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Old 04-09-2012, 12:59 PM
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Default Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

I forgot to charge the camera so you are going to have to take my word on the veracity of this report. I mean it is not as if I have a reputation as a blanker or master bandycatcher or anything......
Anyway the following is a brief summary of the best days trout fishing I have ever had. I have had great days before catching a springer on the Isla and a 4lb sea trout from the Cowie as well as the super multi-bandy days on Beannie or Meig or even the Fife Leven but for sheer constant adrenaline this was the day. In fact I have a sore shoulder from playing these supercharged beasties that are known as wild rainbow trout.
Back from a job that went pretty badly so I was looking for some therapy. The morning was bright and sunny and it didn't seem too windy. Temp was supposed to get up into the high 60s (convert it yourselves) and I had just replaced my leaky Lureflash breathables so I got myself in the car and drove the 30 miles to the Grey Reef Dam at Alcova. You can see from the pic that the water is quite low at this time which is good for the fishing because when the snow pack in the Rockies melts the turn up the flow and the river becomes a huge raging canal with no features. I suppose you would learn where the backwaters are but I like it better like this with some features to fish.
Last time I did OK with some heavy nymphs in the fast water and I started off with this and picked up a couple of bandies in the same spot as I did last time. There were a few other guys about and the anglers here do tend to stand quite close to each other. Too close for my casting! There was a pretty stiff upstream wind that would swirl and gust. Not so much of a problem when short line nymphing but a nightmare if you are casting properly. I don't highstick because the wind just blows your line away, instead I have a sticky on indicator at 9'6". It seems to work quite well. All the other guys I see have "bobbers" which must be hellish to cast in the wind.
I worked my way downstream to a deep flat and fished that for a while with no success. I have started using that brassy tungsten stuff that warms with your fingers and you can stick it on the line. Dead easy to remove too. So when I wanted to cast into the slower water I just take it off to adjust the weight. I stick it on a zip handle and get it later. Brilliant stuff.
Got a bit cold in this deeper water so headed back up under the dam where I know there are big fish. Waded out to the edge of the main stream and started casting unweighted nymphs slightly upstream and letting them float down while I kept in touch with my foam indicator. Another angler was directly across from me and we gave each other a nod. I should say that the wading is pretty tricky here with head sized boulders and occasional bigger granite lumps. I think they have come out of the dam rock protection. Anyway 10 mins in and I missed a take from a better fish. I didn't swear though. retrieved and cast it again. This time I was in and woooohooo, it was off like a torpedo. I think this is the first time that the drag has been used on this reel. Good job I had set it and it worked fine. This fish took me 15 mins to come to hand. It had 3 big runs and as my stance was a bit dodgy on these rocks I was nearly in on one occasion. I estimated the fish at 23" by knowing my forearm is 19" so it was a keeper ( 1 fish over 20" is the rule here). I don't know what weight but I figure over 3lbs. If anyone knows better please advise me. It was beautifully marked (spawning is soon for the bows) and proportioned and I curse my feeble brain for forgetting to charge the camera! It had taken a 12 bh olive nymph which is fast becoming my favourite. A stonking fish and my best rainbow (including stockies!). I don't carry a net and as I was in 3 feet of water with dodgy footing I wasn't going to mess about trying to get my phone out of the waterproof case. I let it go and it shot off very quickly. The water is still pretty cold so the fish seem to be all the livelier for it. So I yelled over to the other angler what fly I had caught it on and waded to the bank to warm up and calm down.
After a turkey sandwich and a bottle of water (it is very dry here) I topped up the sun cream (at 5500 feet the sun burns very fast) and waded back in. I had changed my SJ worm (I have caught nothing on the damn thing even though it is recommended everywhere) to a stonefly pattern on top dropper and put a 12 bh black flashback nymph on point. I was casting a bit further upstream to give the nymphs time to sink and I was circle Cing to get the flies upstream because the wind was gusting so much. 5 weights are recommended but I was using my Sharpes Gordon #7 9'6" because of the wind. It also has the beef to handle the big fish that nearly took the rod out of my hand when it took. I have never had such a violent take before. Seatrout and salmon are sooo gentle and the wee broonies just don't have the ooomph. Anyway another drag squealing fight got me a 19" incher (this is the American way) that kept running at me and at one point was trying to go through my legs. It did a proper 360 round me and generally had my off balance until I got the bugger. Another of similar size took a few casts later and this was turning into a red letter day. The bigger fish were in the main stream and the bandies were sitting in the smooth water just above the ripples. I could catch the wee ones at will with a lift of the flies at the right moment. I ended up shaking the little ones off nut I had another couple of 1lb plus.
After an hour of non-stop I was getting cold so I went for a walk to warm up and decided to czech a faster stream on the right bank. Lots of little ones that I kept missing until I got a double take and had two bandies to unhook.
I was fishing from 11:30 to 18:00 in bright sunshine and cool winds. The action was pretty much non-stop and the fish were taking all day. Other anglers were catching although I had the biggest of the guys I talked to. The big fish are 27" and up. That is the standard of this fishery. All for $36 a year for us Wyoming residents.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

That was an interesting read.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

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Originally Posted by zeolite View Post
I was fishing from 11:30 to 18:00 in bright sunshine and cool winds. The action was pretty much non-stop and the fish were taking all day. Other anglers were catching although I had the biggest of the guys I talked to. The big fish are 27" and up. That is the standard of this fishery. All for $36 a year for us Wyoming residents.
Dare I say jealous?
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

I should add that I was writing this for a Scottish forum so maybe I should have added a glossary! (and done a spellcheck!)

Cracking day anyway.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

Zeolite: Great report, sure would have enjoyed seeing some photos of the big toads you were hooking into! With this warm wx, sprin run off can't be far behind. Just got back from Jackson and noticed that the Hoback is already running off color from the snow melt.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

Had a very warm almost humid day here in Casper today so I am off out tomorrow to see what I can find.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

zeolite

Thanks for the great report! I trust the camera is now sitting the charger waiting for the next trip.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

Im headed to the grey reef next month when its a bit warmer any advice? seems like you know what your doing in this water!
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: Grey Reef North Platte 8th April

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Originally Posted by heck View Post
Im headed to the grey reef next month when its a bit warmer any advice? seems like you know what your doing in this water!
Heck: Zeolite was fishing the Reef when the water was at the winter flows (normally 550 CFS), but now the water is at 3,300 CFS. It can still be very excellent fishing, but is better from a boat if you have one available, be sure to pickup a North Platte River map from one of the fly shops you will find some nice public access points, just be sure to get out early for the best spots. Also note that Zeolite was using a 7 wt to combat both the wind and the big fish although a 5 wt will work. Check out the river reports for recommended flies: Grey Reef Fishing Reports, Gray Reef Fly Shop, Guide Service

http://www.northplatteflyfishing.com/fishing-report/
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