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Archives on the Air 280: Mountain Man – Finis Mitchell papers

If you’ve been fishing in the high mountain lakes of the Wind River Range, you might owe a note of thanks to Finis Mitchell. During the Great Depression, he ran a fishing camp on Mud Lake near Big Sandy Openings. Over the course of seven years, he stocked 314 remote lakes with over 2.5 million trout. The fish came from state hatcheries and were delivered to Mitchell in five-gallon milk cans. He packed the fish up into the mountains on teams of horses.

Mitchell, author of Wind River Trails, was so knowledgeable about the Wind River area that he is said to be responsible for naming many of the local glaciers, lakes and peaks.

He was certainly one of Wyoming’s most influential mountain men. He started climbing with his father on elk hunts at the age of eight and continued climbing until after the age of eighty.

Mitchell was also an accomplished photographer and a Wyoming State legislator in the 1950s.

Read the Finis Mitchell papers and see his photos at UW’s American Heritage Center.