In the Middle of Nowhere- a Minute from Everything


 

Anglers seek great fishing, that’s no secret. We also want our trip to include an adventure component and a little exclusivity. Grey Reef is still a far lesser known angling destination despite, objectively, being a in the top tier of superior fisheries based on a bunch of features. It is tough to match Grey Reef’s healthy numbers of trout, large average size with gargantuan trophy specimens, relatively low to absurdly low angling pressure (season dependent), access, abnormally good water conditions all year long, proximity to a bunch of stellar fisheries and being able to provide a great experience to a broad range of anglers from novice to advanced and all ages. Of course, that’s what we’ve always prided ourselves on providing while not diminishing what fly fishing really is. We Grey Reef Road locals are loaded to be, not only an invaluable resource for visiting anglers that are not booking guides with us, but also providing a guided/hosted program that aligns with skilled, traditional and conscious fly angling.

Like you, we are destination anglers. We’ve tailored our operations to fill gaps that we see in many of the fisheries we visit. As anglers, we need a great place to stay, food, drink, fuel, great guides and advice and flies…a cool vibe is an added bonus.  Pretty simple, but hard to pull off since most great outdoor experiences are isolated from amenities or manufactured and lose the soul you get with rustic establishments built and operated by locals. Think the modern ski resort. Alcova, WY and Grey Reef are different. While we don’t have the engineered facilities that are planned, proposed and built in bulk we have the best kind of amenities. These amenities were here before Grey Reef became known in the fly fishing world. They’ve been here for a very long time to serve the ranching community of this special, unmolested region of Wyoming. They are loaded with character/s and the things we need. The North Platte Lodge and The Reef Fly Shop properties were just lucky enough to be the first fly fishing operations to set up shop on the lower North Platte River over 25 years ago. That’s why we have these insane locations. Grey Reef Road was once the main highway from Casper to Rawlins, Wyoming but has now been reduced to a mile and a half long, dead-end relic of the old days that accesses the Grey Reef section of the North Platte River and our two locations. North Platte Lodge was a feed ground before it was built and The Reef Fly Shop was the location of and old road house bar. It was a scary proposition to make investments and carve out a first of its kind outfitting business on an entirely unknown fishery. What is often overlooked are the local businesses that make The Reef Fly Shop and North Platte Lodge visit unique and position us in the ideal location to provide an experience only we can. We are in the middle of nowhere but a minute from everything.

The Sunset Grill: Locals call it the The Sunset and has been an Alcova fixture for many decades. Just a 3 minute walk or a sub one minute drive from your cottage at The Reef Fly Shop, Sunset burgers are legendary. Nobody who comes to fish Grey Reef should miss an experience at the Sunset. Seriously, you’ll bump into a variety of folks from local ranchers to anglers from all regions of the country to the lake folks stopping in for a burger before the 30 minute drive back home to Casper. It is a little salty and family friendly but is also a great spot to grab a cold beer, pin a doodled dollar to the wall and meet your new best friends. If the drive though doesn’t blow your mind, when they hand you a cocktail out the window will.

Sloane’s General Store: Sloane’s has been in business for a 100 years. Their location is a touch over a minute drive from The Reef Fly Shop and is a must do stop for a scoop or two of ice cream. They sell fuel, basic groceries, firewood, propane, souvenirs, beer, boating and fishing supplies etc. Sloane’s will build you a pizza that you can pick up 15 minutes after your order. They have prepared food like breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls and pizza that you can grab anytime. These are prepared fresh and onsite. They also have the original vacation rentals in Alcova and the fall-back if we are booked.

Windy Waters RV: This is a newer operation and is located across the road from Sloane’s General Store. They provide RV campsites and allow long term stays. While The Reef Fly Shop RV sites are closer to fishing (walk out in front of the shop) and Grey Reef boat ramp/fishing access, nicer views and a great vibe at the the fly shop property. Windy Waters is a solid nightly option and provides month long or longer living.

Alcova Post Office: it does post office things but you can also pick up bird hunting licenses if you forgot to get yours online. Another one-minute destination from your cottage.

Alcova School: K-8 rural school situated below Alcova Dam 4 or 5 minutes from the shop. Not sure if there is another public school anywhere who has world class angling a few skips from the playground!

North Platte Lodge:  That’s us. Owned and operated by fly fishing guides with deep and lengthy connections to the fly fishing industry. The original inclusive fly fishing lodge serving Grey Reef and Miracle Mile with great food, the best and most experienced guide crew in the business and the undisputed prime location for those targeting the Grey Reef, Fremont Canyon and Miracle Mile sections of the North Platte River. The Grey Reef boat ramp is visible from the awesome deck and your guide will have you at the boat ramp in a minute. We often trailer our boats with oars in the oar locks and straps off ready to launch as soon as you pull up. With rods already rigged you are making casts while others get their straps off of their boats. The lodge is a little over a minute drive from The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages and RV and is a nice one mile walk along the very low and slow traffic Grey Reef Road. The lodge has some of the best trout water in the world a couple minute walk from the front door. We also have upland, waterfowl and big game hunts as well as hunting/fishing packages.

The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages & RV: That’s us. Custom flies, expert (and friendly) advice, our overqualified guide crew, RV sites, drift boat rentals, vacation rentals, BuffTrout swag, cigars, beer. Apres beers on the covered patio, every evening.

That’s it, aside from a few residences and primitive camping options. Alcova has pretty wild geology (paleontology, archeology etc) so the topography hides sight of other locations in many cases…especially the North Platte Lodge, we are way off of the highway and around the bluff from the shop, the Sunset, Sloane’s etc but the only to have outfitter to have front row seats to Grey Reef the fishery. The airport is a 40 minute drive. If you need groceries, restaurants, a mechanic, hospital or any other services you’d expect in a city, Casper is only a 30 minute drive. We are the nearest outfitter to Miracle Mile at a 30 minute approach and Fremont Canyon, Alcova Reservoir, Pathfinder Reservoir at 15 minutes and the after bay section is at your ready right in front of the shop.

Grey Reef doesn’t play second fiddle to any fly fishing destination.

 

Going Up


*PURCHASE YOUR FISHING LICENSE ONLINE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE*

Sloanes General Store is no longer selling licenses and we will not be able to keep up with the demand so PLEASE get your licenses before you get here. Thank you!

 https://wgfd.wyo.gov/apply-or-buy

First things first, Grey Reef is on the rise. Flows as of this morning are 1,500cfs coming out of Grey Reef Dam. For those of your wondering, 1,500cfs is pretty sweet level for Grey Reef, from both a floating and wading standpoint. At this point we aren’t expecting another bump but really who knows, so we are going to enjoy this level while we have it.

GREY REEF: 1,500cfs. Clear from Grey Reef Dam to Lusby. Cloudy downstream due to the bump in flows. Water conditions should only improve in the next few days.

FREMONT CANYON: 72cfs. Mostly clear.

MIRACLE MILE: 2,800cfs. Clear. The Mile continues to hold steady at this flow but we are expecting flows to bump at some point.

If you are here or headed this way make sure to pack leech, midge and baetis(BWO) patterns. We should start nearing the end of baetis on Grey Reef and start making our way towards PMDs, sallies and caddis.

Lastly we hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend! Remembering all of those the made the ultimate sacrifice…

After The Storm


*PURCHASE YOUR FISHING LICENSE ONLINE*

 https://wgfd.wyo.gov/apply-or-buy

Well, that last storm was no joke! Casper Mountain got around 48″, Casper over 30″ and Alcova somewhere around 24″. It was definitely one for the books. As you would expect this is going to have an impact on the Grey Reef tailwater. Current conditions are as follows; around 8-12″ of visibility at Grey Reef Dam, 2-4″ at Lusby, and zero visibility at Government Bridge. Considering the amount of snow, warmer temps and low flows(450cfs), we are expecting Grey Reef to be in rough shape for the remainder of the week. So what about driving the Mile? Well, to be blunt it’s not happening at this moment in time. Certain areas around the Mile saw 3-4ft of snow out the big storm and its a mess out there. As always, we will keep you updated as things change!

It’s Officially Summer


Well, kind of.  This morning feels more like late spring, with highs today only reaching the 60s.  Short lived, it should start warming back up on Monday.  Let’s start with flows and conditions.  Currently Grey Reef has settled in at 3,000cfs and is fishable from Grey Reef dam to Casper, WY.  The Miracle Mile is holding at 1,500cfs and we are seeing some golden stones starting to pop.  Fremont Canyon has been bumped up to 650cfs.  With flows stabilizing on Grey Reef we should start working back into our hatch progressions.  As water temperatures start increasing (it is currently 46F at @ Grey Reef) we should start seeing PMDs, sallies and more caddis.  So if your headed this way make sure to grab some of the staples, i.e. san juan worms, pine squirrel leeches, etc.  Something big and tasty followed by a PMD nymph seemed to work well this past week.

Spring Time In Wyoming


Well folks, as we write this little report it is snowing!  Some locations more than others.  Casper is currently under about a 10″ blanket of white, while 30 miles to the southwest in Alcova, it might just be a few inches.  Currently the Grey Reef stretch of the North Platte is in good shape.  For about the past week and a half we have been fortunate to have good water conditions from Grey Reef Dam to Glenrock, Wyoming.  That’s a lot of fishable water!  Unfortunately it might be different below Casper when the snow starts melting.

Current Flows:

Miracle Mile: 1,526cfs

Fremont Canyon: 72cfs

Grey Reef: 505cfs

Nymphing is currently the name of the game.  Leeches, worms, annelids, midges and baetis patterns are top producers.  3-7ft on the rig length, with anything from a single #4 split shot to 3BB’s.  We know thats a broad range but when the bugs are popping our guides are fishing light/short and when things quiet down a longer rig is more appropriate.

Cold Snap


Well, the arctic blast has officially arrived in Central Wyoming.  Overnight lows are expected to dip down around -10 degrees with a projected windchill to -30 degrees.  Wow!  This is without question the coldest weather of the 21-2022 winter season.  With these colder temperatures, we would expect over the next couple of days for Upper Grey Reef to lock up in spots, so make sure to check-in with us if your thinking about floating.

TRFS guide Chris Scholtz was on the water yesterday with anglers, Dave and Nichols.  They floated Upper Grey Reef and from the sounds of it, the fishing was pretty spectacular.  Not really any bugs to speak of but the fish were more than happy to eat a red or purple san juan, a red or purple reef worm and/or a chocolate leech.  4-6 feet, one AB in the shallower run and two ABs in the deeper stuff.  A pretty simple but effective rig we’d say.

A Little Taste of Winter


We have had a beautiful fall to say the least.  Mild temperatures, clear skies and very little wind.  It was only matter of time before we had to start seeing some weather…well, because it’s October and we live in Wyoming.  Last weeks storm blanketed our area in a nice layer of white, with Casper seeing 14″-18″.  As I write this report, we are supposed to see another dose of snow today and tonight.  The nice thing about it, it will be sunny and 50F by tomorrow.

With the changing weather, we’ve had a mixed bag of fishing.  Foul weather days have been consistently producing some awesome streamer fishing on Grey Reef.  Standard fare…rusty trombone’s, goldie’s, and/or black peacock buggers.  The calm, high pressure days have still be giving our guides and guests plenty of opportunities at the dry fly game.  We are still seeing some tricos in the morning, with psuedos and baetis being the late morning-afternoon program.  So if your headed our way make sure you are set up for just about anything.  This is the time of year you could throw nymphs, streamers and dries-all in the same day.

Grey Reef and Miracle Mile Win Again


Central Wyoming Fly Fishing, as always, is firing on all cylinders. Expect the hatches to include PMDs, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, Midges, hoppers and the Golden Stones at Miracle Mile. Incredibly diverse and productive trout fishing. The North Platte River is in incredible condition and flows are nice with 3600cfs at Grey Reef and 2400cfs at Miracle Mile. No going to lie, the North Platte Lodge and The Reef Fly Shop guide staff would not be disappointed if flows were bumped up a grand or two. At this rate we still have great hopper banks and will maintain cool water all summer. Pat’s Rubber Legs, Soft Hackled PT, Bread Crust, Big Bear, Epoxy Back Sulfur, Foam Wing RS2 etc have all been excellent choices. 4x Fluorocarbon and a lovingly pinched barb is on-point.

What to expect in the coming warm months? Hoppers. There as so many grasshoppers right now it may be too many? The land is dry-dry and we have lots of water in the drainages…the perfect storm to get the grasshopper to the riparian zones and teed-up for crazy dry fly fishing. We are already getting some hopper eats but don’t expect it to get really keyed up until later in July. And, cross your fingers for a little wind. By mid July we should see our resident tech dry fly attraction, tricos, swarming in mini funnel clouds and splaying out on the river’s surface – the conveyor of floating trout food. Tricos will be a morning event through early to mid October and the Hoppers will get ’em through mid September. pssst! don’t forget about evening caddis on dry flies, if you aren’t too tired?

This season has been a wild ride and we are receiving last minute Lodge bookings like crazy. Yesterday we booked a vacated spot from a group whose Alaska trip became riddled with too many hoops to jump through. We saved them thousands and will deliver a high quality product with our location, private access and operating philosophy. Flights to Casper are cheap right now.

You have a smaller group and want the best fly fishing experience but also concerned about sharing space with other folks? We’ve been tailoring some great exclusive lodge packages for groups of as few as 6 anglers and securing the entire lodge. Guest each get their own room and we have many separate dining tables and bars that you have plenty of space.

We have had an inordinate  amount of returning guests in 2020. They come once and have such a great time and feel relaxed and comfortable that they have been rebooking for another 2020 visit. Because of this we are offering discounts on “Your Next Visit” in 2020. If you have a trip scheduled for later in the year but might like to get some relief from the burdens of life a little sooner? You will qualify for the discount as well.

Thanks so much for your support through the years and especially this year!

 

Spring Fly Fishing, Barbless Pledge and the Flushing Flows


Wyoming is sparsely populated with people but densely populated with trout. The fly fishing at Miracle Mile, Fremont Canyon and Grey Reef is firing on all cylinders. Slowly retrieved streamers are getting some love but the most effective rigs have been a scud/midge nymph rig with pretty light tippet and keeping the midge up in the water column a little bit. The Reef Fly Shop has a great selection of custom foam winged (buoyant) patterns to accomplish this approach. Worms and leeches are also good lead patterns. Miracle Mile has a pretty strong preference for red San Juan Worms or Bead Head Mohair Leeches, Fremont Canyon likes light tippet and a rig with 2 midges. Focusing on soft edges and tailouts is a really good idea but don’t discount shelves and riffles in heavier parts of the daily midge hatch.

Give us a shout if you are shopping for an awesome domestic fly fishing package for 2020. We are easy to fly and drive to and can compete with any destination in the world when it comes to the experience and high quality fishing. We have a great corporate and group option (including reduced rates and airport transportation) as well. We have Grey Reef’s most experienced guide staff, best location and unmatched private access since 1998.

The Flushing Flows are scheduled to begin March 28 and continue for 10 days. Many factors can alter the schedule so expect some changes. Grey Reef Reservoir will be down to the river channel on March 24th.

We pledged to fish barbless over 20 years ago and hope you’ll join us. It is really simple to pinch your barbs and it is the right thing to do for our trout population and catch-and-release fly fishing. Recently we’ve witnessed an uptick of social media accounts almost glorify pictures of trout that are missing parts of their face. This is caused by irresponsible angling. There are many things we can do to reduce the instances of disfigured trout but pinching barbs is the first step. Let’s not make the fish suffer for our lack of ability. Preserve trout faces at Grey Reef and fisheries everywhere by pledging to pinch your and your fishing customers’ barbs.

This brown was proud to swim away with all lips

 

 

Spring Fly Fishing, Barbless Pledge and the Flushing Flows


Wyoming is sparsely populated with people but densely populated with trout. The fly fishing at Miracle Mile, Fremont Canyon and Grey Reef is firing on all cylinders. Slowly retrieved streamers are getting some love but the most effective rigs have been a scud/midge nymph rig with pretty light tippet and keeping the midge up in the water column a little bit. The Reef Fly Shop has a great selection of custom foam winged (buoyant) patterns to accomplish this approach. Worms and leeches are also good lead patterns. Miracle Mile has a pretty strong preference for red San Juan Worms or Bead Head Mohair Leeches, Fremont Canyon likes light tippet and a rig with 2 midges. Focusing on soft edges and tailouts is a really good idea but don’t discount shelves and riffles in heavier parts of the daily midge hatch.

Give us a shout if you are shopping for an awesome domestic fly fishing package for 2020. We are easy to fly and drive to and can compete with any destination in the world when it comes to the experience and high quality fishing. We have a great corporate and group option (including reduced rates and airport transportation) as well. We have Grey Reef’s most experienced guide staff, best location and unmatched private access since 1998.

The Flushing Flows are scheduled to begin March 28 and continue for 10 days. Many factors can alter the schedule so expect some changes. Grey Reef Reservoir will be down to the river channel on March 24th.

We pledged to fish barbless over 20 years ago and hope you’ll join us. It is really simple to pinch your barbs and it is the right thing to do for our trout population and catch-and-release fly fishing. Recently we’ve witnessed an uptick of social media accounts almost glorify pictures of trout that are missing parts of their face. This is caused by irresponsible angling. There are many things we can do to reduce the instances of disfigured trout but pinching barbs is the first step. Let’s not make the fish suffer for our lack of ability. Preserve trout faces at Grey Reef and fisheries everywhere by pledging to pinch your and your fishing customers’ barbs.

This brown was proud to swim away with all lips