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Low Flow

Well, the increased flows for the first 20 days of October went off without a hitch.  Lots of big fish hit the net during the higher flows.  Grey Reef is now sitting at 600cfs and conditions are primo! Clear water and far less vegetation than usual.  Nymphs and streamers are definitely the name of the game.  As far as streamers are concerned, it seems to be a floating and/or intermediate line kind of program.  Smaller profile bugs(i.e. goldie, burgin bugger, crystal bugger, rusty trombone) have been working the best.  Fish the good banks and fish across the good runs.  Pretty simple.  On the nymph front we have rolled into the late season fare.  Leeches, reef worms, PALs, mayhem midges, scuds and/or RS2s.  3-6FT, 1-3BBs and 4X on the tippet.  With the clear conditions definitely consider throwing fluorocarbon.

Lowering Alcova Reservoir and the Grey Reef Trophy Trout Season

Grey Reef is the ultra-tailwater. This is a phrase we use to describe what the Grey Reef section of the North Platte River is and why it is such a consistent, productive, and trophy class fishery. We are blessed to have 5 reservoirs, closely spaced, immediately upstream from Grey Reef Dam. Two of these giant “settling ponds”, Seminoe and Pathfinder, are both very large each boasting a million acre-foot volume. The other unique feature to the arrangement of Grey Reef and its supporting impoundments are that there are no major mountain ranges to collect a snowpack and very sandy and rocky substrate that fails to create a traditional runoff scenario below the head of Seminoe Reservoir, the first lake in the system. Pre runoff fishing is superb,  peak runoff and Grey Reef is often the only good option in the game, post runoff is stellar and late season fishing is still rocking with a healthy water supply and heavily foraging trout. Water demand is reduced with the end of the irrigating season so Grey Reef flows are reduced to a very floatable, wadable, and productive 500cfs for the remainder of the fall and winter season.

This October Grey Reef is being utilized as a surrogate to unwanted water in Alcova Reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled some needed maintenance on Alcova Dam and as a result, they are lowering the level of the lake significantly. Since Oct 1st Grey Reef flows have been over 2000cfs or 4 to 5 times the “normal” October volume. This isn’t high water but it is high for the time of year. It has created some unique opportunities and big fish production has been a very welcomed result. But, what we might be the most excited about is the moment the BuRec cuts the surplus flows to Grey Reef. Imagine all of those crawdads and young-of-the-year fish displaced and scurrying to relocate into or near their normal October habitat. While the old fall flush is a fond memory of the past, this abrupt reduction of flows should parallel that event.

As of 10/19/20 Grey Reef flows are at 1300cfs and Miracle Mile Flows are 540cfs. Grey Reef streamer fishing has been exceptional and will only improve. Wade anglers thrive at these flows.

Big Flows, Big Fish

Uncommon for October, flows on Grey Reef(since October 1) have been in the 2,100-2,800cfs range.  For those unaware, Alcova Dam is needing a little rejuvenation and lake levels will need to drop 39 vertical feet to accomplish the task-hence the increased flows.  All things considered, Grey Reef is in pretty good shape.  The first couple of days were a little rough but after things stabilized and conditions have been good, especially on the upper river.  On that note and to be honest, the increased flows have made the fishing a little more inconsistent than normal.  We are not seeing the numbers(by Grey Reef standards) that we are used to but we are seeing some big ones hit the net.  25″ has been broken multiple times in the past week.  If your headed our way, expect to throw the bigger stuff.  Leeches, worms, crayfish, craneflies, scuds, etc…not to say you can’t get them to eat some bugs, the larger critters just seem to be working better.  Flows are expected to go back to the winter program(500cfs) on October 21.  Excited to see what happens…

Indian Summer

What a great time of year!  Flows are at winter levels and the weather is beautiful.  Highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s with light winds(with the exception of yesterday), day after day.

GREY REEF: Grey Reef is in excellent condition!  The water is clear from Grey Reef Dam to Glenrock.  Lots and lots of water to fish!  Tricos are the name of the game in the morning, especially on the upper river.  5X tippet to a parachute adams with a trico spinner dropper has been our go-to setup.  Once the dry fly fishing subsides our guides have been switching over to the nymph program or a big dry/dropper setup.  3.5-5ft, 1-2 BBs attached to the following flies; prince nymph,tung teaser, pat’s rubber legs, san juan worm, PAL, and/or a foam wing RS2.

MIRACLE MILE: Pathfinder Reservoir is at 61% capacity, making the Mile fishable to the Sage Creek confluence, below Chalk Bluff.  Water conditions are excellent and nymphing is the name of the game. 3-6ft, 1-3 BBs attached to the following flies; prince nymph,tung teaser, san juan worm, UV leech, pheasant tail, and/or a foam wing RS2.  For the devout we are getting some fish to eat the streamer.  Standard fall fare-rusty trombones, goldies, mini sex dungeons and mini peanut envy’s.

FREMONT CANYON: The water has been off-colored for the past few weeks in Fremont.  Fishing remains fair and nymphing has been the most productive method for catching fish. 4-7ft, 1-2 BBs attached to the following flies; bh prince nymph, bh pheasant tail, reef worm, and/or a foam wing RS2.

Dropping Flows and Cold Weather

At midnight, the flows on Grey Reef started decreasing.  After weeks of living at 1,500cfs, Grey Reef is now settling in at its winter flow(500cfs).  We are also soaking in our last day of 90 degree temperatures, as a substantial cold front bears down on the West.  Projected highs Tuesday are expected to top out in the high 30s, with lows in the teens.  Talk about a temperature shift!  Welcome to Wyoming.  Good thing is, it will be short lived.  We will be seeing highs in the 70s by weeks end.  As for the fishing, it continues to only get better and with another drop in flows, the dry fly fishing should be excellent for the coming weeks.  Our guides are continuing to locate sizable pods of fish in the morning feeding on tricos and transitioning to nymph rigs or hopper/dropper rigs in the afternoon.  Water clarity is excellent, so be prepared to throw some lighter tippet.  Streamer fishing will also start becoming a larger part of the daily program.  Woohoo!  That’s what makes this time of year so great, you can do it all in a days fishing on the North Platte.

Fishing Report

It’s hard to believe September starts next week.  From the looks of it, our first taste of fall may come with it.  After weeks in the 90s, 70 degree weather will feel pretty good!  As for the fishing report, let us start with updated water flows…

GREY REEF-1,500cfs

MIRACLE MILE-800cfs

FREMONT-72cfs

With dropping flows on Grey Reef, water conditions are excellent from the Dam to Casper and beyond.  So how’s the fishing?  In our opinion, about as fun as it gets.  This is the most technical time of year for Grey Reef.  Looking for pods of picky trico eating fish in the morning and transitioning to hoppers in the afternoon.  Longer leaders and lighter tippet(4X and 5X) are the name of the game if your going to be throwing dries.  For tricos we prefer a attractor dry(i.e. para adams, sparkle para adams, purple rooster) with a trico spinner dropper.  This is the time of year you can fish dries all day long.  Woohoo!

So considering the hot, dry conditions and decreasing flows-we need to touch on water temperatures.  Temps on the lower reaches are something to be very considerate of this time of the year.  With these warmer temperatures we ask folks to float early and/or late, minimize the handling of fish and pinch your barbs for a quick release.

 

 

Love this time of year!

GREY REEF-2,100cfs

MIRACLE MILE-1,500cfs

FREMONT-100cfs

Lots of things happening on Grey Reef, Miracle Mile and Fremont!  The drop in flows last week has been great for most aspects of the fishing.  As expected, we are defintey seeing larger numbers of tricos and more fishing looking up to feast on the them.  Lighter tippet(5X) has been the name of the game, as some of these fish are proving to be hard to feed.  And don’t be afraid to go with something a little different.  When the fish are seeing thousands of trico spinners, give them something else to look at.  Try a parachute adams or a purple rooster(sz. 16 or 18), something that stands out from the crowd.  Nymphing, of course, is still productive from start to finish.  Shorter has been better, 3.5-5ft and 1-2BB.  Any seam or drop is the place to be and don’t pass up the faster moving water.  Pine squirrel leeches, san juan worms, birds nest, bh mercer’s, foam wing RS2, tung teasers are all at the top of our fly list right now.  As for the hoppers…we are officially in to hopper season. Granted it has already been going for the past month, August thru mid-September is historically the best for pitching big foam. Early on, the hopper bite was really only happening on Upper Grey Reef.  As things have progressed, we now have consistent hopper action on almost all stretches of the river.  A single hopper has proven to be the most effective and it’s all about the drift.  Not every eat has been tight to the bank, so leave that hopper in the water!!

 

On The Drop

Well, after a few months of steady flows-Grey Reef, Miracle Mile and Fremont Canyon are dropping.  As of this morning the flows are as follows:

GREY REEF- 2,100CFS

MIRACLE MILE- 1,500CFS

FREMONT CANYON-275CFS

*for updated daily flows check links below*

Some of you maybe wondering if this a good thing?  Absolutely!!  In the case of Grey Reef this should really help with the productivity of the trico hatch.  Time to break out the small dries and lighter tippet!  This should only get better in the coming weeks and carry well into September.  Otherwise the program remains the same at this time, nymphing in the morning, transitioning to hoppers around the lunch hour.  Our guides have been throwing 3-5.5FT, 1B-2AB split shot with the following flies; pine squirrel leech, san juan worm, prince nymph, tung teaser, mercer poxyback, RS2 foam wing and/or a pheasant tail.  Hoppers are best in a sz. 8 or 10 in either a yellow, pink or purple.  So, on to the Mile.  Not too terribly much as far as dries are concerned but the nymph program has been solid.  Very similar to Grey Reef as far as what nymph patterns are best.  If you are planning on heading that way, it has been fairly busy, so please be considerate of other fishermen and respect their space.  Fremont is always a great place to be after the water has dropped.  Streamers, nymphs and dries should all be on the menu.  If it were me, I would be throwing streamers(rusty trombone, goldie and/or a near-nuff in tan) and covering water.

Hoppertunities Abound! 7/20/2020

The fishing lately has been really fun, a good mix of nymphing, hoppers, and even a handful of streamers! Flows just dropped on The Mile and are still holding steady on Grey Reef and Fremont, but we do expect a drop in soon. The Weather has been in the low 90’s with some breeze in the afternoon which is a perfect storm for hopper fishing! If you haven’t experienced the hopper hatch on the Reef now is the time. We should have great dry fly fishing all the way into October!

The Rig: We’ve been fishing a really similar rig on all three tailwaters lately, an attractor up front like a Pat’s Rubber legs, Pine Squirrel Leech, or a san juan worm. We follow that up with a bead head fly like a Prince nymph, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Poxypack PMD, Demon Sally or a tung teaser. For the bottom, some form of emerger as been good, midges and tricos in the AM switching to sallies, caddis and PMD’s in the PM. We’ve been fishing 3-4.5 Ft indicator to weight with 1-3 “BB’s” as our weight. 3x leaders going to 4x tippet on the smaller flies.

Miracle Mile 2,000 CFS- Clarity is off on the mile due to the reservoirs turning over, but that hasn’t affected the fishing. While the Golden Stonefly hatch is all but done the PMD’s, and Caddis are in full swing. You can try to throw some hoppers along the banks but nymphing has definitely been producing more fish.The is some floating vegetation but it’s really not too bad, it gets more prevalent the closer you get to Pathfinder. Right now the last bit of current before you reach the reservoir is around Chalk Bluffs. Use caution when driving around down there the lake is dropping and leaving the banks really soft. It is very easy to get stuck in that black stinky mud!

Fremont/Cardwell 1,600 CFS- Clarity is also pretty green right now, again it hasn’t affected the fishing. Fish are in all the cool “fishy” spots: shelves, drop offs, riffles and seams. We don’t recommend venturing into the Canyon section right now with the water being so swift.

Grey Reef-Casper 3,600 CFS- The clarity is great on the Reef and gets slightly green as you get closer to Casper. There is some floating vegetation out there if you stick to fishing the faster water and banks it’s not too much of an issue. The best thing you can do is make a proper backcast and most of that stuff comes right off. The hopper fishing has been insane some days and okay on others. South Fork Chernobyl, More-or-less hoppers in purple, pink goldenrod and tan, and the donkey kong hopper have all been winners! We’ve also been throwing some sallies behind our hoppers like the Headlight Sally, #16 rubberleg Stimi, or a clownshoe Sally.

 

As always if you have any questions or want top book your next trip give us a call at 307-232-9128!

Current conditions on the big three are as follows:

GREY REEF: 3,600cfs, clear from Grey Reef Dam to Government Bridge.  Mostly clear from Government Bridge to Casper.

MIRACLE MILE: 2,350cfs, clear.

FREMONT: 1,425cfs, clear.

Well, it has been a fantastic week in Central Wyoming.  With the exception of a few days, the weather has been nothing short of spectacular.  Very little wind, temps in the 80s and sun…doesn’t get much better than that.  As guide JJ Randolph would call it, we’ve officially entered the “glory days”.  So how’s the fishing?  Grey Reef is fishing well.  We are picking up some minor vegetation floating in the water column but thats pretty standard for this time of year.  Nymphing continues to be our most consistent method for catching fish.  Leeches and worms on the point, followed by a PMD dropper.  Pretty simple but it’s working.  We have moved to a shorter, lighter rig.  3.5-5ft and 1-2AB split shot.  We are even fishing this rig in the deeper spots.  Not quite our famed “mini rig” but we are most certainly getting the feeding fish, positioned in the middle of the water column.  If nymphing is not your program we are seeing some success throwing attractor dries and/or hoppers as well as streamers.  We do have a ridiculous number of hoppers this year in Central Wyoming and as our neighbors begin cutting their alfalfa fields, it will only get better.  Based on the dry conditions this season and a few other factors, we could have a little earlier start to hopper mania.  Onto the Mile…not to sound like a broken record but Pat’s rubber legs.  I know it’s been on our past few reports but it continues to work.  Our crew has yet to see large numbers of adults but there’s still a little bit of Seth’s snowdrift hanging on.  (19 year veteran NPL and TRFS guide Seth Kapust as a particular drift that he watches to gauge the height of the stonefly hatch.)  Big foam dries should be on the menu in the coming weeks.  Fremont continues to see a larger volumn of water than normal but it is fishing pretty well.  Again, as with past reports we are throwing bigger patterns; leeches, worms and crane flies.  Although, I wouldn’t be afraid to a throw big dry/dropper rig off the drops and inside seams…