After Casey and I had such a great time up on Grey Reef in Wyoming over Casey's spring break, I called up my buddy Nelsen and planned a trip to head back up to try to get into the fish again - and sure enough we did!Grey Reef is unlike any other place that I have fished. The river is big and wide, the best way to fish it is to float it, and the fish are simply Huge! Every single one of them is huge - in fact, it seems to be difficult to catch a small fish - i don't get that part of it, but all I can say is, I've spend 4 days on that river this year and the smallest fish I caught or even saw was 16". The average fish up there runs about 18-20" and some do indeed get bigger. The best part is that they seem to be just about everywhere in that river.
We drove up the night before and stayed in Casper Wyoming. A guide runs about $400 a day + tip (its worth it on a rare occasion but obviously expensive). This time however, instead of a guide we just rented a boat from the Platte River Fly Shop on the south side of Casper. After the requisite browsing of the fly shop we grabbed a few supplies, hitched up the boat, and off we went. We put the boat in up at the Dam in Alcova, and spent the majority of our day fishing the top sections of the river where the water clarity was a bit better. It took us a little while to figure out which patterns were working, after asking three guides we got three different answers. We heard everything from these guys, leeches, annelids, midges, baetis, streamers... big stuff, small, stuff... The good news was that the fish were biting but trying to figure out what they were biting on was a bit of a challenge until the midge hatch really kicked off. Then it was pretty obvious. Ironically, the fly of the day turned out the be the Skinny "Nelsen"!
One BIG reason to get a guide: Rowing a boat is easy - Rowing a boat on a river such that the person fishing in the front of the boat actually has a chance to catch a fish - is a masterful art. If you plan on renting a boat, be prepared to get chewed out a few times by the guy fishing when taking your turn on the oars. It would appear that when you're on the fish but the boat is out of control such that you don't stand a chance at a decent presentation, the filter in our brains that normally keeps what we are thinking from being verbalized has the strong potential to become compromised. I regret to admit that as much as I tried to restrain myself, a bit of Captain Bligh came out when it was my turn to fish. Please accept my apologies Nelsen!
Aside from the incredible fishing, the scenery is spectacular as well! We saw several deer, antelope, rabbits, pelicans, wood ducks, and even an eagle from the boat on the way down the river. The big open skies, rolling hills and towering cliff banks make for some very intersting scenery.
These fish are just Awesome! Nice catch Nelsen, I can't wait until our next trip!