Monthly Archives: August 2008

North Platte Fishing Report

In mid-July I was lucky enough to spend an entire week in Wyoming. My family and I stayed at a ranch on the North Platte River just outside of Encampment, Wyoming. The North Platte was flowing high due to significant snow melt. The conditions were great and we were able float the river three times.
Nice Brown on a North Platte Float
Tackle and Techniques are slightly different out West in comparison to the East coast. We were mostly fishing with five and six weights where on the Gunpowder we typically use three and four weights. On larger water a larger rod is necessary. Big flies and large trout are easier to handle on a five weight rod rather than a three weight rod. I fished a nine foot Thomas and Thomas five weight matched with a Bauer M2SL for most of the week. My weight forward five weight SA Sharkskin line was perfect for shooting large hoppers to the banks of the Platte. We also used a Winston LT 8 foot 9 inch five piece, five weight rod. These pack rods are easy to travel with and are ideal for your next trip out west.
Throughout the week, bug activity was tremendous. My Dad and I hit a prolific green drake hatch on the Encampment River one morning. On the Platte, pale morning duns in sizes #12-14 were coming off in the early hours of the day. The caddis hatch in the evening seemed to bring almost every fish in the river to the surface. The caddis were in sizes #12-20. If a size #12 elk hair caddis didn’t produce, than a smaller size #18 would get the job done. Many large and small stoneflies such as yellow sallies were abundant throughout the week. Each day I found large stonefly shucks in the size #4-6 range on boulders near the banks of the river. In between hatches I fished large hoppers tight to the bank. Some of the more productive patterns included the Rainy’s Grand Hopper, the Schroeders Hopper, and the Joe’s Hopper. Three and four-x leaders were as light as you could go when fishing large dries. A Copper John or Caddis Pupa dropper accounted for many of the fish we caught during the middle hours of the day. We landed many rainbows and browns in the 14-17 inch range throughout the week.
Encampment River Brown Trout
My friend, Will Simmons, from Houston, Texas, was lucky enough to nymph up a 29 inch wild rainbow below the confluence of a large tributary on the Platte. It was easily the fish of the trip. Also note, a bigger net comes in handy for larger western fish. We carry a rubber mesh catch and release Wolf Moon net with a 15 inch handle and a 18 by 8.5 inch frame. All in all the fishing was superb!

Fishing Multiple Rivers and Dealing With Invasives

On Western Maryland excursions I spend mornings fishing the North Branch in my Patagonia Watermasters and Sticky River Walkers, and use my extra Cloudveil waders and 8X Stealth Boots on the Savage for the evening hatch. It is too easy to shrug off concerns about invasives and wade from one fishery to another in a 24 to 48 hour period without treating, or changing into new gear. The issue isn’t being the first to contaminate another fishery, or whether others are disregarding protocol, but the problem becomes the increased frequency of spore loading, especially when leaving the North Branch or Gunpowder to fish other rivers. Every time an angler enters one fishery after leaving an infected one it increases the exposure levels and thereby can increase chances for infection of whirling disease, transfer of Didymo or other invasives.
Close Up Sole Shot
Cleaning methods can allow fishing two rivers in the same day, but is usually NOT recommended, with felt soles due to the inability to disinfect and scrub ALL particles from the porous sole. Consider this recent article on a proposed felt sole ban in a New Zealand Paper after the spread of Didymo has reached both North and South Island fisheries. Two more Didymo outbreaks in July 2008 made US papers in the North East with the Mad River in Vermont and the Elk in West Virginia.
Despite the presence of invasives in Maryland while fishing the Gunpowder, Savage and North Branch this past month I managed some nice trout on each river.

This video post highlights trout from these tailwaters; Big rainbows in the three to five pound range, on the Gunpowder of all places, wild Savage River browns and a nice North Branch rainbow.

Trico Hours at Backwater Angler…We’re open at 8:00 AM Saturdays and Sundays through August

The Gunpowder river is flowing at 74 CFS, is 54 F and clear.
August has historically provided excellent dry fly fishing opportunities to early risers. Tricos are massing at Masemore. Tricos, midges, small caddis and ants are likely candidates before noon. Hoppers, Crickets, Beetles and streamers should round out most afternoons along the river.

If you’re fishing from the armchair this weekend, we’ve provided a glimpse of what you’re missing in the following historical posts:

From August 3, 2007, Trico Hatch on the Gunpowder River, Maryland

From August 1, 2006, Excellent Fly Fishing on the Big Gunpowder Falls Advisory

From August 5, 2005, Ants, Beetles, Hoppers…

From August 3, 2004, Water is Clearing and Dropping…

From August 8, 2003, Chance of Rain till September…

Backwater Angler will be open from 8:00 AM till 4:00 PM every Saturday and Sunday through the month of August! We’ll have fresh baked goods and coffee from the Filling Station on Saturdays and Sundays so stop in early and enjoy breakfast on us!