WY Wyoming?


WYOMING ISN’T REAL

 

Wyoming (WY) is an interesting place. It is a large piece of land with very few inhabitants. There is a revolving door of folks moving in and folks moving out. A transient oil and gas workforce who’s #1 focus is love of place, oops, money…until it dries up. But a large majority are a very steadfast base that wouldn’t ever consider leaving. WY boasts a meager 580,000 residents sprinkled into 97,914 square miles. That’s just shy of 6 people per section (square mile) or 640 acres. We are proud to battle with the antelope for the crown of the most populous critter in this arid and high-altitude square. Sorry goats, we’ve got you by a margin but we still have tons of respect for you. Plus, WY is the center of the antelope (speed goat or properly known as the Pronghorn) universe. Most of the world’s Pronghorn reside within 300 miles of our busting, 30 resident metropolis, of Alcova, WY. Our low population is synonymous with lots of elbow room and why we despise tagalongs on the highway. Pass respectfully and keep moving or back WAY off…like 200 feet. This same concept applies to the line at the grocery store, hunting, fishing and camping. Maintain lots of room, no unnecessary congestion – simple, this is Wyoming. 

Wyoming isn’t a super habitable place in the grand scheme but is the ultimate in short bursts. Summer is really amazing, warm but not hot by most of the union’s standards, dry and lots of big blue-sky days. Spring and fall, we have several of them every year, rarely act like they’re supposed to. Both will give up some traditional weather but both tend to cherry pick stints of summer and winter. This is part of the reason we have a revolving door of boom-and-bust economy “residents”. That, and the wind. The wind is no joke. No, it isn’t always windy because, as the joke goes, Nebraska doesn’t always suck and Utah doesn’t always blow. The funny thing about those of us who complain the hardest are those who don’t have serious outdoor winter recreation. That is, people who wouldn’t ordinarily spend time outside anyway. (HINT* embrace winter outdoor recreation including fly fishing for longevity in WY) The wind is really a winter and early spring phenomenon and why we have pretty solid air quality.  If you don’t recreate outside in the winter, we are sorry, not sorry about the wind messing up your hairdo on your way into work or blowing your grocery list off of the dash board. We park into the wind and open one car door at a time.  There are a lot of benefits to the wind as well. Every one of the aging Front Range “fly” fishing Bros wearing a visor who storms in and makes a big, super-astute declaration about Wyoming’s wind, goes back to the Front Range. Huge bonus! Just teasing, Brah. Wyoming is not for the weak and if the weather were a little less rowdy, we’d have several times the population. Most of the steadfast folks are here because people make them uncomfortable, and they occupy too much space, breath down your neck and make too much noise when they are on the water or in the field. It is a matter of priorities. We embrace the conditions that keep the population low, first and foremost. Be real careful about professing how important you and your money are to Wyoming’s wellbeing when you’ve been reprimanded for stepping out of line with the way things are done here. Your ill-behaviored presence, self-aggrandized by money, will never supersede the Wyoming way of life. 

Low populations serve hunting, fishing and a myriad of other recreation really well. The part that seals the deal is all the awesome hunting, fishing and other rustic outdoor opportunities. Low populations aren’t all rosy, though. We acknowledge the economic struggles that come with fewer customers, we acknowledge a smaller tax base that limits wasteful and unnecessary overdevelopment of every recreational opportunity and we acknowledge that we have fewer soulless franchise restaurants. We also acknowledge a glaring lack of awareness from most of the folks who are charged with “managing” our outdoor industry and amenities. There isn’t a great pool of knowledge to pull from and that pool is reduced to kiddie sized once most of the capable folks are faced with electing to take government jobs.  

WY is an emotional place. If you don’t believe it, just be around the day after the big game tags are drawn. That’s a pretty warm and fuzzy experience. WY is a safe place. We all have had the winter highway gear requirements driven into our hair. Have water, a sleeping bag, and some other things I can’t remember but very few of us have them along…but it’s the thought that counts, I’ve heard. Also, nearly 70% of WY households own guns. That stat could be irrationally confused with 70% of homes have gun toting psychos and we’re ok with that. Be careful to limit the term households to houses, that stat also applies to all the vehicles on the road. 70% (unofficial stat pulled from nowhere) of Wyomingites also wear muck boots as their daily winter footwear. Looks and smells weird but function over form, y’all. Muck boots are not a substitute for waders, however. If your fishing guide shows up with muck boots you are a captive to the boat for the day, you ain’t getting out to wade fish. 

WY is a loving and caring place. If a stranger is broken down on the side of the road it will only be a matter of moments before someone stops to help. There is so much competition to be the one to save the day that it can become a real safety hazard. We lose our minds and will forget to check traffic before throwing a U-turn in the middle of the highway. On big snow days there will be dozens of roving, built 4 wheel drive trucks at the ready to jerk any unfortunate low ground clearance cars out of a drift…for free! They say central WY is the most charitable place in the nation, there are even flags flying in downtown Casper to make sure you know it.  

All jokes aside, we love Wyoming for the very things that more refined folks hate about it. That’s why there is an unwritten rule that neophytes aren’t allowed to discuss the wind or make knee jerk, highway observations about our big, vacant swaths of sagebrush steppe equating to “nothing”. Wyoming is so much more than Devil’s Tower, the Grand Teton, Old Faithful or Jackson Hole. It is just like fishing Grey Reef, the seemingly boring and featureless chunks in between the exciting water are often the most productive and interesting. Train your eye to see beyond a single dimension and welcome to Wyoming.  

 

 

Stay tuned for some upcoming articles

#1 Voices Carry- The Things We Hear Guides Tell Their guests

 #2 a multi part series The Evolution of a Tailwater – The Ongoing Transition of Grey Reef and Miracle Mile

#3 No Compromises – Why we voluntarily apply massive limits to the way we approach guiding anglers and why we are more successful and the fishery is better for it.  

 

 

 

 

Agosto


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.

Rolling Along


Well, we hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!  We were booked out solid this past weekend at both the lodge and the cottages.  It’s definetly feeling like summer around here with temperatures in the 90s this coming week.  Flows remain the same on the Miracle Mile, Fremont Canyon and Grey Reef.  Water temperatures are in the 50s for all three and the fish are full of it!  We have seen a decent number of golden stones over the past few weeks on the Mile, with few fish on top but the most success coming subsurface(i.e. Pat’s rubber legs).  Grey Reef is starting to go through the bug progressions with sallies, pmds and caddis popping off daily.  This should only get better in the coming weeks.

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.

Grey Reef/Miracle Mile Flow Projections


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.

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.

Post Flush and Kortes Rd Closure


Well folks, the flush had ended on Grey Reef and flows are back to 450cfs.  Water conditions as of today are primo!  We have fishable water from Grey Reef dam to Casper,WY.  We do have cold and wet weather forecasted for the week so we will have to see if that impacts the downstream water conditions.

Just a heads up, road construction is expected to start tomorrow on Kortes Rd.  The construction will take place from the bridge at Alcova Dam and end at the Miracle Mile/Fremont Canyon split.  What does this mean?  Well, if you are planning on heading to the Mile you’ll need to go via Pathfinder Rd/Fremont Canyon Rd.  Expected finish date is late September.

Feels Like Spring!


What a beautiful week we have had in Central Wyoming!  Mild, sunny and calm.  As we make our way toward the flush, here’s a few updates.  Flows are currently as follows; Grey Reef(500cfs), Fremont Canyon(72cfs) and Miracle Mile(530cfs +/-).  Currently Grey Reef Reservoir aka The Afterbay is drained to the river channel, this will continue until the start of the flush on March 31.  After that we should see it fill back up.

All and all the fishing has been solid!  Nymphing has been the name of the game with pine squirrel leeches, reef worms, san juans, PALs, rhinestones, mayhems and pulsating emergers being our list of go-to patterns.  With the low flows our rigs have been living in the 4-6.5ft range, with 1-3 b shot depending on the run.  This has been our setup for Grey Reef, Fremont Canyon and Miracle Mile.  Keep in mind, with the low flows and clear water conditions, you might want to dial down your tippet size.  Most of our crew has been fishing 4x fluorocarbon to the back fly.

Weather Window


Well, the weather has started to really shape up in Central Wyoming.  Yeah we know, it’s winter but over the past several weeks we have had some beautiful days.  If you follow us on social media you’ve seen that we are officially back on the water.  It’s hard to believe that it is time to start ramping up for another season.  Shop orders will start arriving in the coming weeks.  That means new patterns, a FULLY stocked fly bin, new gear and more.

So, as for the current North Platte fly fishing report…flows are low and steady and the fishing is solid!  Grey Reef is currently at 450cfs, Fremont Canyon 72cfs, and Miracle Mile is hovering around 530cfs.  And everyone is running nice and clear.  Nymphing and streamers are the name of the game but with the right conditions and a midge hatch we are seeing a few fish on top.  Nymph rigs for this time of year are 4-7ft, 1-3B shot…it really just depends on the type and depth of water you are in.  Of course the most popular flies to date are as follows; pine squirrel leeches(natural/brown/black), reef worms, PALs, rhinestones, brassies and mayhems.  If you go the streamer route a short sink tip or an intermediate line tethered to an articulated goldie or a rusty should do the trick.

Let’s hope we keep getting some windows of nice weather and when we do, give us a shout and take advantage of our offseason  day trip/cottage packages. 307-232-9128

Happy Holidays


First things first, we’d like to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our crew to all of you!  We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday.

For those of you that keep up with our weather, you’re probably noticed the lack of “nice” days over the past few weeks.  Well, as we discussed in the last report, that’s just the way it can be this time of year in Central Wyoming.  But when the weather has lined up, the fishing continues to be good.  It most certainly has been more of an late morning/afternoon program for Miracle Mile, Fremont Canyon and Grey Reef.  Our list of top flies right now are the following; pine squirrel leeches, reef worms, orange scuds, PALs, rhinestones and mayhems.  The most productive water continues to be the mid to lower half of the run, concentrating on the slower/deeper water.  One last thing, as of right now Grey Reef is floatable to Lusby but that will more than likely change with colder temperatures expected next week.  As always we will keep everyone updated on the current conditions but if your planning on heading out don’t hesitate to reach out via e-mail or give us a call at the shop.