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Old 02-14-2013, 08:19 PM
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Default Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

Hello all,

I did a search of this info on previous posts but I still have tons of questions......

I am very interested in a combination backpacking/car camping trip to the upper North Platte area before the heavy runoff occurs. I am interested in doing roadside and hike in fishing on the North Platte from the town of Encampment, Wyoming to the Platte River Wilderness or Sixmile Gap area. I also want to explore the Encampment River area including a two or three night backpack into the Encampment River Wilderness. I just got back from the map store where I procured the Medicine Bow National Forest map of the area. As for fishing the North Platte, I am most interested in fishing the area around Bennet Peak Campground and/or where Big Creek joins the North Platte. My map shows lots of access roads, trails, and BLM boundaries. As for the BLM lands, is there private property on these lands? How much public access is available in this area of the North Platte River? My Nat'l Forest map doesn't indicate public access points. And more importantly I need areas either on BLM and/or NF land that offers open (car) camping out of my 4x4 truck. From my research all Nat'l Forest campgounds in the area will still be closed when I plan to come, so I'll need to find open camping on public lands.

And I should say that I'm not concerned with finding the largest fish and the best holes. I'm just looking for some nice, little out of the way areas where I can enjoy some quality fishing and camping.

I also plan on exploring most of the Encampent River inside the Wilderness area. Backpacking a backcountry river in the Spring is the reason why I'm coming to southern Wyoming, and I want to do it right. I haven't decided whether to park at the lower trailhead and hike and fish up the River. Or I may park at the upper trailhead and go down. Any recommendations here? And hints and tips to exploring the Encampment River? I've read some interesting reports on some obscure tributaries in the backcountry of the Encampment River? How about the backcountry camping within the Wilderness? Are there any open meadows along the Encampment or is it a steep walled canyon where campsites are tougher to come by? I was hoping to walk in 6-9 miles, make basecamp, and fish the heck out of a long stretch of river in the middle of the wilderness area. Or I would love to leave my car at one trailhead, walk the entire 16 miles between trailheads and hire a shuttle service. Anybody know if someone from the town of Encampment offers this service?

I plan on arriving in late April or early May. This should avoid the heavy runoff, yes? I'm hoping to find that perfect blissful week with the combo of nice, Spring weather and decent flows before the heavy runoff starts. I am aware this area might still have some lingering snow but I'll be prepared. I plan on monitoring the weather and adjusting my arrival. How are services within the town of Encampment? I just need a place to restock on gas, ice, basic food items, and possibly some booze.

Looking at the map, I see an interesting area: the North Platte River Wilderness. Is this a good area to backpack? I'm always drawn to designated wilderness areas. I have typical backcountry questions like how is the backcountry camping and how is the fishing deep in the wilderness?

I won't be seeking a guide as I plan on exploring all of these areas myelf. So I give thanks in advance for any and all help. Would love to see any pictures of the areas I've asked about.....thanks!!!

josh
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

Josh: That sounds like a great trip, I can answer some of your questions but not all. There is a very nice campground in Riverside that offers camping and cabins at very reasonable rates. Riverside is a small town (wide spot in the road) that has a gas station, bar, restaurant and I think a small grocery store. Lazy Acres Campground and Motel, Riverside, Wyoming
Encampment is a little larger but not by much.
I would call John at the Four Seasons Anglers Fly Shop in Laramie. They do guided trips on the North Platte and ask him what he thinks about your timing, pre-runoff, etc. Wyoming Fly Fishing Guides, North Platte Fly Fishing Vacations, Gray Reef Trout Guides
You might also call the Stoney Creek Fly Shop in Saratoga and ask them.
Stoney Creek Outfitters - Home
I've fished out of Bennet Peak Campground and I know that if you drift the river it runs into private land, but not sure how far down that actually is.....John from Four Seasons can give you that info.
From my general knowledge of that area, if you run into private property it is very well marked.
I haven't done any backpacking into the Encampment Wilderness area so I can't advise on which is the best approach.
Late April/early May will avoid the runoff, I'm just a little concerned about the wx that time of year. Ask John what he thinks and get a second opinion from the folks at Stoney Creek Outfitters.
I can't lay my hands on my Medicine Bow NF map, but I think you are talking about the area near the headwaters of the North Platte river up in the North Park area. I have never been in there, but have heard that it has some incredible fishing in the fall (haven't heard about the spring), hiking in from the north end, there is a public access point on the north end of the canyon off hwy 230. I think the reason folks fish into the canyon in the fall is the low water levels, at higher water levels you can't traverse the canyon. That brings up another point, all the public access points are pretty well marked with brown signs along the hwy 130/230.
Also there is a really good fly shop in Walden, CO (the headwaters of the North Platte), you might also give them a call and see what they have to say as they also guide on the North Platte. North Park Anglers
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

Thank you for the info, Larry.

As I do more research I think I am becoming more interested in the Platte River Wilderness Area. The Sixmile Gap and Pike Pole areas look right they're right up my alley for what I'm looking for. Anyone hiked and fished the NP through this stretch? And what about the Douglas Creek within the Platte River Wilderness. This tributary looks interesting.....anyone fished and explored it?

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Old 02-15-2013, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

Quote:
Originally Posted by countr21 View Post
Thank you for the info, Larry.

As I do more research I think I am becoming more interested in the Platte River Wilderness Area. The Sixmile Gap and Pike Pole areas look right they're right up my alley for what I'm looking for. Anyone hiked and fished the NP through this stretch? And what about the Douglas Creek within the Platte River Wilderness. This tributary looks interesting.....anyone fished and explored it?
As I said I don't have my Medicine Bow NF map so I might be confusing access points. You will like the Pike Pole Gap access point, if it is the one I'm thinking about there is some primitive camping at the end of the access road, then a fairly steep descent down to the river and some great fishing to be had. The Sixmile Gap access point road I have heard is really rough and should only be taken with a 4 WD vehicle in DRY wx. You will know when you get there as the road takes you to the top of a ridge and then really drops off going down to the river, so use caution on that access if you aren't in dry conditions. I've never fished over there that early in the year as hwy 130 going west from Laramie over the Snowies doesn't open up until Memorial Day. WDOT always shoots for Memorial Day to plow the road open. I've only known one year that they didn't make the goal. Douglas and French creeks are great places to fish if you can get in that early in the year. This year might be an exception if the low snow pack continues. Lambster came out and fished with me one year and his favorite river was Douglas Creek. I have a small book on the North Platte by Eric Pettine you can read if you will return it afterwords, if interested send me your addy in a PM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

If you go to Bennett Peak, you can camp at Corral Creek Campground (free) a mile before Bennett Pk on the left side of BLM 3404. This stretch of water - its a big oxbow bend - is pretty amazing. The river is about 200-250' wide and the wild trout are abundant.

If you do go there don't intrude on the private land upstream (Sanger Ranch property), or go too far downstream past Bennett Peak - that is the Brush Creek Ranch property. But this section is very nice and secluded. Send me a PM if you want some directions. I've been fishing this area for nearly 12 years now and it never gets old.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by cgrphoto; 02-19-2013 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

I've tried to fish the NP early the last couple years around the Routt access, and granted I didn't see the river everyday, but I get the feeling you have to get lucky to actually get good fishing anytime early because once the ice melts, runoff will be at full go, and you won't get clear water until it stops.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: Upper North Platte and the Encampment River

Beauty info, members!!! This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much.

Now I know what I am up against. Awesome trip possibly, and I shall post pictures as always!!
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