Grey Reef Fy Fishing Overview
The Grey Reef stretch of the North Platte River formed below the Grey Reef Reservoir, has been recognized as a trophy Blue Ribbon tail water. The flush and flow management, coupled with the artificial fly and lure only regulations, have produced the best wild rainbow trout fishery in the West and aptly referred to as the last untouched tail water in the West. Many say that Grey Reef fly fishing is what the Bighorn and San Juan were like 15 years ago. This is the most productive and consistent stretch for large trout on the North Platte River. The upper 12 miles of the Grey Reef has over 8000 fish per mile with an average of 16-19 inches. You can see why American Angler Magazine named the Grey Reef the #1 section in the lower 48 states for number and size of trout. The 36 miles of river above Casper and 30 some miles below, offer world class Trout fishing with a legitimate shot at a 10lb fish. If you want a legitimate chance at a rainbow or brown of a lifetime, come fishing with us on the North Platte River below Grey Reef. Here you will be out numbered by fish and wildlife, not other fisherman. But don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself what Grey Reef fly fishing is like.
Story by Shannon Kiser-“The cover picture on a fly-fishing magazine caught my eye recently. A guide from a lodge in Alaska was holding a pig rainbow. This, somehow, got me to thinking of all the folks who travel to Alaska every year in pursuit of these big fish. Why would you travel so far? Or pay so much; when a place in the lower 48 has fish of this caliber to offer? These anglers are obviously unaware of the North Platte tailwater at Grey Reef.
Situated on the high windswept plains outside Casper, Wyoming is the last untouched tailwater in the west. A glimpse of what the San Juan and the Bighorn were fifteen years ago. Home to trophy rainbows and browns without the traffic or pressure associated with tailwaters today. 100 boats per day: not here. 30 boats per day: not here.
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 the taking.”
If your looking for one of the best rivers in the West and Grey Reef fly fishing guides who are smart, educated, experienced and fun, you’ve come to the right place! Make sure to read their testimonies on our testimony page and check out their google & yelp reviews. Our Grey Reef fishing guides are top notch.
Grey Reef Float Trips
The most productive way to fly fish the Grey Reef is no doubt by taking one of our Grey Reef Float Trips! When you float, your covering a lot of fresh untouched water. Instead of trying to coerce the fish you just caught with sore into biting again, your flies are in the water for a long time resulting in one thing. More fish! If your looking for the best time on the river or to put a friend or customer on the most amount of fish possible. Your best choice is a Grey Reef float trip! Check out our Grey Reef float trip rates.
Our Grey Reef Fishing Guides
When you choose a Grey Reef Fishing Guide, make your first experience a good one! Do your homework and read testimonies and reviews. Not everyone can work for Wyoming Anglers. When you fish with us you can rest assured that your Grey Reef fishing Guide has been trained, tested and approved. We want you to have the best possible experience fly fishing Grey Reef and we take our reputation very serious, so we put a lot of effort into making sure you have a patient professional. We only hire the best and that’s a guarantee!
Grey Reef Fishing Seasons
The Grey Reef is one of the only rivers of it’s kind that you can fish 365 days a year and catch the biggest wildest Trout in the lower 48..The abundance of bug life and the consistent water temperatures make it a year round fishery.
Winter Fishing: (Dec-Feb) Most fisherman are unaware of the excellent fishing that happens in the winter on Grey Reef.The Wyoming weather keeps many at home. But if you do your home work and dress appropriately there are periods of warmer calmer weather that allow the angler opportunities for great winter fishing. And to top it off, there are no crowds.This is probably when guides get out and fish the most. Midge hatches this time of year are abundant and create opportunities for dry fly fishing, but nymphing is predominantly the most productive. If you pump the contents of fish this time of year you will find leeches, scuds, & midges. Also if a guy is patient and really slows his strip down, like only one piece of clothing at a time. He can get into some of the Giants the Grey Reef is known for. No need to plan to far in advance. We understand you need to stay tuned to the weather and call us last minute.
Spring: (March-May) The spring is probably the most well known time of year to fish here. The fishing here is pretty hard to beat this time of year. The thick baetis hatches do create some great dry fly opportunities. This isn’t the best time of year to throw streamers but big fish lerk on this river and are often taken during all seasons on the Grey Reef.
Summer: (June-August) The summer is one of our favorite times to fish. Even though crowds seem to find other things to do. The whole river system is usually clear by now from runoff. The guides are able to spread out and have 36 miles of river above Casper on the Grey Reef to fish and that many or more downstream. More hatches are available this time of year than any other. This makes dry fly fishing opportunities common. Pale Morning Duns, Yellow Salley Stones, Tricos, psuedos, caddis, and crayfish are all on the summer menu for Grey Reef Trout.
Fall: (Sept.-Nov.) Another one of our guides favorite time for fishing the Grey Reef. The biggest percentage of Trophy Brown Trout are taken during this season with most of them from mid October through November. This is probably the most productive time to fish streamers but there are definitely good dry fly opportunities with Tricos, Psuedos, and Caddis still lingering. And of course the nymphing is usually always good.
Grey Reef River Descriptions
Grey Reef dam to Cole Creek Bridge 24 miles below Casper
Grey Reef Dam to Lusby: This stretch of river has the most consistent fishing, highest volume of Trout, and consistently the largest size of fish on the North Platte River, hands down. The overall average size of fish is 17-19 inches. This 8 mile section is clear and fishable by boat or on foot 365 days a year. There might be a couple of weeks in January when it freezes for a few spots but that has never stopped our guides from fishing it! Generally if the river does blow out it blows out roughly 4 miles from the dam leaving 4 miles clear and fishable. Only a few times in the season will the upper 8 miles be dirty and unfishable. But when it is, we have other options that don’t blow out like Fremont Canyon, the Grey Reef afterbay, and the Miracle Mile. This high desert plains looking section is slow meandering with riffles every 300-500 yards. This section has some readable water, but has a lot of deep runs that holds a tremendous amount of fish that looks no different than any other froggy dead water. We recommend floaters stay away from this stretch who aren’t really familiar with how it fish’s after the beginning of August till October or Springtime. It gets really mossy and the riffles are dissolved. The waters below don’t deal with this volume of moss. There are slots that hold fish but aren’t really visible to the naked eye. You can get your butt kicked if you aren’t fishing it every day to know where the fish are. But if you have an experienced guide you can catch a good amount of big Trout. Once it starts freezing the moss will slowing start dying off. In early spring the flush and flow does a great job of clearing out the moss and making it clear and easy for floaters who don’t have a ton of experience again. The top couple miles on the river left is blm and wadable to the general public. After this, the river bed is primarily private until the very end of this section where you have a small piece of public.(maybe have a tab that describes the public & private on each piece)
Lusby to Government Bridge: This 4 mile section of the Grey Reef has some very nice riffles of medium depth but it has a few pretty long stretches of river that are very froggy. There are quite a few deep runs that hold fish. But when they begin doing the yearly release of water in the spring, these froggy stretches generally hold a lot of fish. The first couple miles on the river left is public and accessible to wade or anchor. After this, the river bed is primarily private. This section of river is also high plains looking. This portion of the river does not moss in August as bad as the upper 8 miles, but it is more mossy than below Government Bridge. You still see and great number of nice fish on this stretch as the top 8 miles with some fish measuring 14-16 inches. This section has 2 tributaries. Bear creek which is about 2.5-3 miles downstream of the Lusby, doesn’t completely blow the river out down stream. But the next tributary Bolten Creek has no problem blowing out the complete river system below this during a major storm.
Government Bridge to Whitetail: This 2 mile stretch of river also has some frog water but it can get skinny in low water and has many nice riffles. There are a handful of deep runs. The river left is all BLM and can be waded and anchored on in a drift boat by the general public. After runoff it usually becomes clear and fishable around June. Whenever we get a huge rain storm it can blow out. Fish tend to hold in a foot of water on this stretch, so don’t let the depth deceive you! Go short and light in summer months for big success. This is the last stretch on the Upper Grey Reef that has the high Plains feel. Fish in the 17 inch range are plentiful but you start to see more fish in the 14-16 inch range. Combining the two stretches and floating from Lusby to Whitetail can be a great float after about June when the water begins to clear from Spring run off. From here downstream the moss beds become much less of an issue from August on.
Whitetail to Sechrist: This 10 mile section is one of the prettiest stretches of river on the Grey Reef South of Casper. This is probably the longest consecutive public stretch on the Grey Reef. The first 3-4 miles river left is public with a few very small pieces of public scattered beyond that. This piece of water has the most amount of rocky riffles on the Grey Reef part of the North Platte River. A lot of these shallow riffles hold fish in a foot of water. Especially after May when the water temps start to rise dramatically. This section also has a good munger of deeper runs that hold fish year round. In recent years this section has a lot of fish in the 12-14 inch range with the occasional fish from 16-18. But don’t be fooled. This water has some monsters, and many are taken streamer fishing.
Sechrist to Heartnet: This 2.5-3 mile piece of water is one of my favorites! The river bed is primarily privately owned with a few time pieces of public. It has a lot of boulders and rocks and holds a lot of trophy Brown Trout. It also has a lot of riffles and deeper runs that hold fish. I have probably caught my biggest percentage of big Brown Trout on the Grey Reef on this section! But if your nymphing, the average fish size has been 12-14 inches with a handful of fishing measuring up to 18 inches in recent years. After guiding on these waters for more than a decade I have seen the cycles. The Trout size can very every year on these lower sections. There are a lot of deeper rocky riffles and runs. This section is uniquely placed in the middle of beautiful red bluffs.
Heartnet to Bessemer Bend: This piece of water is approximately 1-2 miles. It has many shallow riffles and a few deep runs that hold fish and is much like the stretch from Sechrist to Heartnet. It is primarily private with a 1/2 mile section of public water on the river left at the start of the fish hatchery. There are a lot of fish in the 12-14 inch range but we have had some rainbows 6 plus lbs also.
Bessemer Bend to Robertson Road: The mid section of this stretch has a public piece on both sides for about a mile but the rest of this float is primarily privately owned. In years past this 8 mile section of river was my fall favorite! With fish numbers so high recently, we have been seeing a lot of smaller rainbows in the 12-14 range. But again there are 15-20 inch fish scattered along the whole Grey Reef with trophies hiding in the shadows. This is probably one of the prettiest fall floats as there are many trees that change colors. These piece of river has a lot of riffles and a lot deep runs that all hold fish depending on the time of year. Your chances of seeing an abundance of wildlife on this stretch are high.
Robertson Road to Morad Park: This portion of the riverbed is mainly privately owned, but it does have a small piece river right mid way and the last half mile river right to the ramp. This 4 mile portion of the river is also a fall favorite(have to check exact distance). In recent years it actually has a bigger length of fish average than the few stretches above it. 14-17 inch fish are plentiful. It has a lot of vey skinny riffles when the water isn’t high. But again don’t be fooled. Many of these skinny riffles hold a lot of Trout if your willing go short and very light when the warmer water temps bring the fish into the riffles. The streamer fishing can often be good on this section when the streamer bite is on. Fishing is great but the fish numbers start decreasing dramatically from here downstream.
Morad Park to Mills Bridge: This small 2 mile section is another fall favorite. It starts in Casper and flows down through the subdivision of Mills. It is very similar to the stretch above it with a lot of skinny riffles that hold fish combined with a few deeper runs. Again it fish’s great but numbers are much lower than the upper Grey Reef.
Mills Bridge to Old Town Miniature Golf: Fish numbers are very low on this 2-3 mile stretch that flows through the heart of Mills Wy. down through the Casper White Water Park. When the river was low the Amaco Park put 4 structures in the river. This has made a great kayak park and definitely holds some lunkers in the depths. Recent surveys show that this is the deepest part of the Grey Reef with depths up to 17 feet.
Old Town Miniature Golf to Beverly St. Bridge: This section of the North Platte River flows through the heart of downtown Casper. It has a combination of some shallow riffles with more longer deep runs. Fish numbers are low but big Brown Trout definitely lurk waiting for food tempting enough to come out.
Beverly St. Bridge to Evansville Park: This section of river has a lot of shallow riffles. It has a few deep runs. Definitely some fish to be had especially on streamers in the fall.
Evansville Park to Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park: One of our favorite fall floats. This 10-12 mile stretch has a variety of water types. Many skinny runs combined with deep runs. This stretch can be good nymphing if you know how to fish it. It can also be a good streamer section in the fall. When the flows are low you wanna keep moving or this float can keep you on till dark.
Ekness Kimball WIlkins State Park to Cole Creek Bridge: This stretch has a lot of skinny riffles that hold fish if you fish it right. It is another of our favorite fall floats when then the streamer and dry fly fishing is on during the fall months of September and October. And if all else fails, nymphing is usually good mini riggging. This is another stretch that when the flows are low you wanna keep moving or this float can keep you on till dark.