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.
Currently temperatures are warming, and we're starting to see the beginning of runoff. Our snowpack is still very solid, hovering just slightly above average. Despite this season's typical ups and downs, we're hopeful we'll have a great year on the water. We've seen temperatures in the upper 60s, followed by freezing temps and snowstorms— all within 24 hours. These irregularities in weather have caused our flows to bounce, yet we're forecasting they will rise and peak in late May or early June. We've already seen flows over 2000 cfs on the North Platte, and pushing 1000 cfs on the Encampment this spring. This gives us hope that much of the sediment has been washed away, making for clearer flows throughout runoff.
Right now the name of the game is big nymphs (stones, mayflies, worms) and streamers (color depends on water clarity; dirty water go bright or dark, clear water go neutral). This should stay this way throughout May and into June. Once June arrives, we should see the flows
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 rouge 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.
There’s a beauty to the North Platte that can’t be found anywhere else. It courses steadfastly through steep pine tree-covered canyons with dramatic rock formations, and anglers across the nation seeking a world-class fishing experience visit it for it’s incredibly healthy ecosystem.
The word Platte is French for “flat river.” In its upper reaches, the North Platte River is considered a freestone river, meaning it is a free-flowing, ideal fishing environment without the presence of dams. Brush Creek Ranch has exclusive access to over 10 miles of world-class private water on the Upper North Platte. Additionally, our guides fish and use public put-ins and take-outs for floats, making the angling opportunities endless.
Tributary of the Missouri River, the North Platte River merges with the South Platte River to become the “Platte River”, the Platte empties into the Missouri, the Missouri empties into the Mississippi, and then into the Gulf of Mexico. At over 1,050 miles long, the Platte is one of only three rivers in the continental US that flows north/south for over 100 consecutive miles. The river originates about 50 miles south of the Ranch in North Park, Colorado, and flows north to central Wyoming where it starts turning to the East. In North Platte, Nebraska it meets up with the South Platte River and then becomes the Platte River.
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.