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.

 

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!

Why North Platte Lodge in 2020?


This is why^

Current Fishing report for Miracle Mile and Grey Reef is very good and the outlook is excellent. Clarity and temps are great at both venues. Grey Reef flows remain at 3600cfs and Miracle Mile flows are 2400cfs. Expect solid PMD, caddis and Yellow Sallie hatches at both tailwaters while Miracle Mile is enjoying excellent Golden Stone Fly activity and that should continue for the next couple weeks!

Fishing: What to expect for the remainder of 2020? Hoppers and Tricos in the near future! Central Wyoming is littered with grasshoppers and it’ll make for some of the funnest fishing you’ve ever experienced. Mid July through mid September is the range. Tricos are our daily and ultra consistent dry fly opportunity from mid July through mid October. Psuedo and crane fly fishing will ramp up mid September then the baetis will take over from there and stealing some glory from the daily caddis activity that covers the rest of the season. Streamer activity will be solid throughout with it really picking up mid October through mid November. Nymphing wont slow down and resident invertebrates keep our trout fat all year long.

Hunting: We start our big game hunting program in August with archery antelope and continue through November adding elk and deer to the schedule. Sage Grouse opens the 3rd week of September and is always a popular cast and blast option. Don’t miss this! Early season waterfowl starts late September and is another excellent cast and blast option.

Access, Experience and Location This is why you choose North Platte Lodge and The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages & RV.  We are the only private properties at Grey Reef, nothing can touch our location. Experience, simply put the most experienced crew on the lower North Platte River…bar none. We are the first permitted Grey Reef guiding operation, first lodge and shop on the river, since 1998 anglers have trusted us to provide an unparalleled angling experience. We employ sporting techniques and set the bar with regard to rejecting non sporting angling approaches. Our guides won’t take you down that rabbit hole because their experience and knowledge of the river means they don’t have to.

Accommodations and new lodging programs: North Platte Lodge Overlooking upper Grey Reef, the lodge welcomes up to 12 anglers in 6 rooms. Book as a single angler up to corporate and group options consuming the entire facility. A traditional lodge package includes all meals and guided fishing or hunting. The ultimate in convenience and seclusion with great meals and incredible views. The boat main ramp is one minute away. 2020 B&B Option due to the odd circumstances of 2020 we have some lodge vacancies and have begun to offer a bed and breakfast option. Book the entire lodge for your party of up to 12 guests with minimum stay of 3 eves. Breakfast is provided. Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed off site or you can add that service as an a la carte option. You may also add guided fishing trips as an a la carte option. Wyoming has become very popular during the covid era due to our seclusion, fresh air, and economical yet high quality and authentic experiences. Cottages and RV sites We have 4 great vacation rentals at The Reef Fly Shop that have full kitchens and grills and house up to 4 guests each. They are always a popular choice for our guided fishing guests, unguided anglers and those wanting to explore the Alcova area’s historic, and cultural sites and our local water recreation lakes (Alcova and Pathfinder Reservoirs) a stone’s throw away. The RV sites are basic and feature 20/30/50 amp service with sewer and fresh water available and the best bathhouse in the biz.

The Reef Fly Shop  307.232.9128 This is where you go for the most up to date advice, grab some bugs and a Bufftrout cap, book a 2 hour primer trip (intro to Grey Reef) or a half or full day guided fishing trip, rent a drift boat or grab a six pack or 2. Top shelf gear at Grey Reef and one minute to the main boat ramp…

Let’s be diligent and have a great time in 2020.

 

 

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

 

 

Fly Fishing 411


Apologies for our lack of fishing reports as of late.  As most of you probably assumed, it’s been pretty darn busy.  Well, here we are at more or less the mid-point of the 2019 season.  Water conditions are great, finally, and we are staring down the barrel of some more excellent summer fly fishing on the North Platte River.

With reservoirs just about topped off and flows holding steady (Grey Reef-3,000cfs, Miracle Mile-4,000cfs, Fremont Canyon-800cfs), fishing should only get better…and with higher, steady flows-it’s getting buggy.  Lots of caddis and pmds…with yellow sallies just around the corner.  Golden stones are still happening on the Miracle Mile but the peak of the hatch has passed.  The other thing we are starting to see A LOT of are hoppers, that’s right…lots and lots of hoppers.  Now, we can’t promise hopper madness like 2011-12 but we are already starting to see some fish look up.  If that’s not enough for you the lower river is prime for streamer fishing.  Banks are inundated and its that ideal “streamer green” color.

If you have fishing on the brain, now would be a great time to give us a call.  Oh, one last thing…STREAMER TOURNAMENT October 24-27.  Call for details.  It’s going to be a grand old time!

Fishing is fun!


What is fishing to you? Is it the thrill of catching the fish you are seeking? Is it the suspense of the tug on your line? Is it just being out on the banks of your water, taking it all in while you wet a fly? All of these are what keeps each angler going. Have you ever noticed that your memories made while fishing somehow stick with you? Almost etched into our brain, calling for us to return to experience more. Recently I was able to fish with a guest who truly reminded me of what fishing is to me.

Wanting nothing more than to throw big streamers, Mr. Thomas was beaming when he was introduced. Not knowing what to expect or even what the river looked like, he was like a kid walking into a candy store. In a big southern drawl he explained his love of casting a streamer for the perhaps one opportunity of a fish. This was the start to our two day trip together.
Utilizing one of our private access points on the river, staying in front of most boat traffic in mind, we pushed off. Throwing a 5” long custom black fly of his own, Mr. Thomas began casting away. Only slowing down every so often to complete one of his stories. The endless conversations between us and past experiences spent on waters we shared, made time fly by. A couple grabs on his fly during these conversations altered the tone of our voices. Excitement and frustration both. This from not hooking whatever made the attempt to eat the meal he presented. As time passed and the further we made it downstream, the more I realized that what we were doing was pretty special. The banks were alive with spring sounds. Only to muffle with our laughter. Switching patterns a few times, we were able to put a couple great fish in the net. Rainbow trout that had some big appetites and attitude problems. As Mr. Thomas kept reminding me, “this is why we do it”. As the day drew to an end, and the boat ramp neared, he sat still in conversation. Not casting. Almost like he was taking in every sight he could see before his first day on the the water ended. All while expressing his excitement for the next day to come.

The next day it was much of the same. The only thing that was different was the backdrop. The Miracle Mile never ceases to amaze me. For Mr. Thomas it was a site he exclaimed he “will never forget”.  The weather wasn’t on our side but we made the most of it by bringing a couple fish to the boat. Once again, on a big custom fly of his own.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, there truly are so many different aspects to fishing. So many sites, sounds, and experiences to have. These are what keep us going. What drives us back to the water. And in the end, fuels our passion for fly fishing. Give us a call and book your stay. Let us help you fuel your passion.

North Platte River Flush and Snow Pack Update


2019 SPRING FLUSH:

The flush has been tentatively slated for March 18-24. As opposed to years past(10-day flush), this years flush will be seven days.  Also with the bridge construction below Alcova, flush hours will take place during the night hours and flows will be back to 500cfs by 6:00am. If there are any changes to this, we will continue to update.

A much anticipated spring is on the horizon and it cant get here fast enough. With that, the upper North Platte drainage is sitting pretty good on snow pack. Currently at 112%.  This is great as we will hopefully get a much needed fill of our reservoirs and keep a good flow in the river.  This makes for happy fish and happier fishermen!  http://www.wrds.uwyo.edu/wrds/nrcs/snowprec/snowprec.html 

We have started to get a bunch of our new inventory in and we couldn’t be more excited! New apparel and gear in both the lodge and The Reef Fly Shop. Give us a follow on our Facebook and Instagram accounts to get a quick preview! Make sure you stop in to check it out!  

Wyoming’s Grey Reef and Miracle Mile Fly Fishing Report


Grey Reef Fly Fishing report was cold and nasty yesterday with lots of Wyoming roads closed. We had to push a number of trips as Grey Reef anglers couldn’t get to the area. Miracle Mile fly fishing conditions are good but the roads are poor. Leave those alone for a day or three. With the winter weather all across Wyoming, the fishing was still excellent. A couple rounds of midges had fish on and very near the surface. Of course the beatis were doing their thing but midges have been very prolific and important. The Grey Reef section of the North Platte River is in great fishing condition and the sections below Government Bridge have improved dramatically…even into Casper. Casper Mountain received 20″ of snow so we should expect poor conditions below the Grey Reef section again as that snow melts. We would be very happy if the BuRec decided to push a little extra water down the North Platte River to give the fish a little more room and spread things out. This would also help IF we get some dirty water associated with the latest storm.The Fremont Canyon fishing report is great but a tad more busy.

Short/light emerger rigs with a PAL and UV Crystal Midge has been super productive. Our Rhinestone has also been a hyper performer. Lighter rods are not a bad idea as the a compliant tip help to hold the aggressive Grey Reef trout. Don’t get too flashy the fish can see everything and don’t need big obnoxious flies to be noticed. We have had some good dry fly opportunities and the streamer fishing has been hit or miss. Swinging and stripping emergers has been pretty dang fun!

We do have some Grey Reef cottage availability and guides next week. We do have a lodge spot available over Memorial Day weekend as well. We have 2 weekend lodge spots in June and then we are pretty snug until the 23rd of August. We do have a full lodge option at that point.