Report from the North Platte
Charlie and I just returned from the annual Orvis Guide Rendezvous which was held in Casper, WY this year. It’s always hard to sneak in an extra day on these trips as it’s a long enough day already and we basically waste 2 days with travel. However, we’ve always wanted to fish the North Platte as it’s got a reputation for having lots of nice fish.
Our original plan was to maybe take a boat, maybe not, but just do some fishing on our own as it’s really not that technical of a river. The problem with that plan was that Wy. has different stream access laws and we figured that it might be a little overwhelming trying to figure out where we were on the float and where we could anchor or get out and wade fish. The stream access laws are different there and the landowner owns the river bottom so it’s considered trespassing if you even park the boat on some floating weeds or drop anchor. It is what it is and it seems far too complicated to work out on your own in a morning on a new river. So, we decided to get a guide for the day and let someone else deal with rowing in the wind that the area is legendary for.
We fished the Grey Reef section of the North Platte, putting in just below Grey Reef Dam and ended up floating down the river 10-12 miles to Governor Bridge. The upper 2/3 of the float had good tailwater character with lots of corner seams, drop offs, islands, and deep runs while the lower part kind of lost the character and was kind of straight shot. The flows were at 4500 cfs while we were there which is apparently pretty high (it looked like wading would be tough even if you were on public property) so overall the water had enough flows to keep it interesting.
There is a serious spawn going on up there right now so it’s probably not the place to go if you’re opposed to catching some spawners. We pretty much avoided fishing the redds and obvious spawning areas but the first 8 miles or so seriously looked like one giant redd! One good thing about the private property thing there is that those fish don’t get messed with too bad on the redds as everyone just moves on through rather than anchoring or wading all over them.
We nymphed with a 3 nymph rig (egg on top with 2 different sized red worms below). Worked well enough but I didn’t walk away wishing that was legal in MT. Overall I’d say that both Charlie and I had a great time, caught some nice fish, and we would definitely do it again sometime.
We ended up fishing with a guide named Greg Mueller from Wyoming Fly Fishing (an outfitter). They base out of the Platte River Fly Shop and I’d have no problem recommending him if you ever get that way.