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Welcome to 2021! North Platte Fly Fishing Report!

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a fun and safe holidays. We are back to being open everyday of the week from 8:00 to 2:00 and still have some awesome deals in the shop before our 2021 gear arrives. We had guides out over the past week and had some good weather and great fishing! We fished The Mile, Afterbay, and Grey Reef, as usual The Reef outshined them all.

We have our shoulder season rates going on until March 15th: Half Day Guided trip- $350, Full day Guided trip- $450 1 night in a cottage and 1 full day guided fishing-$575, and 2 nights in a cottage and 1 full day guided trip- $625. This is a great time to fish the North Platte with no crowds and good fishing!

Flows are up in Fremont and the Miracle Mile as they are filling up Alcova reservoir. Miracle Mile is flowing at 1,200 CFS and Fremont is around 2,2,00 CFS. They are still very fishable just focus on the slower tailouts and edges of runs.

Flies are similar on all three tailwaters right now: Pine Squirrel leeches, Reef Worms, Scuds, Mayhem Midges, tubing midges, the LAZY, the brassie, and RS2’s have all been working. Some days it definitely pays off to be shorter, lighter, and higher up in the water column. Other days it seems you have to be deep and heavy, so I always start off short and light and work my way down from there. Streamer fishing has also been working: Goldies, Rusty Trombone, kreelex, peacock buggers, and all peanut envys are the go-tos.

If you have any questions or want to book your next trip give us a call or stop by the shop!

Taste of Winter

After a very mild start to December its finally starting to feel a little bit more like winter in Central Wyoming.  Highs have consistently been in the 30s for the past week and we have even been getting a little snow.  Let’s keep hoping for more, especially in the upper drainage.  If you’ve been keeping up with our past reports, Alcova reservoir saw a serious decrease in lake level this October.  Well, that should begin to change on December 19, as they will begin filling the reservoir.  That being said, expect increased water flows on both the Miracle Mile and Fremont Canyon during this period.

As for the fishing, it is good.  Floating ice below Government Bridge has most folks spending their time on the upper river.  Nymphs and streamers are producing the numbers but don’t rule out fish on top when the midges start popping.  The fish are definetly oriented towards their winter haunts.  Softer edges and the lower half of the run seems to hold the larger concentrations of trout.  Pine squirrel leeches, reef worms, PALs, rhinestones, brassies, all-day mays have been our go-tos.  1-BBs and 4-7ft depending on the depth and speed of the water you’re fishing.  For the streamer fisherman out there, it’s still happening.  A small sink tip or intermediate line is the ticket.  Small articulated or bugger style patterns in tan or cream, olive and white have been the top producing colors on Grey Reef, Miracle Mile and Fremont Canyon.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Things are well on our end.  Starting to dial in some off-season projects.  As always we will keep you updated via social media.  Grey Reef, Fremont and Miracle Mile all continue to stay in great condition.  The weather this month has been unseasonably mild, allowing us to get out fishing a little more than normal.  So more of the same on the fishing front.  Nymphs and streamers are the name of the game.  Although temperatures have been mild, water temps, especially on lower reaches of Grey Reef have dropped.  That has made the streamer fishing a little tough.  If your planning on heading down low to pitch the big stuff, slow your strip. For the nymphs it’s standard late fall-winter fare…leeches, reef worms, scuds and various midge patterns.  1-3BBs and 3-6ft in length.

Winding Down

Well, things are finally starting to slow down at the shop.  Pretty standard for this time of the year.  We would like to begin by saying thank you to everyone that stayed with us, fished with us or just stopped by in 2020.  THANK YOU!!!

Current conditions are as follows…low and clear on the Grey Reef(585cfs), Fremont(650cfs) and Miracle Mile(550cfs).  Obviously, flows are a little higher than normal for Fremont but the water looks great.  And as you would expect the conditions are excellent as well on the Reef and Mile.  The streamer bite is still very productive.  An intermediate line with a goldie or rusty trombone has been the go-to with the streamer program.  Another option, out of the boat, is a couple of smaller(weighted) ties on a floating line.  Cast up to the banks and slow strip back to the boat.  The nymph game is solid as you would expect.  Standard late fall, winter fare…leeches, reef worms, scuds and various midge patterns.  1-3BBs and 3-6ft in length, depending on the depth and speed of the water your fishing.  We are definitely seeing more fish holding mid to lower run.

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.