Cool and rainy this morning in Central Wyoming. Not gonna lie, it feels pretty good! We are officially at the midpoint of September and we are right where we are supposed to be. Flows on Grey Reef are at 500cfs, Miracle Mile 530cfs and Fremont is holding steady at 75cfs. Everything is fishing well, actually really well. Water temperatures have dropped to a more comfortable level and conditions, especially on Grey Reef, are primo.
Pretty standard when we see the drop in flows, Grey Reef is running very clear and the vegetation is far less of a hinderance. That being said, it has been buggy and the fish are looking up. Huge trico numbers in the morning and pseudos in the afternoon. Our Grey Reef guides have pretty much been rowing around looking for heads. A little longer leader, tethered to 4X or 5X with a single dry (i.e. para adams, trico spinner), or a double fly rig with something a little bulkier (i.e. X caddis) with a trico spinner dropper. If dry fly fishing isn’t your thing, you can still catch them on trusty nymph rig. Our go-to nymphs have been PALs, RS2 foam-wings in black and grey, pheasant tails, Pat’s rubber legs and/or a black two-bit hooker. Our nymph rigs have been between 3-6ft in length and anything from no weight to 1-2BB split shot. It really just depends on the type of water you are fishing.
Well for those of you who did not see our social media posts, Grey Reef flows are up. Grey Reef is currently sitting at 2,000cfs. It was a welcomed bump in flows for sure, especially considering the warmer weather we have had over the weekend. From what we have heard, flows on Grey Reef may reach 3,500cfs by the end of this month. Plans for the Mile are as follows; remain at 1,500cfs for the next few weeks, then drop down to 500cfs for the remainder of the summer. That’s what we know at this time and as always we will keep you updated as we learn more.
After a very mild and pleasant fall we have rolled into more of our standard winter weather program. Weather and wind. Either we’re getting snow or it’s blowing, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Population control for Central Wyoming.
Grey Reef is finally starting to see some icy conditions below Government Bridge. The Upper, as always this time of year, is the place to be. Flows are at 450cfs and clear, with the vegetation becoming less and less by the day. Pine squirrel leeches, PALs, rhinestones, reef worms and small pheasant tails are the bugs of choice. With water temperatures dropping we are definitely concentrating on the lower half of the run and focusing on the deeper tailouts and seams. Thats not to say you can’t find them nosed up to shelf during the afternoon midge hatch but the most overall productive water is going to be the deep stuff.
So how about the Miracle Mile fishing report? Well, with the weather finally shaping up more into its winter pattern the crowds have finally started to subside. Per usual, make sure to check with us our someone else “local” this time of year before you venture that way. Roads can get nasty and the Mile is not the place to get stuck this time of year. While nymphing is always a popular winter program on the Mile, you’ll find most of us headed out there to swing a streamer. Again, with water temperatures hovering slightly above freezing, the slow/deep tailouts are your friend. Intermediate lines and/or a short sink-tip is the way to go. These lines along with a weighted streamer will get you into the lower third of the water column, putting your streamer in front of their faces. For whatever reason you’re hard pressed to beat an articulated goldie or rusty trombone when it comes to swinging the Miracle Mile.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all of you and appreciate your patronage.
As we wrap up the Thanksgiving holiday, it appears we are going to continue on this mild weather pattern as we make our way into December. With day time highs in the 50s and lows above freezing, Grey Reef is open and fishable from Alcova to Glenrock, Wyoming. A little weird but we’ve seen it before. So, how’s the fishing? Pretty darn good. Afternoons are definitely fishing better than the mornings. More bugs and a little warmer water temps in the afternoon. According to General Manager Eric Anderson, a bead pheasant tail in sz. 16 or 18 has been the top bug. Other patterns would be, pine squirrel leeches, reef worms and/or a PAL. He has been sticking between 3-5ft in length and varying his weight run to run. On the streamer front, we have scaled down in size. Mini goldies, twin lakes specials and the old Seth special…the smaller stuff is working better for our crew. The Miracle Mile continues to be a little crowded but for those wanting to head that way, we would suggest swinging a streamer(i.e. kreelex, rusty trombone, peanut envy) in the deeper runs. Well, that’s about it on the fishing front for now. So, if you’re in the area make sure to stop by and see us.
FYI. As we roll into the “off season” our hours have changed a little bit. Current shop hours are as follows, 8am-noon, daily.
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.
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.
Well, it seems to be the same thing on repeat. Obviously, with the way things have been going, that’s not a bad thing. Great weather and water conditions on Grey Reef are primo. Super clear and bugs are popping! Like we said in our last post, if technical dry fly fishing is your thing, it’s a great time to be on Upper Grey Reef. We do have some weather on the horizon which could really fire up the streamer bite. For those of wondering about the Miracle Mile, it has been fishing pretty well. But as you would expect, fairly crowded, especially the lower end. If your headed that way it’s going to nymphing/streamer program. Worms, leeches and pheasant tails are our go-to patterns right now. If your going to throw a streamer you’re hard pressed to go wrong with a Goldie.
We love this time of year!! Hunting seasons start opening, the weather is beautiful, water conditions are primo and the fish are looking up. Of course Miracle Mile and Fremont Canyon are fishing well and always a good place to be but Grey Reef is firing on all cylinders. This is the time of year where its not at all uncommon to throw dries, all day. Nymphs and streamers are most certaintly in play but the dry fly game is just so fun. For most of our guides, it’s chasing pods of trico eating trout in morning and switching to hoppers around lunchtime. Sound fun? Tricos, of course, can be some of the more technical dry fly fishing of the season. So be prepared to break out the 5X and don’t be afraid to throw a little something different. Maybe a larger parachute or even a royal wulff…if their staring at thousands of spinners, it never hurts to show them something a little different.
As we hit the middle of August Tricos are in full swing here on the Reef and the fishing is still great! We are seeing a very healthy Trico hatch from early in the morning until about 9-10am. If you’re nymphing black RS2s and Mayhem Midges have been the ticket. We haven’t been seeing too much surface action for the Trico hatch, but if you hit it on the right day you can have some shots at sipping trout. Throwing smaller mayfly patterns or trico specific flies might get these sippers to eat. As the day goes on PMD’s, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, and Stoneflies have all been in the mix and productive. As was the case in early August, some sort of flashy bead head with an emerger off the back can’t really be beaten when nymphing. We have yet to see hopper action pick up, but that may mean just a later and greater season on that front. Of course we have to cover the topic of grass and weeds in the river as well because this time of year is when they really pop up. Surprisingly this year it isn’t that bad yet, but it seems like the grass is growing by the minute. The key to fishing when the weeds really come in is finding where channels open up and drifting your nymph rigs through there. Looking for faster current and deeper shelves where there grass doesn’t grow as high should be your target. Your first instinct may be to shorten up and lighten up in order to drift over the weeds, but you’d be surprised to see how many trout are actually living in the grass, making drifting a little bit deeper through the channels much more effective.
That’s all for this report, hopefully next report we will be able to give you all some good news about the hopper bite!
Well, we finally got some MUCH needed water in Grey Reef. Earlier this week, Bureau of Rec. decided to bump the flows to 1,500cfs, which happens to be a pretty ideal flow for both boat and wade fishing. Projected flows for Grey Reef this summer are expected to be between 2,000-3,000cfs. Things are starting to shape up nicely. Fishing is good! The bump in flows stalled the summertime bug activity, so we are seeing a few baetis again but PMDs and sallies are right around the corner. If your going to be throwing nymphs, go with the following…leeches, worms, PMD nymphs and sally nymphs. Also due to the bump in flows, water clarity is so-so below Government Bridge but that should only continue to improve. Golden stone fly nymph activity has begun to pick at the Miracle Mile, as we should start seeing a few adults in the coming weeks. This is always as fun time of year as we make the transition to the “glory days” of summer.