Grey Reef
by Paul Prentiss
The North Platte River in southern Wyoming is a spectacular fishery. Until recently many anglers have driven past the Platte on their way to more fabled waters. The Platte offers something for every fly fisherman: exciting float fishing, excellent summer and fall dry-fly action, classic fall fishing for browns, and tailwater fisheries that produce good trout 12 months a year.

The North Platte enters Wyoming from Colorado to the south, and takes a northerly course as far as Casper before turning east, where it supplies water to the farmlands of eastern Wyoming and Nebraska. Three different stretches of river totaling nearly 100 miles have been rated a Blue Ribbon fishery.

A series of reservoirs create incredible year round tailwater fishing opportunities . The first, known as the "Miracle Mile," is just below Kortes Dam and Seminoe Reservoir. The Mile, (actually eight miles in length, receives its nickname from its high hourly catch rate and the number of large trout caught). The second tailwater stretch, below Alcova Reservoir from Grey Reef to Casper offers good fishing year-round.

When runoff is over, the stretches above Saratoga begin to attract attention. In the Saratoga area there are 75 miles of Class I Blue Ribbon water. Fishing starts picking up in the last half of June with anglers casting big streamers and nymphs against the bank as they float downstream.


Bob Bush with a nice Rainbow

The section which has been getting considerable attention by Colorado Fishermen is Grey Reef. In April during the Boulder Flycasters annual Frost Bite Trip quite a few five to seven pound fish were landed. I saw several fish that were easily 30 inches or better. According to some estimates only 10% of the fish in this stretch are hatchery fish.

Wade fishing is pretty limited so many anglers float the river. In either event you need to be very careful about trespassing. In Wyoming the river bed is private property and it is illegal to drop anchor or step out of the boat. There is no warning or kidding about this. I've personally seen folks up on the river bluffs with spotting scopes. You can count on a citation and a stiff fine if you trespass.

 

In most of the public areas that adjoin private land there are signs (blue for public and red for private). However, use care since I found some of them turned the wrong way.

In the spring and fall you need 6-weight or better rods of 8'6" to 9'. I've even used a two handed spey rod to toss streamers way out into the river. In the summer add a light weight 4 or 5-weight to your traveling gear.