Hard to believe we are already nine days into the month of August! It’s been a busy summer for us and will continue to be for the coming months. Thank you to everyone who has joined us this year…it’s been a good one thus far. So, here’s a little fishing/water conditions report for everyone. Flows on Grey Reef have dropped to 2,600cfs, clarity is excellent and water temps on the upper are 60.5 degrees as of this afternoon. Miracle Mile is still sitting at a low and slow 540cfs, clarity is marginal and water temps are probably leaning on being a little too warm (we have not had any guides on the Mile for several weeks to report an exact temperature). Fremont Canyon is currently flowing at 400cfs, clarity is marginal there as well and the water temperatures are around 60 degrees.
So as for the fishing, our guides have been spending their time on Grey Reef. We are continuing to see consistent trico numbers in the morning and we are definitely finding some fish up on the surface. After that subsides our Grey Reef guides have been switching over to a nymph rig. Foam wing RS2, pheasant tail, birds nest, poxyback…these are a few of our top nymphs right now. So what about hoppers? We are getting some fish to eat the hopper, for sure. The number of fish eating really seems to depend on the day and the float. Otherwise, if you are willing to strike out early or stay on late, streamers are in play as well. Top streamer right now, the trusty rusty t, of course.
The fly fishing trout outfitting industry is interesting. In many cases, the competing outfitters are sharing a public river and targeting the same animals – over and over. This isn’t akin to hunting where the venue is much larger and not linear in flow, the season is shorter and your target is generally removed from the population or physically unaffected. Rivers are essentially narrow one-way water conveyors so you are oftentimes in traffic much like a traditional road. And yes, you deal with both consciences and asshole drivers. On top of that we are all trying to fool a finite quantity of trout that we handle and return until the next handling. We can all see how the fish was treated previously. There are different schools of thought, really it is a combination of experience, mentalities and self-imposed limits that forms a threshold for decency on how to accomplish whatever it is you and your guests view as success.
We are a proud relic in the industry and this is why we do not ideologically mesh well with our contemporaries. This is also why we have some strong disagreement with the action/inaction of the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept and the Bureau of Land Management. We all have to contend with the results of each other’s actions. Obtuse mistreatment of the trout, the river and surrounding lands are reflected the following day, week, month, year and decade. These consequences are always predictable and should always be avoided. It is disconcerting when those we view as professional, educated or holding the best interest of the industry are actually leaning on that misaligned conception to celebrate the very things that cause disintegration of the condition of the experience and the existence and condition of the river and the trout.
Are we perfect and without fault? Of course not! We have the most stringent self imposed limits of anybody in the industry but think a revamp of the regulations would be a great way to make us even more accountable. Grey Reef to Government Bridge could really benefit from a max of 2 hooks per rig, barbless and no snagging/pegging. Let’s start there!
Another cold front brought more snow and bitter temperatures to Central Wyoming. Fortunately for us, temperatures will start climbing, starting tomorrow. We have definitely shifted into a wet pattern it seems like, which from a snowpack standpoint is a great thing. We will take it, especially in the upper drainage (Walden CO, Encampment WY, Saratoga WY).
Let’s start with a little Grey Reef FLUSH update. Still nothing firm but our resources tell us the Bureau of Reclamation will be performing a gate check at the end of March. That indicates the flush will follow after the gate check is complete. So, if it is to happen, we’d plan on something around the beginning of April and it should be somewhere between 5-10 days in length. As always, if we hear anything we will let everyone know.
As for the fishing, we have started to put a few more boats on the water in the past weeks. Conditions have been good, other than a brief warm-up last week that had the river blown-out at various locations starting upstream of Government Bridge. Obviously this most recent cold front has help with the run-off but locked the lower river back up with ice. As always the upper river from Grey Reef dam to Ledge Creek is clear and fishing well. Nymphs and streamers continue to be the name of the game. For our nymph rigs it’s been a mix of the following…pine squirrel leeches(brown or natural), reef worms, deep purples, mini san juans(red or purple), PALs, rhinestones and/or mayhems. Our rigs have been running between 4-7ft with 1-3 BB split shot. If your looking to strip a streamer, the petunia as been our go-to pattern as of late. With the low winter flows plan on fishing your streamer pattern on a floating, intermediate or very short/light sink-tip. There is no need for a really stout sink-tip or sinking line this time of year.
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.
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.
Central Wyoming fly fishing is still impressive. The guides report excellent fishing at Miracle Mile, Fremont Canyon and Grey Reef. Grey Reef numbers can’t be beat and the average size is reminiscent of 15 years ago. Miracle Mile fly fishing report is also very good with not the numbers but the size has been really impressive…although the trophy class fish will be most often found in the upper 8 miles of Grey Reef. Fremont Canyon is also producing and the dry fly has been solid.
Grey Reef Fishing Report: Flows are down to 1300cfs this AM water is clear and temps are cool until you get into Casper. Expect a drop and we may be down to 500cfs winter flows before we know it. Excellent nymphing with caddis and midge options. Leeches and scuds also productive. Grey Reef streamer fishing has really picked up steam and you should have a streamer rod rigged and ready. Grey Reef dry fly fishing is great with pods slurping trico spinners in the AM and really good caddis in the PM.
Miracle Mile fly fishing report: Flows are at 1000cfs and clear and cool. Nymphing with small bug/caddis rigs the most productive. Miracle Mile streamer fishing has been pretty good as well.
Fremont Canyon fly fishing report: flows are 75cfs and very clear and cool. Dry/dropper rigs in the rock gardens and streamers throughout. For numbers stick with a light nymph rig and caddis emergers and midges.
We had a pretty exciting day on Sunday. The lodge was very close to being consumed by a human caused grass fire. The Alcova community and NaCo and BLM fire crews as well as the sheriff’s dept saved the facility likely. Pretty cool when tractors, road graders, water tanks just kind of pop out of the hills with neighbors who are a tenacious bunch. Big thanks to all who lent a hand!!
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.
Fly fishing Central Wyoming will be comfortable and productive for the remainder of the week. The Grey Reef section of the North Platte River will be flirting with 50*f high temps! Miracle Mile will be a couple degrees cooler. Roads to Miracle Mile are fine and upper Grey Reef is floatable. The boys have had some very productive streamer fishing this week and the nymphing is even better. Keeping the streamer low and level and the nymph just slightly suspended.
Spring angling on Grey Reef is an experience that should be on every anglers bucket list. The trout are feeding with enthusiasm that won’t be duplicated for the remainder of the year. March and April are excellent. We do have the pleasure of a longer spring flushing flow on Grey Reef now. Expect a 10 day flush. Also expect the opportunity to catch fish in places that aren’t available the rest of the year. Who knew Alcova, Wyoming could be a fly fishing destination like it has grown to be?
We have a few pieces of exciting news to share but will tease until we get the go-ahead. Stay tuned!
The Grey Reef crew worked them yesterday. North Platte River was warm and bluebird with a little wind but the fishing was very good. No new news on the bugs of choice EXCEPT you should check out a few of our patterns newly released for sale in the shop. The Mayhem Midge comes to mind. These new patterns combine elements of simplicity, durability and the things that we love about FLY FISHING. So much fun to learn about the nature and behavior of trout and go outside the box. Fish pushing into unusual areas and continually suspending very high in the water column to take advantage of the hatch. We like flies that will preform from the bottom to the film and everything in between.
It appears the Wyoming Fishing Regulations may have been amended to make enforcement of pinned bead/snagging rigs much easier. We will see how this plays out?
North Platte Lodge has a few very nice April availabilities. April is arguably the most desirable month on Grey Reef and Miracle Mile. Call for dates and package prices.
Yesterday was quiet on Grey Reef despite very nice conditions. Today is touch windy over the Alcova region. We will have guides on the water today and will post their findings as they report.