Rise, according to the park, but some of the larger creatures probably weigh 8-10 pounds. 

Pacific Power and Light Company donated the Rise to the city of Lander in 1969 and it’s now a major draw of Sinks Canyon State Park. 

Though they undoubtedly tempt many an angler, to protect the unique resource, fishing is not allowed. 

Support Wyoming photography — donate to WyoFile today.

Katie Klingsporn

Katie Klingsporn is WyoFile's managing editor. She is a journalist and word geek who has been writing about life in the West for 15 years. Her pieces have appeared in Adventure Journal, National Geographic...

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hi, Katie, that’s a nice picture. I was just there, yesterday, in the late afternoon.

    It was fun to see the big ones grab my casually dropped (at first) banana chunks, and I’d bet they were loving every second of it, while it lasted. They reminded me of a shark feeding frenzy, but far less gruesome. Of course, I’m just helping them have a well-rounded diet, so we’ll have no talk of animal abuse, okay? Who’d want to pass up tropical treats, in a Wyoming river? It’s all good.

    I was really attempting to feed the so-called “small” fish, like those in your photo, who hang out downstream, but thanks to the help of the nice, cool, friendly wind, the magpies, crows, and muskrats got to taste their own “dessert.” One crow flew away with a well-aimed chunk, maybe for the kids at home?

    We all had a good time.