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.

 

Back On Track


Whether its La Nina or just a wet weather pattern, we’ve been getting some decent moisture the past few weeks.  A few of these storms have made a mess of the lower river (Government Bridge-downstream) but it appears now that we are on the mend.  Currently, Grey Reef is flowing at 450cfs and fishable from the Dam to Glenrock.  It is still a little off colored through Casper but we wouldn’t hesitate putting a boat on.  Fremont Canyon is plugging along at the standard 75cfs and still off-colored due to Reservoir turnover.  Miracle Mile is also at winter flows and holding between 500-500cfs.

Streamers and nymphs are the program right now.  Not to say you can’t put together a decent dry fly day on Grey Reef because baetis and pseudos are still popping on a daily basis to some degree.  Our nymph program is pretty much the same for all three North Platte tailwaters.  Pine squirrel leeches, san juan worms, pheasant tails, Macgruber’s and PALs.  As far as streamers are concerned our guide crew is a little split.  Some of them are throwing small and dark (i.e. wounded sculpin aka Seth special, peacock buggers, twin lakes special) and the rest are in the articulated camp (i.e. rusty trombones, articulated goldies, articulated ebony, mini dungeons).  For streamers we have been mainly throwing floating or intermediate lines.

Our phone at the shop is currently down.  We are hoping to have it fixed asap and apologize for any inconvenience.   

Wyoming Fly Fishing, Big Game & Bird Hunting – Cast and Blast


It has been a whirlwind several weeks of Cast and Blast, Upland Bird Hunts, Waterfowl Hunts, Elk Hunts, Deer Hunts, Antelope Hunts and our meat and potatoes Fly Fishing in Central Wyoming. We are thankful to have more on the horizon and even developing additional opportunities that are in alignment with our expertise – It is what we do. Firstly,  we’ve had very temperate weather conditions but experiencing a few days of cooler and windy. Our air quality has been good and we haven’t experienced much of the smoke that has been plaguing much of the West.

CENTRAL WYOMING FLY FISHING – Flows at Grey Reef were bumped to 2300cfs on October 1st and to 2600cfs a couple days ago. The reason is that the BuRec is lowering Alcova Reservoir for maintenance. With this comes confusion and opportunity. Grey Reef trico hatches are still clicking but with fewer available risers – don’t perceive this language as no dry fly fishing. The psuedos are still popping and baetis have been delayed. This is a good thing as it can be a bit overwhelming having, tricos, midges, psuedos/baetis, crane flies and caddis all competing for the trout’s attention – cue Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption – it can cause premature nymph-ication. The common theme with the North Platte Lodge and The Reef Fly Shop’s guide crew has been working harder and generally fewer fish hitting the net but the number of high quality fish has been impressive. Daily, we are getting pics from the guides with very large fish. You’ve been waiting for the “opportunity” piece of this conversation? Fishing is solid right now but Grey Reef flows will be dropping abruptly somewhere around the 3rd week of October and this drop in flows will displace crawdads and baitfish. Prediction is some crazy streamer and nymphing. Miracle Mile is probably nudging Grey Reef on the numbers front but the stories of big fish encounters are mostly right out in front of our properties on Grey Reef Rd. Fremont is clicking along just fine and well worth the effort.

BIRD HUNTING- Sage Grouse hunts and cast and blast packages were a big success this season. Sage Grouse will be packaged as an NPL option for 2021 and that is currently available to book. We can comfortably say that we provide the best sage grouse hunting anywhere. Our private access and guides are nothing short of excellent. Blue Grouse are providing some great hunts and that is still available to book. These are day hunts and logistically not great as a cast and blast (hunt and fish the same day) but make an awesome addition to a fishing trip or vise versa. We also have Chukar and Hungarian Partridge opportunities. Cast and Blast Pheasant Preserve – Next door to North Platte Lodge is Riverbend Roosters upland preserve and our guests have been loving the cast and blast package with pheasants, chukar and now quail. High volume fishing and hunting in such close proximity! Waterfowl hunts and cast and blast are already kicking off and have been really productive for the early season. Waterfowl hunts and cast and blast are available through Jan 20, 2020.

What to expect for the remainder of 2020? The end of October through November has been the most productive time to target trophy class trout of 25″ or more. This year it should be supercharged due to the interesting flows. Our off-season reduced rates start Nov 15 but we’ll give up a couple days to that schedule to get you here the weekend prior. Day trips and cottage rates are reduced through March 14, 2021. Waterfowl and upland hunts packaged with or without one of the best trout fisheries on the planet. NEXT TRIP DISCOUNT – Many of you have returned several times in 2020 and we can’t thank you enough. The best way we can express our  “thanks” is to knock $50 off of your day trips an 10% off of lodging and boat rentals. Still lots of time to book your next trip 2020 Grey Reef trip.

Again, thanks so much for believing in us! The original North Platte Lodge has been around for more than 2 decades and we’ve been through the dotcom and mortgage bubble popping, 911, the bottom dropping out of the 2008 economy,  H1n1, Covid and other uncomfortable episodes. We’ve realized that our niche is staying in our lane and staying the course. There is inherent beauty in solitude and separation. This has always been and will always be what we do.

Fall Feels Great!


pic: 20 year guest David Rogers with 20 year guide Seth Kapust getting it done yesterday  #pinchyourbarbs

Not sure about you but fall feels like a new beginning. Rather than clawing through to the end of the season and starting the prep for next year we are invigorated. Fishing is rocking and rolling, upland bird hunts started yesterday, we are between big game hunts, scheming a new approach for some of our facilities and adding some seasonal tidbits that may seem odd to the casual angler. We aren’t casual outdoor folks, we don’t subscribe to Chicken Little’s ideology so you might glean a little insight to how our lives function when we aren’t with guests on the river by a quick chat or even following our under-produced social media. The age of the phony influencer is dead. Mentors and roll models are in stock and in fashion. Dirty success is failure.

Fishing Report: Take your pick. Dry fly, subsurface emerger rigs, ugly nymph rigs and streamers all cued up. Trico,  psuedo, caddis and baetis dry fly sessions are the norm through mid October. Light emerger rigs go hand-in-hand with these hatches. Feeding the aggressive lot with smaller streamers on a floating line is a hoot and the down-and-dirty nymph rigs with rubber legs, scuds, leaches and caddis imitations keep the trad Grey Reef angler in the game. Grey reef temps are down and the flows are 500cfs fishing is excellent in clear water. Fremont Canyon is pea soup and actually fishing pretty good with caddis and leach rigs. Miracle Mile is low and fishing well. Standard Mile rigs of caddis and worms/leach/rubber legs will get ’em. Prediction for Oct 20-Nov: some of the most insane streamer fishing we’ve experienced since the termination of the old fall flushing flows. The abundance of bait fish and crawdads combined with a rapid decrease in Grey Reef flows… Our access, experience and location are the prerequisites for an incredible experience.

The Reef fly Shop is blowing out summer soft goods so stock up on shorts, quick dry pants. We are trying to get back up to stock on bufftrout logo hats but we do have a tolerable selection currently. Donkytrout hats are in for the Denver Bronc / fly fishing fans. Howler Bros. shirts and hats are in. We dig this brand. Simms and Pata flannels are mandatory for campfire and AM trico feeding episodes. “You know why grunge hasn’t died?” Because 50yo Gen X dads outperform their 20yo children. You couldn’t make that distinction for previous generations. What this really means is that flannel is synonymous with high performance:)

YOUR NEXT 2020 TRIP DISCOUNT this has been an eye opening year for all of us. What has become really interesting is how folks have gravitated toward what we have to offer in rural Wyoming. The shocking number of guests who’ve returned a number of times over the season is tough to wrap our heads around. We recognized this phenomenon in mid May and decided that for the sake of keeping our guide staff and hospitality staff busy we were going to try to cultivate the folks who, despite concerns and uncertainty, put their faith in us and Grey Reef. Come back for your 2nd, 3rd, 4th or more visits still this season and discount day trips by $50 and lodging at 10%. Want the full lodge experience? Call me and let’s build a custom option 307.237.1182.

Bird Hunts, Cast and Blast NPL guide Chris Scholtz rolled out opening day of Sage Grouse with two limits of birds and piles of smiles on the river. The next 2 weeks will be dogs, guns, fly rods and boats in every direction. Early Oct opens early season waterfowl and early Nov the regular season.

2021 Balls to the wall, excuse the language but this perfectly describes where our heads are at. The fly shop will be stocked months earlier than normal and already getting inquiries from folks who need to get back out there. Get your crew together and get on the books. We are always adapting and next may look a bit different at our properties. We’ll keep you in the loop as things progress.

 

Wyoming Fly Fishing with a Conscience for 22 Years


Get your crew gathered up and book the ultimate fly fishing experience at the North Platte Lodge for 2020. Our 22nd season at the original Grey Reef fly fishing lodge! Wow, where has the time gone? We accommodate 1 -12 anglers at the lodge. Are you shopping and trying to distinguish differences between operations? The main differences are our location, experience of guide staff, food, access, on site liquor sales, vacation rentals, we have a big van for airport shuttles, cigars, full service fly shop, drift boat rentals, river shuttles and we don’t fish pegged bead rigs. I guess that means we are the only fly fishing operation in Central Wyoming? We also have great guided wing shooting and big game hunting. Our corporate trip option is as good as it gets. Call 307.237.1182 and start your favorite tradition.

Grey Reef and the Big Horn River are fishing very well. Miracle Mile fishing report is good. Lets start with the Big Horn River in Themopolis, WY.  It is the Wyoming banana belt which means super nice weather, far less wind and warmer temps and big big fish. Book a Big Horn trip with us for $475/day for 2 anglers. Book 2 days or more and we’ll reduce the price to $450/day for early season. High pressure is bad for skiing and excellent to fill the winter gap on the river. Do it!

Grey Reef fishing well with midge, scud nymph rigs. Tailouts and soft edges for most of the day. active feeders will move up to the shelves during the big daily midge hatch. The upper is floatable right now but there has been some ice chokes. Nobody is fishing The Reef! What are they scared of, catching big fish without an audience? Miracle Mile trout are looking at slowly retrieved Rusty Trombones or similar and eating midges well back off of the heavy part of the runs. Roads are good and it has really been a bit too busy for the level of production. But hey, that’s The Mile.

 

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!

Bring on the bugs!


The 10 days of the Spring flush has come to an end. Fishing has been great! The river bed has been cleared of most silt and debris. The fish are now moving up to their spawning beds throughout the river. As always spawning is an exciting time of year. Being able to see hundreds of fish in their yearly routine is something many have never had the opportunity to witness. The blonde cleared away patches of pebbles checker board in the shallows with some dark shadows of fish near by. These fish are now creating the future of the river. Anglers as well as other people need to respect the fishes space by avoiding walking and fishing in these fragile places. This will help preserve our amazing fishery. Although there are many fish spawning, there are also many that are not. Some are patiently waiting their turn. A selection of fish sit and feed in preparation for spawning or once they are complete in the deep runs and soft edges. However, fish are not the only creatures going through this Spring dance.
The banks of the river are lined with all sorts of wildlife that call the North Platte river home. Nesting eagles are always a site to see. Golden and Bald eagles both call the Platte River their home for generations. Seeing these regal giants sore above, and occasionally giving us the quick photo opportunity, is truly magnificent. Along or banks also has turkeys currently strutting their stuff, along with the beautiful ducks and geese. Chicks will soon start to pop up along the river, and newly born fawns will start to show up with their mothers for a quick drink.
Oh, and did we mention our Spring bugs! They will start to swarm the water. From the Baetis popping up on the surface; to swarms of midges that seem to form small clouds that always follow the boat. The fish become very active during this time. Fish forget all about the cold, lethargic state from winter water temps, and go into somewhat of a feeding frenzy.
Being able to witness some of these events is worth a trip to the North Platte in itself. Catching world class fish while doing it, well that’s just the bonus. Give us a call and get your next opportunity booked!

Grey Reef Blowout-Eclipse Blowout


Grey Reef suffered a bit this AM due to a big rainstorm last night. The river is pretty muddy starting at Grey Reef Dam. If you move quick you can jump in below the surge but expect it catch you. Thankfully, with plenty of water it will repair itself quickly…we suspect it’ll be back on tomorrow. Fishing has been pretty awesome otherwise. The hopper/dropper thing is ramping up, streamers are getting the smack-down and nymphing is the top production specialist.

ECLIPSE! NPL had a cancelation and we now have 3 rooms still available for a 4 night lodging and meals package. CALL 307.237.1182  book all 3 for a discount.

Wyoming Fly Fishing Report, Grey Reef


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!!

 

Wyoming Fly Fishing Proves Summer is Awesome


Grey Reef angling report summed up with a pic. More excellent Wyoming fly fishing and our guide staff is turning and burning. The lodge has hosted 3 corporate fly fishing vacations in a row and the cottages are busy. The North Platte River is making sure our novice anglers are hooking lots of fish and having a great time, while giving up the goods to all who participate. 2016 lodge schedule is already receiving a lot attention and unfortunately we are very limited in some parts of the season. Get on the list now for a springtime  fly fishing vacation unlike any you have witnessed. But first, come check out the late season on Grey Reef. The pic of this brown will give you and indication of what our days are about. There  are many great trout fisheries like the Wind River Canyon, the Big Horn River, the Green River the San Juan River and more. But have you fished Grey Reef,  Miracle Mile or Fremont Canyon? If this is on your bucket list give us a yell, pronto!