First glance at this river reveals
little difference between it and any other in the west. Similar flows.
Similar hatches. Similar terrain. But something is out of the
ordinary. Where are the crowds? When fish average 2 - 4 pounds and 19
- 20 inches long, you generally have to stand in line to get at a run.
Not here. This river is untouched. January through December, yours for
Generally this time of year I'm tying
flies preparing for the coming season. But, seeing that big ‘bow' on
that cover, I headed for the Reef. The temperature in Casper was in
the teens when I arrived. The middle of the streets had anywhere from
12 to 36 inches of snow piled from the plows. A "minor" winter storm
had passed through the day before dropping around 20 inches of snow.
It didn't look good.
I piddled around town for a few hours
to let the temperature come up and pulled into Trappers Route access
sometime around 10 in the morning. I rigged up a typical two-fly
dropper nymph set-up with a scud and a midge`emerger. A standard
offering for the Reef. Two casts later it paid off. A beautiful
rainbow around 22 inches. My cold fingers long forgotten, I continued
Every run, tailout and hole was stacked
with fish. I changed tactics and flies numerous times with the same
results. The day ended as it had begun with the tail of a pig rainbow
disappearing into the current.
The first fish of the day is always the
best and that day was no different. I didn't catch the magazine cover
quality pig, but I had spent the day on the last great tailwater in
If you're tired of fighting crowds for
small fish and want a chance at the rainbow of a lifetime, come fish
the North Platte below Grey Reef. Flushing flow management and strict
kill limits coupled with ‘artificials' only have produced the best
wild rainbow trout fishing in the west.
With Casper only 26 miles from the
Reef, your day on the water is even better with numerous choices for
accommodations and meals. I highly recommend North Platte Anglers for
guided trips. This outfit has been on the Platte since 1971 and their
guides know the water better than anyone. Custom packages are
available to include lodging and transportation.
They can be reached at (307) 472-9190
or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and their web site is