The North Platte River watershed is revered as one of the most iconic fly fishing destinations in North America, as well as the world. Flowing through expansive canyons and sloping valleys, its tributaries, including Brush Creek, French Creek, and the Encampment River, offer over 20 miles of pristine, exclusive private water access by way of rafts, drift boats, or wading.
Southern Wyoming has some of the most productive trout fisheries in the world, let alone the United States. We are positioned at the headwaters of the North Platte River, which is fed by snowmelt from our neighboring Snowy Mountain Range and Sierra Madre Range. This Blue Ribbon freestone fishery and its major tributaries offer float and wade fishing opportunities on some of the healthiest trout ecosystems in the world as it flows through a spectrum of stunning Wyoming landscapes. From steep rocky canyons to flat rolling sagebrush hills, and everything in between, even the most traveled anglers seldom get to experience such variety of landscape and fishing scenario within a small watershed. Prolific insect hatches throughout the year, thousands of trout per river mile—over 20 miles of private water across 30,000 acres of ranch land accessible by foot and boat— make this a destination fishery for any serious angler.
Flows are still great across all river systems in our Wyoming valley around the ranches. We are still floating both the Encampment and North Platte, however, flows are receding and float options will start to become more limited in the coming weeks. Up until now we have had cool water temperatures but the North Platte is starting to warm up. This is very typical for this time of year, often we start limiting our fishing opportunities in the afternoons due to warm water temperatures. We haven’t had to do this yet, but anticipate the need to do so in the next week or two. We still have plenty of options in the high country to “beat the heat”. Fishing has been and will remain good throughout the valley. Water temps will start dropping around mid-August and with the amount of water we have the fall season here should be nothing short of epic.
Most of our major hatches (Salmon fly, Green Drake, etc) have already come and gone. Terrestrials (such as hoppers, ants, beetles, spiders, etc) are
Wild Trout Species
The only type of fish we fish for is trout. Rainbow and Brown are the two most common catches, and are usually caught in about the same numbers and ratio. Certain areas can be more prolific with one or the other species, but it’s usually a relative even split. On occasion you’ll find a rogue Brook trout or Cutthroat Trout, but they’re not super prevalent within our fisheries. Your “average” North Platte River trout is usually a very healthy 12-16 inches with each summer, always bringing a handful of trophy trout over 2 feet long. The ecosystems of the North Platte River, the Encampment River, and their major tributaries are so healthy and have such an abundance of food that these trout grow large relatively quickly.
The Encampment River is one of the most notable tributaries of the North Platte River. It flows for 44.7 miles and originates just south of the Colorado/Wyoming border. Its upper reaches flow through the Sierra Madre National Forest, then enter the Encampment River Wilderness area.
The majority of the river flows through public land throughout its course. The only private water is found on the lower 1/3 of the river. Brush Creek owns two parcels of land along the Encampment, offering over 3 miles of exclusive river access for both wade and float trips. Eventually, the Encampment empties into the North Platte River, in between Riverside and Saratoga, WY. This river is known for its abundant and healthy bug and fish populations, offering some of the larger fish in the valley. The Green Drake hatch is the most notable hatch, and when it appears in late June or early July offers phenomenal dry fly-fishing.
The Best Times of The Year
It’s safe to say that fishing within our valley is always good. With such a variety of fisheries and drastic changes in elevation, you can always find a productive spot somewhere at any given time of the year, if you know where to look. That being said, we have several windows of time throughout the season that can be particularly good on the water.
Jon has spent time living and fishing for trout all across the country, originally growing in Colorado, he presently calls Southern Wyoming and the waters of the Platte River Valley home. Jon joined the Outfitting team as a fishing guide in 2014 and has spent every summer since guiding and learning our waters.