Miracle Mile Fly Fishing and a Little Reality Check


Stiff-arming a Miracle Mile Chunk   (Photo by NPL Guide Josh Stevens)

Miracle Mile is a short tail water section of the the North Platte River that is arguably the most recognized piece of fly fishing water in the state of Wyoming. The “Mile” as it is commonly known, is actually 5 to 8+ miles long depending on the level of Pathfinder Reservoir. The term Miracle Mile was coined by Curt Gowdy who was a well-known sportscaster for NBC and ABC Sports during the 1960s and 1970s. The Reef Fly Shop is the nearest operation to Miracle Mile and we frequent this remote area in Carbon County. Wade fishing trips to Miracle Mile were some of the first guide assignments for North Platte Lodge in 1998, and current staff floated the Mile in their sweet yellow Aire Super Puma and cheap Sevylor K-79 inflatable kayak beginning in the early 1990s. We’ve been around a little while.

Don’t get us wrong, we love Miracle Mile and for the same reasons that it enjoys infamy. It is a good fishery with quality trout, it is remote, has lots of public access, it is easy to drive right to any run, has plenty of camping options, it fishes year round and oozes some lawless anonymity. Much of the public allure however, comes only from the name and lore.

GREY REEF   If we had to choose it would be Grey Reef and none of the area fisheries would be a close second…not even Miracle Mile. Grey Reef for trophy class fish (25″), Grey Reef for dry fly, Grey Reef for high-volume fishing, Grey Reef for novice angler’s success, Grey Reef for angling diversity and response to hatches, Grey Reef for fish population and shear productive river mileage, Grey Reef for accessibility, Grey Reef for less fishing traffic and congestion.

Miracle Mile can be a shit show, especially in the fall. Please let us be on Grey Reef during a blizzard, big wind event or gulley washer. The Mile is better than most fisheries but can’t compete with the consistency of Grey Reef. It has some huge fish but we target trophy trout at Grey Reef for a reason. Miracle Mile is lackluster for dry fly except the short Golden Stonefly hatch, Miracle Mile has more midstream structure and heavier water making it more difficult for less experienced anglers and the wading is a lesson in expecting a swim. Miracle Mile has almost no edge structure and is 800′ higher elevation than Alcova. Again, we love Miracle Mile and it will always be part of our program but it is evident from conversations we’ve had with folks over the past couple decades that their interpretation is mostly misguided due to lack of really understanding the contemporary reality of Miracle Mile.

 

White Ribbon Of Death or Blue Ribbon Trout Stream


Front Rangers can rejoice! Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has opened the white ribbon of death for 2021. For those that don’t know, the white ribbon of death is a term given to a ski run made mostly of man made snow and concentrated to a single run in an effort to get the resort open before any other operation. Oftentimes the surrounding terrain will be devoid of snow but being the first to provide turns for the avid skiers and snowboarders has considerable bragging rights. We can see the allure but as powder snobs, not enough to pull us out of the water. There is still a lot of fishing to get done this year and we are entering prime streamer time. Colorado, sorry we won’t be visiting until powder season is in full force but we still have some guide and cottage availability over the next couple months while we let the snowpack mature. Besides, it’ll probably take less time to drive to Grey Reef than it will to get to the summit of I70. All kidding aside, we are on the cusp of the meaty part of the BWO hatch and the streamer program is starting like clockwork. Cheap trips, lodging and cottage/fishing packages start on Nov 15 and end March 14 2022. visit the rates page for details and let’s make a toast to a robust and stable snowpack this year. Cheers!

 

Iced Tea Iced Guides


October through mid November is a pretty magical time in Central Wyoming. The scene changes daily and the transitions between fishing disciplines and hunting opportunities seem endless and can be exhausting.   Gear rooms, boats and vehicles suffer the most as the constant exchange inevitably creates disarray and confusion. Anglers are loaded with 3 rigged rods – the dry fly opportunities are all day and you need to be able to grab a rod as soon as rising trout start doing their thing, nymph rigs fill the gaps and help you to not feel inadequate for surface refusals and the streamer water should never be ignored. The dry fly game is plentiful yet humbling, nymphing light emerger rigs is really dang productive and you never know what kind of critter your streamer will land in front of. The days start with coffee, waders and a hoody and end with t-shirts, sandals and a beer.

Then there is hunting. Big game often warrants different caliber choices, waterfowl and upland bird and you’ll shop for tools to optimize that experience. And don’t forget about the dogs that make it all happen…pointing, flushing, snuggling and retrieving.  Add other Central Wyoming outdoor recreation options like mountain biking, gravel biking, off road motorcycling, climbing, trail running and paddling. That isn’t the end of it but we know where to stop, ha! This region has not been developed to optimize most of these activities and that is a good thing. Getting outside begins with leaving your comfort-zone and culminates in continuing to advance your comfort by creating a habit of putting yourself out there. Going further, rejecting the normal definition of success and discovering things that very few people will. This isn’t the Visit Casper version of Central Wyoming…this is the raw and real version that excludes the entry level social media influencer portrayal.

Put yourself out there, or come hang out with us for a few days and we’ll do our best to show you the ropes…this is the perfect time to do it. Before the snow flies and skis and snowmobiles come out along with the water fowling waders, layout blinds and we enter the season where chipping ice out of our guides has every angler thinking to themselves how they can solve this age-old dilemma.

Miracle Mile fishing report is good with leech, worm, baetis, caddis, scud nymph rigs. It is busy with hunting camps so be aware. Fremont Canyon fishing report is very good dry fly with tricos, pseudos and caddis. Swing crawdads and soft hackles in the unoccupied tweener water. Grey Reef is rocking and rolling from top to bottom, the upper is quiet and the dry fly is excellent. Streamer activity is ramping up and short light emerger rigs are the way to go if you like the numbers game.

The Reef Fly Shop is open daily and we still have guides, cottages and RV sites available. Stop in for some good sales or check out the newly restocked space.

 

Variety is the Spice of Life


Early September in Wyoming and fishing couldn’t really be any better. Clear, cool water coupled with more hatches than necessary and it is pretty hard for things not to be good. Early AM Tricos, midday pseudos and hoppers, craneflies, caddis and midges all keep the trout with an eye to the sky. We are expecting warm and dry weather conditions this week supporting our position that summer ain’t over yet! We love the 40+ degree daily temperature swings with mid 40s in the evening and upper 80s at the height of the sun’s arc. Shorts and flip flops all day but make sure to have a hoody when you wake up and while at the evening camp fire…and plan on going to bed with chilly feet. Upland bird hunts and dry fly fishing are where we live in our dreams and reality for the next month and half. Intermittent interruptions with trophy trout hunting with streamers, big game hunts and early season waterfowl confuse our sense of focus at times. Central Wyoming is a dream. Not going to lie, we are ready for the tourist traffic to settle down on the highways and get back to the kind of traffic where folks return your steering wheel wave.

The Reef Fly Shop has some availability for guided fishing and cottage stays over the next few days but then gets pretty tight until about the 10th of October when the regional pace will downshift to 2nd gear. Shadows will become longer, leaves start to turn, migratory waterfowl will buzz your hat on their way up the river and the fishing will mature as it does every fall. You either need to book several (uhhmmmm many) days of guided fishing to be able to take advantage of all the opportunities or settle on a discipline or two and resign yourself to walking away from some. Our recommendation is to plan a mid October to mid November to visit to the area. Blast right through Casper and get to Alcova, post up in a cottage and step into your waders. Swingers, aka trout spey guys will have Miracle Mile giving up the goods, small stream enthusiasts will fall in love with Fremont Canyon ( the Grey Reef Reduction) and those who love head hunting or targeting our resident behemoths will want to focus on Grey Reef. 100 miles of highly productive trout water and our locations on Grey Reef Road are the epicenter. Apres at The Reef Fly Shop with cheap afternoon guide-beer selections and swing over to the Sunset for a burger or call up Sloane’s General Store and order up a pizza to go. Our “cheap trip” rates begin November 15 and include discounted guided fly fishing trips, cottage rentals and super-reasonable cottage/fishing packages. Fishing is no less productive but the weather may or may not be ideal for those who require fair weather recreation. Expect some good apparel sales at the shop as well…starting now.

North Platte Lodge is in a bit of a predicament with availability through late October. We’ve got one spot mid October and as well as one late October spot. Early November still has a good option for a water fowl-fishing combination trip before we go into construction mode. So gather up your crew and be prepared to be blown away by the food and fishing. Per usual, we’ve got our winter hit-list of things we want to do to make the joint even better. Be the first crew to see the new digs next spring. April has great lodge availability but we are intent to get back to a busy April lodge schedule for 2022. Why? April is the highest volume fishing each and every year, bar none. The fishing conditions at that time of year are the very best for those who may not spend tons of time with a fly rod in their hands. Recreational anglers, corporate groups and fish counters – spring is for you. Those who thrive in tech nymphing, sight nymphing and lightweight emerger rigs…well, spring is also for you. Our new Regular Season rate schedule will provide for even more affordable stays outside of our Peak Season, June through September. Corporate rates will be even more attractive as well.

Blue Grouse, waterfowl,  sporting clays and pheasant and chukar preserve hunts. We’ve heard the stories and we only hunt wild birds on our wild bird hunts. Sage Grouse hunts sell out fast and we are only offering Sage Grouse hunts in a max of 2 days of hunting (you can stay and fish or hunt big game or other birds as long as you like) as a North Platte Lodge package. All other species are available as day hunts or cast and blast. Early Season waterfowl and preserve hunts are excellent packaged with fishing in the same day. Central Wyoming duck and goose hunting is available through the later part of January. The ultimate cool-season event…book a cottage and put on a pot of chili. Head out with the guides for a day of decoying waterfowl and winter fly fishing and get back in time to watch the game.

Just because Grey Reef and Miracle Mile fly fishing trips are more affordable doesn’t mean they are the lesser option. Pssst, we don’t go into summertime hoot owl (many Rocky Mountain fisheries have been shut down or limited in recent years due to too hot and low to practice catch and release fishing) mode because our river conditions are frankly better and more consistent than the destinations you read about in the magazines. We generally have more and bigger trout. We generally have far fewer river users. We have more private access, easier to get to, better locations on the river and there are very few operations that provide the range of services that we do at North Platte Lodge and The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages & RV. Give us a shout, we can help you unpack your preconceived notions and get ready for your next fly fishing chapter.

 

 

It’s Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood


July was a whirlwind and August has entered taking no prisoners. Our summer season has been defined with solid hatches, consistent monsoon moisture and really, really good times. Sallies have mostly departed, PMDs, Tricos and caddis are living large and we are still twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the hoppers to get here en masse.  Central Wyoming has been blessed with plenty of cool water running down the lower North Platte River System so no hoot owl restrictions or dangers from warm temps.

Grey Reef was just reduced to 2000cfs from 3000cfs so this with supercharge Trico activity. Tricos are ultra consistent and a pretty technical hatch ( rather spinner fall)  to target, Trout put themselves in  precarious situations because they can’t resisted the conveyor of spent bugs. Tricos are a wade anglers object, typically amplified in shallow, nervous riffles, they are accessible on foot. We are getting hopper eats but they haven’t kicked into high gear. Nymphing, however, has been pretty ridiculous.

The Reef Fly Shop and North Platte Lodge guide crew have been cranking and things aren’t looking to settle down until mid October at this rate. North Platte Lodge is booked, like zero openings,  until Sept 25-28 where we just opened up a 4 angler option for 3 days of fishing. We are also booked for sage grouse. We do have a 1 or 2 angler option Oct 6-10 and then we go to Oct 14 before we gat a bit more consistent lodge availability. Awesome fishing and great bird hunting options for the October through mid November range. Cottage availably is still pretty good for September and October but Aug only has scattered options.

Upland bird hunting, waterfowl, sporting clays and cast and blast are centered in our targets for October through January. A cool experience that keeps you active through the time of the season you need it most!

Let’s talk about the 2022 lodge roster and get you written in asap. Things are already pretty excited but we do have lodge packages available during the highest volume fishing of the year in April and May. We are going to adjust rates seasonally so April and May will consequently have lower rates due to unjustified lagging popularity of spring fishing. The truth is that April and May are the best choice for folks who prefer really high volume fishing, wade fishing, and it is easier for those who may not be as adept or experienced with a fly rod. Spring weather isn’t the most predictable but the fishing is very predictable. This isn’t shoulder season where you get reduced rates because the fishing is so-so…the Grey Reef Spring Fishing is as good and better as fishing anywhere, anytime.

If the internet static is confusing your decision just give us a shout. We can help you navigate through all the website smoke and mirrors you will encounter when searching or Grey Reef and Miracle Mile fishing. We’re happy to explore if we are a good fit for you and your crew.

 

 

Welcome to Grey Reef – Home of the North Platte Lodge and The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages & RV


 

Central Wyoming fly fishing doesn’t get much better than it is right now at Grey Reef. Water conditions are low and clear on all 80 plus miles of the Grey Reef system and fishing exceptionally well – especially for those fishing light BWO emerger rigs. Worms , eggs and big tippet aren’t hitting the mark. Miracle Mile is at 2600cfs and clear. Fishing is good but the angling traffic leaves little to be desired. Lots of folks out there camped on the redds. It is a bit disappointing to see the sporting needle trending down, however, the fish are eating bugs, worms and leeches in the feeding lanes and some walleye are staying in the mix. So that is cool! The low, clear and super buggy conditions will likely persist through the first week of June. Let’s cross fingers for a bump in flows in anticipation of PMDs and Yellow Sallies. Already seeing a few caddis and fish are starting to look up for BWOs. Come strapped with your light nymph rig and a dry fly rod. The streamer program has produced some high quality browns this week. Nothing tipping our trophy class status at 25″ but many within an inch or two.

The Reef Fly Shop is where it is at for apres fish. We have beer specials and a great porch to wind down and jaw about the day. Wise to get prepared for tomorrow – tonight, no? Refresh your bug supply, reinforce your approach with the knowledgeable shop staff and soak in the views surrounding Grey Reef Road.  Even better when you are staying at a cottage or camping in your RV a stone’s throw from the shop and water. Call the shop for reservations  307.232.9128

North Platte Lodge has a great upcoming dates available the eves of May 26-29, June  17 – 20 and Aug 1-3. Fish with The Original and get the advantage of location, access,  and experience – 3 undisputed benchmarks.

Q “Why don’t you fish pegged bead rigs?”

A “Because we don’t have to”

 

 

2021 – The Year of the BuffTrout


Pic: Dan with a full-faced rainbow from his guided trip last week

Welcome to Grey Reef and 2021! We are so proud that our guests continue to put their trust in us and so proud they lifted us through 2020. It was a team effort and so many of you returned for multiple visits throughout the season. We made sure to thank you by providing a discount on “your next trip” of the season. We are continuing the program for 2021 so not only do you get to enjoy the best lodging location,  by far the most private Grey Reef access, most experienced guide staff , more lodging options but you get a solid discount on the second and each subsequent visits in 2021. Book early so you have enough time to squeeze in at least one more fishing trip.

At North Platte Lodge we take care of the details while you enjoy yourself. We provide transportation, comfortable accommodations, great meals and awesome fishing while you engage in the business of camaraderie and memories.

The great thing about Alcova, WY is that it is easy to get here, close to services yet a long way from population. Wyoming is the least populous state in the union and we like our breathing room. The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages and RV and North Platte Lodge are the only private properties on Grey Reef Rd. Grey Reef Rd is the access to the epicenter of the legendary Grey Reef and is also a dead end road. No through traffic and there is no reason to pass this way unless you are coming to fish. Yep, we pinch ourselves all the time.

Spring fishing is about gluttony and it is the highest volume fishing of the season. As we move into summer the fishing remains excellent and adds some diversity of technique with many hatches and culminating in the hoppers and tricos traditionally starting in mid July. Capitalize on the dry fly opportunities all the way through our Sage Grouse wing shooting season and early part of our big game hunting program. Early season waterfowl often ushers in the start of our trophy trout streamer trips and that’ll get us through the end of the year. 2020 provided lots of our guests a great cast and blast option with blue grouse and some fun afternoon pheasant hunts at our neighbor’s preserve. There is never a risk and we don’t have a “best time to be here”. Much of experience is directly related to your ability to go with what Mother Nature provides…and she always does. Let’s narrow down your hit list of trip requirements and build the perfect Wyoming vacation. You will generally have to accept the probability of sacrificing one of your lower requirement to accomplish your top goal. For example, catching a 25″ brown is your main priority and having perfect weather is your second priority. Chances are you might need to allow leeway on the weather part to make sure you are here for the best timing for foraging trophy browns.

Swing by The Reef Fly Shop for a handful of bugs, a six pack of local craft beer, some world famous Bufftrout hats, an RV site or to check into your cottage. Meet your guides and pick up last minute necessities before you check in at North Platte Lodge, a mile further down Grey Reef Rd. Our staff will take great care of you.

Wyoming Fly Fishing Report: Grey Reef fishing is solid…ha! The fish are eating well but there is also ice starting a few miles down the river. The ice will halt your progress from Grey Reef to Lusby if you float. Plan on wade fishing and that is a good thing. Lots of great water available that is fishing really well with very little traffic. We do have private ramps that allow floating so if you opt to take advantage of our shoulder season fishing and/or lodging packages you will have that option. Check www.northplatteflyfishing.com for details on reduced rate trips. You won’t sacrifice on high quality fishing or very limited angling pressure but you might have to bundle up a bit. Miracle Mile is fishing good, however the roads have been an issue with drifting. This week is on a warming trend so that might lead to improved access but also might tip the scale to muddy roads. Give the shop a call before heading that way. Leeches, scuds and midges have been the name of the game and there won’t be much of a deviation until early April when the baetis ( blue winged olives) start kicking around.

Give us a shout at 307.232.9128 to explore a North Platte Lodge fishing vacation!

Snow Pack, Face Shots and Best Fishing in the West


Wyoming’s outdoor recreation opportunities are interconnected and Central Wyoming  via Grey Reef is the rock star. The North Platte River drainage is currently 100% for snowpack totals meaning we are on an upward trajectory to another memorable season…our 21st season and 20th year! Winter is absolutely necessary for our warm weather success and we choose to celebrate that. The Casper, Wyoming region rewards us with awesome nordic skiing and biathlon venues, alpine ski area with some side county for skinners, elk season just closed as did upland birds and ducks (our guides have been busy hunting and guiding), snowshoeing, snowmobiling, fat biking on groomed snow, road and gravel biking and of course Grey Reef’s innate ability to produce EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. We don’t have a season and if the sun rises it is game on.

What are you waiting for? You’ve heard about Grey Reef and Miracle Mile and the size and quantity of our trout population. What’s holding you back? Do the inexpensive rates make you think it is a substandard experience? Quite the contrary, but we are a destination fishery meaning we don’t have an influx of general tourism in Alcova, Wyoming. That keeps the humanity and rates at a very manageable level and the fishing quality second to none.

Need to escape the Metro Area for a day or two? The Reef Fly Shop has the best early season gig in the business with unmatched location, staggering amount of private access and top-tier lodging. 2 nights in a cottage and 1 day of guided fishing on Grey Reef for $600! Until March 15 where we return to regular season rates. Does the fishing quality parallel the price…NOPE! The fishing is excellent. Please excuse the mess at The Reef Fly Shop… we are turning it out this year with added retail space and product, increased outdoor “hangout” space, way better flow and an updated feel. Grab a sixer and crack one on the porch. See you soon!

Long Shadows, Warm Days and Clear Water


We are in week 2 of a really nice Fall weather spell. Fishing has been very good at all venues… Grey Reef fly fishing in clear water and the nothing and dry fly still dominate the scene. Baetis, caddis, midges, cranefly doing diligence. Streamers are coming on but not in full clobber mode quite yet. Miracle Mile fly fishing is really a nymphing gig with a little streamer activity. Miracle Mile will be best served with worms and leeches with a foam wing or similar dropper. Fremont Canyon has been persnickety for some. A little pea-green and midge stuff dictates being in the right layer of the column.

This is a great time to booked a guided trip and focus on wade fishing. With little river traffic you can have the river largely for yourself and get the fullest out of our private access. Boat rentals on these calm days make the experience relaxing. The slower currents will encourage a shorter float to maximize the fishing. We love this time of year for the dramatic scenery, awesome weather and, of course, really good fishing.

If you are in Casper, WY for business bring your waders and a rod! There is a bunch of very wadeable public access right through town and it fishes great. Downtown, The Ugly Bug Fly Shop is a cool stop regardless of your motive but is a good place to buy a few little drys to pick on the pods of risers near the soccer fields or throw streamers through the whitewater park or go nymph the troughs at Morad Park. We have an awesome urban fishery that sees very little traffic.

In the last 10 years Central Wyoming’s visitor profile has changed quite a bit…and for good reason. Our guests are transitioning to represent those who are coming for no other reason other than to visit and experience a pile of cool outdoor activities. Fishing, hunting, mountain biking, skiing, boating, camping, hiking…you name it. The business traveler is also realizing that a mandatory trip to Casper has become a good thing. The downtown scene is really coming on strong and there are always fun events to attend.

Hoppers, Tricos, Caddis


Grey Reef flows have been dropped to 2200cfs and the water conditions are excellent, both clarity and temps. The dry fly game is STRONG. The evening streamer approach is very good and nymphing throughout the day will likely produce more fish than any other technique. What will you do? Bring a stack of rods and all of your fly boxes, that’s what! We can get really caught up in the grasshopper fishing and a drift boat presentation…and it is amazing. But that doesn’t exclude the great wading opportunities. AM trico spinner fall will be the desire of pods of slithering trout, gulping mouthfuls off of the surface, through mid October. Even caddis will follow the same pattern as trout post up in the same feeding lanes as they would for the hoppers. But they will also sneak into tight riffles and are suckers for an elk hair pattern with a hare’s ear dropper..even if you don’t see rises they will oblige. A short and relatively heavy nymph rig will get their attention off of the drops and in seams. If the water looks too heavy add a touch of weight and watch the indicator rocket down. Miracle Mile is good but isn’t holding a candle to the Reef and you will likely be nymphing worms, caddis and leeches with success. Fremont is clicking, but again, Grey Reef would be silly to avoid.
NPL big game guide crew is ramping up for elk, deer and antelope seasons. Think long and hard about an antelope hunt with us next year. Not only do we have high quality animals and gobs of excellent public and private terrain but we offer lodging and meals rarely available in the hunting outfitting world. Not only that, if you fill a tag early we have bird hunting and fishing to make the whole experience unique with no lag. You don’t have to calculate the “loss” of guided days when deciding to harvest a trophy animal early in your trip.
Sage Grouse season is coming on the 15th of September and closes Sept 30th, early season waterfowl opens Sept 29th and continues for 2 weeks. Both of these hunts make excellent cast and blasts.
Trophy Trout streamer action will peak in late October and blossom through the first couple weeks of November. If your angler progression dictates the trophy…that is the time and we have the access and experience.
This is a special year with the hoppers and our dry fly fishing has become so good over the past decade that folks now identify Grey Reef as a dry fly fishery and rightfully so.