As the snow starts to melt its time to start thinking again about the big springtime rainbows that prowl the Platte! These fish are famous for their long hard runs,acrobatic leaps and unparalleled beauty. Also, they have wintered very well! Big, fat and beautiful!
The season is off to a great start and we have already turned in a lot of great days on all our permitted tailwaters. With all the snow in the high country 2023 promises to be amazing.
The Guides and I are super stoked to get back on the oars. We have had a had a very cold and snowy winter and you can only tie so many flies before you have to go out and test a few. The guides have been guiding a lot but the fishing has been so good that most of them are also fishing themselves on their off days. Our favorite way to target fish in winter and early spring is trout spey.
Here is Pro staff guide Cass Huber’s take on it.
We’ve been Swinging Spey for trout for over 15 years on the North Platte and Bighorn
Gear of choice is a 5-7wt two hander on account of size of wish and possible wind. Floating head and light tips. 10-12 lbs leaders in 18-24” range
Flies of choice are articulated streamers such as rusty or Goldie or soft hackle nymphs
Water your looking for depends on time of year. Summer at the top of moderately heavy riffles. Colder months in the slower water near the tail out.
Presentation. Casting quartering down stream with little to no mend. These fish aren’t steelhead and want that bug moving with a broadside presentation.
Wait to set until the fish has turned with your fly.
The Fishing Has been great all our permitted waters lately. So lets jump right in.
Gray Reef:We are right in the middle of the flush so it’s a great time to get out the larger bugs apposed to midges.Midges will still work but its more fun to get them on a big bug or a streamer!Some of our favorites during the flush are squirmy worms in purple and red,leeches in pine squirrel or mohair (all colors) with a hot head.Crawdad patterns are taking fish as well as Scuds.Orange, Olive, and Purple back are the colors of scud that have been producing. Basically while they are flushing the river have fun with it and go bigger then you normally would because the flush washes larger bugs off the banks into the river.
Miracle Mile:As of today the road to the mile is open and dry for the most part.This is a great time of year to fish the mile if you can get there.Watch the weather, the mile road can get very nasty very quickly.Once your there focus on the deeper runs,these fish are holing up hard and once you find one you can usually catch several.Leeches are always a good choice as well as rockworms, eggs and squirmy worms for a top fly.Drop off that with a scud in orange or olive,or a hot head sow bug in pink or tan size 16 or 18. As far as little bugs go,we like the mayhem midge in black, purple or gray.As well as barbwire midges in black and red.
Fremont: Fremont canyon has been fishing well.The meadow has been fishing the best for me.Focus on the top of the runs right at the drop off.As far as nymphs go it is very similar to the mile.Scuds or a rockworm on top with a mayem midge, barbed wire or Mcruber dropped off.The water is very clear so make sure you approach the runs from below and throw up over their shoulder.Try a mini rig in the evening short leader two to three feet to a micro split shot and two bugs.
Big Horn:The big horn has been a blast so far this spring the big fish have been showing up.Our favorite nymph rigs involve purple back scuds and a hot head sow bug.The fish are feeding in the runs but make sure to check the tailouts.Some of my larger fish this spring have come out of the middle of the run and down to the tail out.Don’t be afraid to strip a streamer if you get a cloudy day.Our favorites are the Rusty Trombone, Sex dungeon, and the vanilla bugger.Swinging those same flies can also be productive.This is truly myself and the guides favorite time of year to hit the horn!