Different Places to Fish on the North Platte near Casper, WY
As some of you may know, I have a special place in my heart for the North Platter River. It is home to me. I grew up a mile from the river and saw it every day on the way to school or work. I have fished that river more than any other body of water in my life. That being said, I should be better at catching fish there! So, this note is a comparative glance at several sections of the river. I will be leaving out huge sections of the river and will be far from exhaustive on the sections discussed, fair warning. This will just be a few of my favorites, not in order of favorites, but as the river flows.
First, is the Miracle Mile, a section of the river that flows from Seminole Reservoir. This is a long storied section of the river that sadly has a much greater past than a present. However, it is still a great area to find some unique fishing and some large strong fish. This section has a large percentage of browns and snake river cutthroat that run up from the lower Pathfinder Reservoir. Beyond that there are the obvious rainbows, both wild and stocked. The fun part of the Miracle Mile to me is that it fishes more like a freestone river than a tailwater. The big bonus up in this section is the fish are typically large; weighing well over 1.5 pounds in the latest fish surveys. The last word on this section is it is placed in some beautiful and rugged country that is well worth the drive.
The next section of the Platte is Pathfinder Reservoir. It is the largest of the three immediately close reservoirs and should probably not be visited for the scenery to be honest and is much more frequently visited for boat fishing and ice fishing than fly fishing. However, if you can find the spots and the season, it can be a great time with streamers and some patience. Also, it can be an awesome and productive carp fishing adventure.
From Pathfinder Damn the Platte dumps through the beautiful Fremont Canyon. This is where we fished on our show episode with The Reef Fly Shop's Trent Tatum. This is such a fun section of the river. In college I would come here to rock climb and pendulum swing from the bridge (btw, don't do that, it is illegal and will get you a ticket). Now I can slow down and enjoy the fishing. This canyon has slower flats that can be fished with dries, or big deep sections that suit nymph or streamer fishing. This section for better or worse also always has a changing water flow rate which changes the landscape almost every time I'm there. Be careful on the rocks, it has fast deep water in parts! The section can also get a bit crowded and the fish can grow a bit picky.
Just downstream from Alcova is another famous section of the Platte that is thriving, the Grey Reef. This has become the quintessential North Platte experience. It has earned a blue ribbon fishery with stacks and stacks of beautiful rainbows. Many parts of it can be wade fished, but there are also large stretches of private land that either require permission or need to be floated. Floating these sections in a drift boat is an extremely successful approach to grabbing incredible numbers of healthy trout. Go check out Trent’s shop to get a guided trip on this section.
On downstream toward Casper you will find an area called the narrows. This is a section of the river that will be a bit faster than the grey reef and provides a lot less quantity of fish but often a lot larger fish if you are patient. It also has some great views of Casper and Muddy Mountain. A lot of the narrows have great cut banks that are great to pound with streamers for some big buck browns. There is also some decent public access here.
If it isn’t apparent I certainly recommend coming to check out the North Platte River. There is a little bit for everyone on this river, depending on your preferences. There is also certainly plenty of fish to go around. If you go, certainly stop by The Reef Fly shop and they can line you out. Make sure to let them know the Fish on the Brain Podcast sent you.