North Platte Winter Fly Fishing | Grey Reef, Miracle Mile, Fremont

North Platte Winter Fly Fishing | Grey Reef, Miracle Mile, Fremont


Stream Flows: Mile & Reef @ 500 CFS, 75CFS @ Fremont
Clarity: Reef- Clear, Mile & Fremont- slight;y off color
Hatches: Good midge activity beginning around 10AM at all three
Weather: Absolutely Beautiful for January!
Recommended Flies: Reef Worms, Pine Squirrel & hot head leaches, #14-18 orange, tan & rusty scuds, #12-16 Reef Worms,  #18-20 Zebra Midges (Black, red)
Streamers: Signature Intruder (Olive, Black, & Snowflake), String Leeches (Olive, Black, Brown), Pick Your Pockets (Orange), Gonga (Black, Brown, Tan), Rusty Pine Squirrel Leech on tubes.

Find Out More about Guided Trips on the North Platte this Spring!

Grey Reef Fishing Report 1/1/12
We arrived at Grey Reef around 10:30AM on New Years day and pretty much had the entire North Platte River to ourselves for four strait days.  The first spot we checked out was Outhouse Hole which has changed drastically after a summer of high water.  The main run which used to slice Outhouse Hole right down the middle now pushed hard against the river right bank which is now private.  If you’re nymph fishing, you can still reach fishy water at the top of of the run, but to hit the tail out of the the run while wade fishing will require a pretty long cast across some frog water to reach the main run.  Lucky for us, we came to play with 12-13’ rods which at this flow can cover Grey Reef from bank to bank with streamers.  My first fish of 2012 came on the first couple casts swinging an olive String Leech down and across the top of Outhouse.  After fishing through Outhouse we headed up towards the dam. Mark nymphed and I swung.  We hit fish in the long flat below the dam and across from the boat ramp just before dark.  This was a pretty cold day and Ice in the guides was a problem throughout out the day.

One of Ty Clifton’s mole leech style string leeches starting things off right
Mark connecting on a nice one below the dam at grey reef

Miracle Mile Fishing Report 1/2/12
On day two of out trip we headed out to the Miracle Mile.  A little wind but all and all, about as nice of a day as you could ask for in Central Wyoming for this time of year.  We started the day on the lower river and Mark came tight with his first swing fish just minutes after me showing him how to throw a river left “kackhanded” cast.  A great male brown to start the day. Shortly after a hit a pair of respectable rainbows at the tailout of a  a run.  Nothing beats a Miracle Mile swing fish….they hit streamers as hard as any trout I have ever seen. After working our way through the first run, we headed up stream to a spot I had done well last spring only to find a big shelf of thin ice where I’d normally like to stand.  So I had to get well upstream of the spot and make a really long cast downstream to reach the spot.  With persistence I was able to reach my spot, and hit two more fish. Check out the video at the top of the page as we were able to capture both of these takes on video!

Orange Intruder was HOT on the Mile!
Mark’s first swing fish!



Grey Reef Fishing Report 1/3/12
Day three found us back at Grey Reef for some more swing action. We fished the cables all the way to Outhouse and once again had the river to ourselves.  The morning started off well for me at the bottom of the cables in to the meet hole. I had tied up some pine squirrel leeches on tube flies that I thought might be better swing flies than if they were tied on the standard 200r. My reasoning being that although I have swung the pine squirrel wish some success, I constantly get short strikes with this fly.  Tying it on a tube keeps the stinger hook just behind the tail avoiding any short strikes.  This was definitely my most lights out morning swinging of the trip.  We finished the day at lusby looking for the big N. Platte brown which never came.  A couple average rainbows and one nice cutthroat to finish out the evening.

The water around the cables makes for great swing water
Nice Cutty couldn’t resist one of Ty Clifton’s Intruders

Fremont Canyon Fishing Report 1/4/12
On our final day of the trip we contemplated floating, but we had heard some whisperings about some large fishing coming from Freemont Canyon lately so we wanted to go check it out.  Feeling swung out after three days of big rods and big flies, I grabbed the 11’ 4wt switch and tied on an indicator for the first time in four days.  We walked into the canyon as far as we could just below the Meadow section and it took me a little while to get it dialed in at these low flows, but once I did it was non stop action.  On this day the trout who call Fremont Canyon home learned a lesson called don’t eat the bead.  Fortunately, I was able to give them that lesson. I didn’t find any monster fish (30” plus) but did net a few fish over 20” and countless fish 16-18”. Mixed in some streamers from time to time which produced fish in the deep slow stuff.

Introducing the Double Gonga to Fremont Canyon Rainbows
Beautiful, healthy fish all day long at Fremont

All and all, a great way to start 2012 and I am anxiously awaiting two months of fishing and guiding this amazing river come April and May!

If your heading to the North Platte this winter-don’t forget the Ketchum Release Tool! This catch & release tool makes removing hooks easy, and keeps your hands warm.


It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

More Articles