It seems this year we are staying a little more consistent on the snow. Southern and Central Wyoming has been seeing storm systems at least once, if not two times a week. Snow pack in the North Platte drainage is anywhere from 116%-165%. That’s pretty darn good if you ask us. Hopefully we continue to keep piling it on!
Now let’s talk about the conditions and the fishing…
Grey Reef: 450cfs (*Floatable from Grey Reef Dam to Lusby.)
Fremont Canyon: 76cfs
Miracle Mile: 535cfs +/- (*As always this time of year use caution if you are thinking about venturing to the Mile. Make sure to check with someone local and be prepared.)
What flies are working? Here’s Mason Bouffard’s top pick nymphs….
PALs, rhinestones, leeches(brown, natural, UV brown and hot head) scuds(amber, orange and olive), reef worms and mayhems.
Remember to concentrate on the lower half of the run. If the water looks deep and slow, fish it!
It happens every year, without question. The vegetation(mainly a species from the genus potamogeton), on Grey Reef starts breaking up and making its way downstream. In the case of this year it has gotten a little extra jolt, courtesy the recent bump in flows. Is it a pain in the ass? Sure. Does it make it unfishable? Absolutely not. You just have to be prepared to clean your flies and get them in the right spot. This isn’t spring on Grey Reef, so don’t expect it. You may not be hitting the numbers of fish you are accustomed to but the quality is there, without question.
If you are here or headed this way, this is the program our crew has been rolling…4-6ft, 1-2 AB split shot. A short, stout nymph rig that gets down quick. The first fly will be a Pat’s rubberlegs, cranefly or a leech. Trail that with a birds nest or another caddis pattern, pheasant tail and/or a foam wing RS2. Also, keep your eyes peeled for risers. We are seeing a few heads up on tricos in the morning as well as a few eating hoppers in the afternoon.
So if the current situation has you a little down and you don’t want to bother with the veg, there is a silver lining. When flows start dropping after Labor Day, the river should be in great shape. Less vegetation and clear, clean water. September and October is setting up to be one for the books…
Miracle Mile(1,500cfs), Fremont(80cfs) and Grey Reef(500cfs) are all in great shape. Clear water and the bugs have been popping, especially on Grey Reef. This is such a fun time of year! A baetis and midge pattern have been our bread and butter up top, no question. If you’re heading down low you definitely need some leech patterns as well as some caddis. Streamers have definitely been on the menu as well, especially if we get some overcast weather.
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.
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.
First things first, we hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable New Year! Our crew is looking forward to 2022 and what should be another great year in Central Wyoming. Currently, snowpack is looking good on the upper North Platte River drainage(115-119%). If we keep with this trend we should have good flows and water in the reservoirs. So cheers to all of you and we look forward to seeing you this year!
Hard to believe it’s already November 15th and we are a week and half away from Thanksgiving. Wow, time is truly flying by. November 15th is the official start to our “shoulder season” and discounted rates. So if you see a weather window, come pay us a visit. We have cottages available and guides ready to work!
Now for a quick little fishing report. After a couple weeks of weather, we have dried up and are having some very mild temperatures here in Central Wyoming. It’s been a great month to be on the water thus far and the extended forecast looks like more of the same. With dry fly opportunities waning, our guide crew has been focusing on their nymph and streamer game. Pine squirrel leeches, PALs, foam-wing RS2s, mayhems and scuds on 4-7ft with 1-3B shot. We have definitely been varying the length/weight depending on the run and type of water. As far as streamers are concerned, we’ve mainly been throwing intermediate lines, covering the entire run. The fish are holding in all types of water but as water temperatures continue to drop expect them to concentrate towards the bottom of the run. Slow and deep, that is the winter streamer program.
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.
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.
March is an exciting month. It’s the time of year where anything can happen with the weather. It will snow a foot one day, and then be 50 degrees on another. The river that has been frozen down stream will start to open, and the banks will start to come alive. The beginning of spring. Things will start to thaw and the North Platte River will be hub for activity. It is to many, their favorite time of the year to go Fly Fishing! Floating is an amazing way to see everything from deer and antelope, all the way to turkeys strutting their stuff on the banks. Oh, and did I mention the fishing is fantastic? The Reef Fly Shop has the best early season package in the business! 2 nights in a cottage and 1 day of guided fishing on Grey Reef for $600! Until March 15 where we return to regular season rates. Get it while it lasts!
Every year the North Platte River is flushed near the second week of March for ten days. The flush is when the Bureau Of Rec slowly bumps flows up from our current 500cfs to 4000cfs and then back down slowly to 500cfs over night. This cleans out the “junk” if you will on the bottom of the river. Over the year silt and debris covers some of the bottom and prime spawning habitat for our fishery. The high flows clean this from the bottom moving it down stream away from prime spawning habitat. This year however, with the remaining ice and cold weather in the extended forecast. Coupled with the current bridge construction taking place below Alcova Dam, dates for the flush have not come out yet. There are a few factors to think of with this. We don’t want the flush to be late, as this will wash away where fish have already spawned. However, we do want a flush to clean up the bottom, creating more prime spawning habitat. With a little luck, hopefully the weather warms up and it will get back on track! We will continue to update everyone on the flush plans and schedule as we gain more information.
We recently have made some changes to The Reef Fly Shop and it is starting to come along nicely! Click the link here to check it out. https://youtu.be/xWb4pN_G43I Although we have the project going, we are still open. So stop in to grab your gear and see the changes yourself!
We’ve made it out to the Miracle Mile a couple times in the last few weeks. Braving the elements. This is always a challenge this time of year. Roads are a pain, wind blowing, and cold temps make it hard. But can be well worth it. Swinging streamers, we were able to connect on some great fish! The Miracle Mile road had some drifting and slippery spots so be careful if you are going to make the trip out passed Alcova!
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!