Thursday, 16 August 2012

Wade Fishing the North Platte

I fished the North Platte river for two days as a last hurrah to summer fishing.  Jeff and I drove up Thursday morning abandoning all manner of important business that could not wait til Monday.  The water was running high out of the Gray Reef dam at 2600 cfs.  At this level wading is a challenge and many people seem to just stay away - which is fine with me,  In my experience, the fishing can be very good when the water is running this high.  

Jeff wading deep below the Gray Reef dam.
I rigged up the Sage 5 weight 11 foot switch rod with a standard two fly nymph rig with a large white thingamabobber strike indicator.  The long rod is pure pleasure on big water like the reef.  I hardly ever bother with a two handed cast there but, when you've waded out to within an inch of the tops of your waders, that extra length means a lot.  The rod is light enough to cast single handed all day and the extra length makes mending a breeze.

We hooked up and caught fish throughout the day.  My largest was about twenty inches, shown in my net in the photo at the top.  That fish, and many others, took a Mercury midge tied on a size 20 Dai-Riki #135 scud/pupa hook with a body of slightly off-white/cream thread instead of the standard white. I should give an update on the pattern I'm using now which is a bit different from the one in the previous post. This has been my go-to fly when midges are on the menu which is almost always.  Jeff had good luck with the fish taking a silver bead headed Zebra Midge tied on the same hook. 

Around five we ate what passes for food at the sadly unbearable Sunset Grill in Alcova. I've sworn this place off more than once and I end up there again and again, it's the only place to eat in Alcova.  The Sunset reeks of stale cigarette smoke which is embedded in the very structure of the place. The food is almost as unbearable as the air. Having previously eaten hamburgers there, I ordered the fish and chips. The freezer burned fish tasted no better than fried breaded cardboard.  In contrast to the Sunset Grill, we stayed in the newer cabins rented out of Sloane's General Store. Can't miss it, it's the only place to buy gas in Alcova. For some reason, they call the cabins The Inn at Alcova but they are commonly known as Sloane's cabins. They are clean, they have fully equipped kitchens and gas grills and run $90 per night for two.  If we'd known we were going to stay there we'd have brought our own food to cook for ourselves.
Bead head caddis pupa pattern proved very effective both days.
After we choked down our dinner we geared up to fish again below the dam until after dark.  Just about the the sun went down, caddis started coming off the water and, in the failing light,  I managed to tie on a bead head caddis pupae.  I started hooking up right away and landed eight fish before I started to get too nervous about wading in the dark through the deep trough that was between me and the shore.  A headlamp would have been an excellent idea.

We met up with John in the parking lot who had driven up from Laramie with his drift boat.  We made plans to meet in the morning to float the river which I've only rarely done before.

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