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!