Grey Reef: Big Trout!

by K. Christopherson and Jason Ostrander; Photos by Jason Ostrander

What's so special about Grey Reef? Whether you've fished it or not, you probably know one of the answers - the RAINBOWS!

This North Platte tailwater section, situated southwest of Casper, does not look or fish like a typical Rocky Mountain river. It meanders through Wyoming grasslands and can demand patient angling. Yet, atypically, it harbors some of the largest rainbow trout in Wyoming.

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A springtime Cutthroat caught at Grey Reef Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers Female Brown caught on streamer in mid-May. Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers

One great advantage of the Grey Reef section is that you can enjoy fly fishing by either wading or floating. There are several access points for wading - the section directly below the dam can get a bit crowded at times, and can be demanding if releases are high. Tire of this and you can go downstream. You'll need a heavier rod than on most Wyoming rivers (7 or 8-weight), fluorocarbon leader and tippet, plenty of nymphs, and weights. Dry fly action can happen, with hoppers during parts of the summer!

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Bass fisherman converts with a nice Rainbow. Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers Mel with 1 24" Rainbow during the Golden Stonefly hatch.  Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers

Patience is a virtue in the hunt for these rainbow trout. A quiet drift may be met by a subtle strike. Then, a good test of your landing abilities. Be sure to have the net handy! And be gentle with catch and release so that these gorgeous trout can live to see another angler, much less spawn when time comes.

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A mid-summer fish. Grey Reef is kid-friendly. Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers A 32" fall Brown trout caught on a streamer. Fish of a lifetime! Large fish have been hooked, but not landed. Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers

Floating the tailwater is a great way to experience not just the angling, but this portion of Wyoming. A float trip can last half a day or more. The river is gentle - drift boats probably work best. But rafts or even float tubes can also be used. A large streamer (the conehead variety) followed by a nymph should offer you plenty of strikes. Believe me, the challenge will come in setting and landing the large trout!

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Gene with a 27" Rainbow, 16" girth. Gene is 91 years old here. Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers A 29" female Brown caught in late May on a streamer. Photo courtesy Grey Reef Anglers

Drifting is a peaceful and relaxing way to experience a flyfishing day. It's also a good method to introduce youngsters or friends to the sport since a float trip provides other activities besides fishing (for example, your friend rows while you flyfish). Kids can have fun enjoying the boat experience, as well as looking for wildlife such as pronghorns and hawks.

Needless to say, make a trip to Grey Reef. Almost any day of the year this tailwater will present you with a good time.

All content and photos © 2009

Grey Reef Visit Grey Reef Anglers website, and book the trip of a lifetime

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