Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The North Platte River
(Gray Reef Tailwater) Wyoming
The Gray Reef tailwater on the North Platte River is
below Pathfinder, Alcova and Gray Reef Reservoirs.
Fly fishing the Gray Reef section of the North Platte
River can be good anytime during the year. This
tailwater isn't as popular as the Miracle Mile tailwater
that's below Seminole Reservoir, but it has some
advantages that Seminole doesn't have. Its flows
remain more stable and runoff doesn't affect it as
much. The North Platte from the Wyoming border
north to Seminoe Reservoir, is covered under this
section of our website.
The flows remain high during the Summer and
slightly off color but are fishable. From the first of
October until the end of April, its flows are low and
provide excellent conditions for fishing the tailwater. It
is a tailwater that you need to float. There isn't any
decent water access where you can wade. A drift
boat or pontoon type boat is the best way to fish the
Gray Reef tailwater.
The river consist of long, slick, smooth areas of water
with long sections of riffles between them. At certain
times of the year, during good hatches, dry fly fishing
can be good, but it's not very often. All things
considered, day in and day out, streamers and
nymphs will out produce other flies. It's one of the
best places you can fish to catch a large trout.
Trophy size rainbow and brown trout are as plentiful
as anywhere else in the nation. Its rainbow trout
average between 14 and 20 inches.
The biggest problem anglers have fishing the river is
wind. The wind usually blows just about every day
anywhere from 10 to 25 miles per hour. This is
another reason nymphs and streamers outproduce
dry flies. If you don't like fishing in the wind, you
probably won't like fishing Grey Reef. This is one
river where guides have to earn their money whether
you catch many fish or not. Boating handling is a big
key in the presentation of flies. The person on the
oars has as much to do with fishing success as the
North Platte River
(Gray Reef Tailwater)
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp
You can fish the Gray Reef tailwater
Winter fishing is usually good provided the
water isn't frozen.
April through June is one of the best times
for fly fishing the Gray Reef tailwater of the
North Platte River.
North Platte River (Gray Reef)
Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods at
the particular time you are fishing. Unlike the
generic fly shop trout flies, we have specific
imitations of all the insects in the North Platte
River at Gray Reef and in all stages of life
that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The hatches vary some depending on the
section of the river but the insects listed
below are plentiful throughout most of the
stream from its headwaters to its lower
section. During the early season, before
runoff, the main hatches consist of Western
March Browns and Blue-winged Olives. The
BWOs can start as early as March but April
usually is the most consistent time for the
hatch to begin. There's also a Fall hatch of
the BWOs. It usually takes place from late
September and throughout most of the
month of October.
Of course, midges will work well anytime the
water is too cold for most other insects.
There's also plenty of small black winter
stoneflies that hatch in the early season,
even when there's snow on the ground.
You will find some hatches of Salmonflies
become to come off in early July in the fast
water sections of the river. LIttle Yellow
Stoneflies are also plentiful in some areas in
late July and early August.
Within a week or two of the end of the
Salmonfly hatch in July, you will usually find
Golden Stoneflies beginning to hatch. The
hatch last into the month of August,
depending on the location on the river.Both
the Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies start
hatching in the lower section and move
upstream as the days go by.
The first caddisflies to hatch are the Little
Black Caddis, called the Mothers Day
hatch in most places in the West. This
hatch starts in the lower section of the river
in late April and last about a month. In late
June and early July, there's plenty of
Spotted Sedges that begin to hatch.
The next most important caddisfly hatch
are the Green Sedges. They hatch from
May through August, depending on the
species. Imitations of the Green Rock
Worms, or their larvae, work year-round.
In late June, usually before the runoff
ends, Pale Morning Duns will start
hatching. There are a few Green Drakes
that hatch but the numbers are usually
fairly low. There are also some Flavs, or
Small Western Green Drakes, but the
numbers of them are relatively low.
The PMD hatch will last most of the
summer and is the most consistent mayfly
hatch. In some areas of the fast water you
will find some Pink Ladies that hatch in late
August and September.
Late Summer, in August and September,
terrestrials will play an important role in the
trout's diet. Don't forget imitations of
grasshopper, ants and beetles.
North Platte River (Grays Reef) Fly
Fishing Report - Archive:
11/19/13 Customers using our Brown and
White Belly Sculpin catching some nice
The flows are normally high and fishing
can be slow during the summer.
Streamers are very productive during the
Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 line size
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
12/26/13 Local contact reporting little to
no fishing taking place due to very low
temperatures. The water temp is fine.
Getting there and frozen guides is a
01/09/13 We have not received any
fishing reports probably due to last
week's very cold weather.
Fishing Report Updated
May 15, 2017
(See Archive at Bottom Of Page)
01/16/14 A week ahead of clear weather
with no snow or rain in the forecast may
being some anglers to the river but it will
continue to be cold.
01/30/14 No reports of catches last week
but the weather has been lousy.
02/06/14 Same story, different verse,
going to get better, it CAN get worse. Still
02/13/14 Much warmer weather is in the
forecast for the coming week. While this
won't change the water temperature
much, it will be much better on anglers.
02/20/14 No reports of any catches but
conditions have improved with warmer
air temperatures and a good forecast
for the coming week..
02/28/14 Rain/snow through up to the
weekend, then clearing. Water is about 40
degrees and conditions are not bad
provided you can access the river.
03/06/14 A little better slightly warmer
weather is forecast but along with some
rain. No reports from last week.
03/13/14 No reports from anyone fishing
Grays last week.
03/20/14 Two customers ordering flies for
the GR, midges, BWOs, etc. but no
reports from anyone fishing.
03/27/14 The weather continues to warm
up some with little snow in the forecast.
This changes the water temp very little
but makes it better on the anglers.
04/03/14 Customer ordering streamers,
BWOs and other flies getting ready for a
May trip but no reports from anyone
fishing this past week.
04/10/14 There is much warmer weather
in the forecast for this coming week.
There is also some rain/snow forecast
over the weekend. We didn't receive any
reports from anyone fishing this past week.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
04/17/14 High flows have slowed the
opportunities and no reports came in from
04/24/14 Muddy water has hampered
the catching. No reports of any fish
caught this past week.
05/01/14 No reports came in from last
week. The water has cleared and
conditions have improved.
05/08/14 Current flow is 496 cfs with 45
degree water. No reports from anyone
fishing. Flows have been up and down.
05/15/14 Two customers reported
catching some very nice trout this past
week. They were wading, not floating the
river using mostly White Belly sculpin and
05/29/14 Expect discharges to be high
from rising water upstream for the next few
06/05/14 No reports from anyone fishing
this past week. The discharges haven't
06/12/14 Grey Reef water is currently
clear and very fishable. Keep a close
check on the discharges.
6/19/14 Water is still clear. One customers
reported catching a few trout. More insects
have shown up. Lots of caddis and some
Pale Morning Duns beginning to appear.
07/03/14 The river has been in good shape
and plenty of trout are being caught. Two
customers reported catching some nice trout.
07/17/14 Two customers giving good reports
this past week. The stream is up some but
PMDs and Caddis are hatching in good
07/24/14 Conditions have mostly been good
with mixed results. Hatches have slowed
down but otherwise, it is typical summertiime
07/31/14 Flows have been high most of the
time and few fish have been caught.
08/14/14 There have been good and bad
days, all depending on the discharges.
There are some big trout being caught both
drifting and wading when suitable.
08/28/14 Tricos are hatching along with
plenty of caddis. Still some PMDs and a
few Little Yellow Stoneflies.
09/11/14 Fishing has been slow, to say the
least. Only one good report came in during
the past two weeks. When the fishing is off,
local shops usually just refrain from
09/25/14 Blue-winged olives, midges, and
scuds are the main thing to be imitating. As
long as the discharges are okay, fishing
should be very good.
10/09/14 Blue-winged Olives, midges and
Scuds are working on the G. R. Just be
sure to check the current flows.
10/16/14 Not much change. Anglers are
catching fish as long as the flows are good.
Fewer hatches other than those mentioned
10/23/14 One good report from an angler
fishing our streamers. Midges and BWO
are the only hatches.
10/30/14 No reports from the past week
but conditions remain good.
11/10/14 No reports, too cold.of weather
12/25/14 No reports from the last two weeks
01/01/15 Still no reports but conditions
are not that bad. Let us hear from you.
01/15/15 One customer reporting gray's is
fishing very good. The weather has been in
the thirties and stream levels fine.
01/22/15 We didn't receive any reports from
the past week but conditions remain good.
02/05/15 Good weather has the roads in
good shape. Our customers have reported
catching fish for the past two weeks mostly
on small BWO nymphs.
02/12/15 Wow! What a nice February week
in Wyoming. Two customers reported
catching trout using our Brown Sculpin.
The water is not clear of ice below the
bridge but should be soon.
02/19/15 Nor reports from angler fishing last
week but conditions remain good.
02/26/15 No reports from anyone fishing
this past week
03/05/15 Still no reports from anyone fishing.
03/19/15 There has been some very nice
warm weather to fish the past two weeks. Two
customers reported catching a good number
of trout. The water is still a little cloudy.
03/26/15 No reports but conditions remain
04/02/15 Section between the cables is
closed to fishing this month.
04/23/15 Pre-run off conditions have paid
fairly good the few anglers that fished this
past two week. Levels have been fairly good.
05/07/15 We didn't receive any reports from
anyone fishing. 2400 cfs flows
05/21/15 Dingy water at 500 cfs exist. .
05/04/15 High flows due to runoff.
07/02/15 Runoff is over and conditions
greatly improved. Stable flows with lots of
aquatic insects are hatching and lots of trout
07/09/15 Good conditions. Shoot us an
email for an update on flies.
07/16/15 PMDs and Tricos, Spotted Sedges,
Green Sedges, Little Yellow Stones, Golden
stones and others.
07/23/15 Flows just above 1500. Mostly
nymphs are producing. Our PMD nymph is
your best bet.
08/06/15 One good report from a customer.
PMDs, Tricos, Little Yellowstones, Scuds
08/12/15 Great summertime conditions
continue. Good stream levels, some hatches
and some trout being caught on top.
08/20/15 Everything is in good shape but
we didn't receive any reports from anglers
09/03/15 Two good reports came in during
the past week. Good stream levels and
plenty of trout being caught on streamers.
09/17/15 Hoppers and tricos have been
working great but it is going to be much
cooler the next few days.
10/01/15 We received one good report from
the past week. Stream levels are fine and
the weather cooler. Great condtions.
10/21/15 Great flows (low) but clear water
and the big ones not so easy to get.
Streamers are picking up a few but very big
11/05/15 Great weather and good stream
conditions equals good fishing opportunity.
There have been some big browns caught
lately. Some are still spawning and some
are post spawn. Our Brown sculpin
streamer is the fly to use.
11/19/15 Great flows and they should
remain about 500 cfs for the next couple
months or more. Streamers are catching
some big browns for those who have fished
during the past two weeks.
11/26/15 Clear water, less weeds, good
stream levels and hungry trout are what
you will find on the Gary Reef.
12/03/15 Stream levels are good and
should remain good most all winter. Midges
and tiny BWOs, none baetis, are what you
should be imitating.
12/10/15 No reports from anyone fishing
the past week. Midges, small BWO nymphs,
and sculpin streamers should continue to
The stream levels are up high but it
is still possible to fish. We do not
recommend it under these
conditions. Wait until the runoff is
over to fish. It should be finished by
the end of June.
12/17/15 Conditions for the angler has got
much tougher. The tailwater trout are just
fine with the very cold weather and snow
that's in the forecast. The daily high
temperature won't exceed freezing this
coming week. Trout can be caught if you can
get there, dress right and fish. Use mIdges
and Winter stonefly nymphs.
01/05/16 The Gray Reef still has good flows
and good visibility. It is very cold but there is
no snow or rain in the forecast for the coming
week. Midges and winter stonefly nymphs is
the best choice of flies.
01/21/16 The North Platte Gray Reef is
flowing about 500 cfs and in good shape. Little
Blue-winged olive nymphs, size 18 and 20, and
Red and Cream midge larva and pupa are the
flies you need to have with you. The White
Belly sculpin works when the skies are cloudy.
02/16/16 The river at Gray Reef is still
flowing about 500 cfs and in good shape.
Little Blue-winged olive nymphs, size 18 and
20, and Red and Cream midge larva and
pupa are the flies you need to have with you.
03/24/16 The flushing of the water is finished
and the discharges and levels great for
fishing. Anglers are catching trout in good
numbers the past few days.
04/07/16 The river is flowing at about 500 cfs
and with a little stain. Midges, both creams
and reds, or blood midges, and little
Blue-winged olives are hatching.
04/21/16 There has been some heavy rain
in the watershed recently and you should
watch the flows. Right now they are at 500
cfs, but that is subject to change.
05/02/16 There is a lot of rain in the forecast,
so watch the levels. Last week one customer
caught three rainbows over 18 inches.
Conditions have been good.
05/19/16 The upper river is in the full runoff
mode and even though the Gray Reef is a
tailwater, all of the runoff water has to come
through. Expect high water for a few days.
06/02/16 The stream levels are high and likely
to be high for a while. Currently, the flows are
at 5500 cfs. It can still be fished with
06/09/16 How high it the water momma? Too
high to fish my dear son. It is runoff
time in Wyoming and the Gray Reef
06/16/16 The flows are running about 7,000
cfs, which is high and fast. Fish the slow sides
of the current seams with lots of lead. Midges,
fished in tandem, and little BWO nymphs will
work. Sculpin streamers will work good.
06/23/16 The flows are just over 5000 cfs,
because they are having to continue to bring
the lake down due to all the runoff water. It
can be fished with streamers, but in our
opinion isn't worth it unless you are local with
no other places to fish.
07/07/16 The river is flowing at 3555 cfs,
which is still fast and high. The water is
mostly clear with stain in some sections.
Nymphs and streamers will get some fish but
we don't rate it as good yet. The levels
should drop more this coming week
07/14/16 The flows are down to 2484 cfs and
the water mostly clear. Streamers like our
Brown sculpin are catching some nice trout
when there are low light conditions. There
are some Little Yellow stoneflies, or Sallies,
and plenty of Spotted sedges, or caddisflies.
07/21/16 Flows running 2506 cfs. Lots of
hatches are taking place including Pale
Morning duns, little Yellow stoneflies, spotted
and green sedges, and more. Sculpin
streamers are working very good in low light
08/04/16 The Reef is flowing along at 2504
cfs, Streamers like our Brown Sculpin and
Matuka Sculpin patterns are working good as
well as Pale Morning duns and Spotted
08/18/16 There are lots of Tricos. Morning
spinner falls and later hatches are keeping
the trout busy. There are still some other
insects hatching and hoppers are working
great as well. Customers are catching some
08/25/16 The reef is currently flowing at 1503
cfs. The river is in good shape for the later
part of August. There are huge Trico hatches.
Late morning spinner falls and hatches are
taking place. Early morning streamer fishing is
09/01/16 The floating grass bothers some.
but you get use to it. The levels are fine. Fish
the Trico morning spinner fall followed by the
Trico hatch. Late afternoon egg laying caddis
are bringing trout to the surface to feed.
09/08/16 The flows are at 805 cfs, which is
good for wading if you are careful. Trout are
being caught even on the surface. Hoppers
are working good. Tricos are still hatching
09/15/16 The flows are at 507 cfs. The water
is still a little warm for mid September but will
be cooling down soon. Mahogany duns are
hatching along with spotted sedges, Tricos,
and Blue-winged olives, size 18/20.
Terrestrials are working to some extent.
Sculpin streamers will work.
09/22/16 The flows are at 505 cfs. There is a
chance of rain everyday through Saturday
and the cloud cover should help a lot.
Terrestrials are still working good as well as
Tricos, little BWOs and Caddisflies.
09/29/16 The stream is flowing at 501 cfs and
that's a good level. There are plenty of
Blue-winged olives, Mahogany duns and still
some Tricos. There's also a few caddis.
Conditions are good.
10/14/16 The Tricos are gone and the
Blue-winded olives are in high gear. They are
mixed in with Mahogany duns. There is still
some weeds but they are beginning to
decline. Our Brown sculpin streamer will get
some big browns for you.
10/28/16 tt is streamer time on the Gray Reef
tailwater. Brown sculpin, White Belly sculpin,
Matuka Olive or Black sculpin are the top
11/13/16 The stream levels is at 498 cfs,
which is good, and Blue-winged olives and
Cream midges are hatching good. Great
weather and good fishing with some big ones
11/24/16 The stream levels are in good shape
at 500 cfs, Streamers have been working
good, especially our Brown Sculpin.
Blue-winged olives and Cream midges are
12/08/16 There is a lot of snow falling but the
water is in good shape flowing at 501 cfs.
Midges, creams and reds, are the only insects
hatching. Fish the larva and pupa imitations in
tandem with the larva the bottom fly
12/22/16 The river is flowing at 503 cfs, which
is fine. Getting there may be a bigger problem
than catching trout. The roads get in bad
shape with the heavy snows. Midges, Creams
and Reds, will catch trout.
01/05/17 The weather has been very cold with
lots of snow but should warm up some starting
Monday. Midges, Winter stoneflies and Black
flies are hatching. Next week is looking good
01/12/17 There will be less snow and clear
weather most of the week. Midges, Creams
and Blood midges with the larva and pupa
fished in tandem will catch trout. Winter
stonefly nymphs will also work. Fish them
02/02/17 At least there's no snow or rain in
the forecast this coming week. It is still cold
but will be a little warmer this coming
weekend. Midges, Creams and Reds, and
sculpin streamers would be our first two
choices with Winter stoneflies next.
02/09/17 The Reef is flowing at 539 cfs, or in
great shape, and trout are being caught on
Sculpin streamers like the Black Matuka and
Brown Sculpin. Midges are also working. Fish
Cream or Reds with the larva and pupa in
02/16/17 The flows are at 500 cfs. The daily
high air temperatures are going to be in the
fifties with no chance of snow.
02/23/17 The flow are at 535 cfs and the
water clear. Streamers like the Brown or
White Belly sculpin are working good under
low light conditions.
03/23/17 The flow are at 1000 cfs and the
water clear. Trout are being caught on
streamers, like the Black or Olive Matuka
sculpin, and midges, mostly Cream midge
larva and pupa imitations.
04/20/17 The flows are normal for this time of
the year, and the water clear. It is about 44
degrees at the highest. Sculpin streamers
and light Green and cream midges should
catch plenty of trout.
05/04/17 The flow are up to 3000 cfs and
the water mostly clear. Blue-winged olives
and midges are hatching. Sreamers are
also working. Fish the outer current seams.
We didn't receive any reports from last
05/18/17 The flows are at 1999 cfs. Sculpin
streamers are working. There are some
Blue-winged olives hatching along with some
light green midges. We didn't receive any
reports from the past week.