Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Being Guided on the Grey Reef (N. Platte River)

For the second day of the trip, the primary reason my Dad flew out here, was to be guided on the Grey Reef section of the North Platte River, south of Casper by the Platte River Fly Shop. Earlier in the week, we noticed that the forecast was going to be windy, and on one of our follow up phone calls, they recommended that we bump our time to meet at the shop to 7am. So on Friday morning, we got up, ate some excellent breakfast at the Hampton Inn in Casper, then hit the road. We arrived at the shop almost exactly at 7am.

After we arrived and made introductions, I lined up my rod, while the guide lined up Dad's. The guides in the shop looked at each other, grinned and said stained water, 2X leaders will work just fine. They rigged us up with a Pine Squirrel Leech, trout egg, and at the start, a san juan worm on the bottom.

We stowed our rods in the boat, put our waders on, and trucked out to the boat launch site below Grey Reef Dam. While our guide parked his truck we saw a couple boats that launched ahead of us already into fish on the first run. We were pumped!

It was time to go... now of key note, this was my first time using my new Orvis Clearwater reel. As a result, I didn't check the drag very closely, which was about to be costly. Our first pass down the run, I get my line into the seem perfectly and on my first cast, I hook into a monster. However, my drag is set way to loose. The fish takes off with line like it's nothing, Realizing how loose my drag is, I start palming the reel to slow him down, and once he stops, I hold the line taught, so that i can re-position my hand and adjust the drag. During that crucial few seconds, He tries to take off again, my rod corks over double. I have the base up at 45 degrees, and my rod tip is nearly in the water, and with that a couple of headshakes and the line goes limp as the trout goes free. By his feel he easily topped the 24" rainbow I caught the fall before. Ugh! The guide looks at me, and just says, well we got that out of the way early!

Our guide, Colter, backrows us to the top of the run again, and this time, I land a solid rainbow. However, my Dad is in the boat, and I really want him to catch a fish. As it goes, Dad gets a few hits, but doesn't land that first fish just yet. After the second run, I'm up to 4 fish total. Dad has a couple more hits, and one brief battle where the fish gets off with a Long Distance Release. Finally a few minutes later, Dad gets another hit, gets the fish onto his reel pretty quickly and the guide nets the fish. I tell Colter that is his first fish on a fly so I want a picture. He pulls the boat into a back eddy, and below, Dad's first trout on a fly!

Dad holds onto his first trout on the fly
Now that the skunk is off us both, we both start catching fish. Dad gets a better feel on mending, and being in the front of the boat starts to land more fish then me. As we continue down the river, the scenery nevers goes below beautiful.

We both continue to catch some nice fish, though the lower runs aren't nearly as stacked as those first 4 or 5 runs we hit on the float trip. If I could, I think I would just hit those all day long!

A poorly held, but decent rainbow

Dad battles a trout boatside

Holding a healthy Rainbow colored up for the spawn

Dad holds a nice rainbow

Out guide Colter, holds one ofDad's larger rainbows of the day

Dad battles a rainbow

A nice size rainbow brought to net
This stretch of the river isn't know for its brown trout, our guide says that he normally nets 2 or 3 a season. Luckily Dad was able to hook and land one as well. He learned that while both are trout, browns fight quite differently!

A nice N. Platte Brown Trout
As the day continued along, our shoulders got tired, and eventually we worked ourselves down the boat ramp. But as luck would have it, I would manage to catch a boat ramp rainbow just before our take out.

Boat Ramp Rainbow!
As the day ended, we both learned a lot, and the fishing was incredible. If you ever need a guide, I highly recommend the guys at N. Platte River Fly Shop. They know what they're doing and they work hard to keep you on the fish, even on a windy day like the one we had. The Grey Reef definitely lives up to its name. Those fish were hungry, and the action was great, even on the stained water.

Until next time, tight lines everyone!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Introductions to Fly Fishing

For my birthday this year my wife got me the gift of a guided trip on the Grey Reef of the N. Platte River, outside Casper, Wyoming. Originally she was supposed to come along for the trip as well. But being only the occasional fisher-lady, she forgot about the trip and planned to host a dinner get together with some of her friends the night before our trip. As a result, we called up my Dad and asked if he wanted to make a trip out from Ohio and go on the trip with me. He said yes. It was his first time fly fishing, so through some friends in the fly fishing world, I found the guys at Mad River Outfitters who would be able to give him a quick lesson.

So Thursday arrives. I spend the early part of the morning cleaning the house for the party that night. I then head on my way to Casper to pick up Dad. As I'm approaching the airport, I see Dad's airplane coming over the mountain, and then across the road as he makes his final approach.
Dad's plane crossing the highway
After picking him up at the airport, we head over to Sportsman Warehouse and grab him a pair of waders, boots and fleece liners to help keep out the chilly wind that is being forecast. We also pick up his fishing license.

We then head out to the N. Platte River. I take him the scenic way so that he can grab a nice view of Fremont Canyon.
Looking upstream at Fremont Canyon
We then arrive to the Cardwell public access area below Pathfinder damn. As expected, there are a few other fisherman on the river. As approach the river, Dad being new to the fly fishing game walks next to the river and spooks a nice rainbow. As the day moves along, we both get into our casting groove, my Dad getting more practice, and me shaking my rust from the long winter. We have no luck on this day, though I did have a strike.

To Be Continued...