pic of the week

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New video in the gallery at northplatteflyfishing.com

We will have a new video in the gallery soon. It is available on youtube, but we will have a link in the gallery soon.
It is a short clip of Trent, Rick and me on a quick trip across Pathfinder to the Miracle Mile. It shows very little fishing, because I spent more time fishing instead of filming. But, it shows the process of getting to this great and uncrowded (no other fishers most often) fishery.

Erik Aune

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

12 Foot Leaders for Grey Reef?

The purpose of this article is to dis spell some myths about having to dredge to find fish at Grey Reef on the North Platte River.
I have to get this out of the way first. A long leader and lots of weight is a perfectly valid way of catching fish on the North Platte River. I have done it and our guides have done it. But, there are other ways of catching just as many fish without having to throw such a long leader.
The next thing I have to get out of the way is, don't accuse me of setting up a nice little short leader to take shots at spawning fish. I don't have any interest in that. I don't believe that many of the guides are targeting spawning fish. I know that the local guide services frown on this practice.
Okay, so the reason I am writing this article right now is partially due to a conversation I just had with Ryan Anderson, owner of Wyoming Guide Service. He was concerned that I was directing a post on the North Platte Lodge website to his company. The gist of the post was that a fisher called me and told me that a guide had told him "if he isn't fishing 12 feet he is floating over the fish". I wrote that this is absolutely wrong...in retrospect...in pretty harsh terms. I had no clue what guide the fisher spoke to, and I had no intention of bashing Ryan's outfit. When it was brought to my attention I quickly changed the post and am now eating crow and am in debt a six pack to Ryan.
Now lets get on with the article. Our guides refer to our standard leader length as a wing span. This is very close to 6' +/- from indicator to weight. Why do we fish like this? We used to fish long and heavy. But, we realized it wasn't needed and to us it is a lot more fun to fish short.
There are times when we get down and dirty. If we can't find suspended, actively feeding fish we will go to the depths. But, one great thing about fly fishing Grey Reef is the fish like to EAT. There is almost always a time and place to hook trout in just a couple feet of water. There are several hatches where the trout like to snug right up to a shelf or even on top of it to gorge on the day's bounty. That being said, there are probably just as many lazing around the depths waiting for the same bugs. When the fish really stack up in the shallow water I will often go even shorter and lighter...sometimes no weight at all. In these situations I normally use 4x or 5x fluorocarbon with 2 small emergers. A small natural color yarn indicator also works well. I have watched trout scoot over and refuse flies when I was using a bright indicator. After I switched indicators the same fish ate the original fly.
Caddis and yellow sally hatches are really fun. Try a 4' leader with lots of weight in the heaviest, deepest riffle. The takes are crushing.
If the BurRec drops the water in May it will be a great time to fish a dry dropper rig. Use a hopper or other buoyant dry as an indicator with a small emerger dropped several feet below that. You will be surprised how many fish will eat the dry, although the best production will be on the nymph.
Grey Reef is a multifaceted fishery. You will catch fish deep and you will catch fish shallow, you will catch them on streamers and drys. Make sure to not get too stuck in a rut. When you have figured out that you can get 'em one way, switch to another technique. You will learn a lot about the fishery and come away with some good stories to tell.
This article will, in no way, end the friendly teasing about rock worms.

Erik Aune

Monday, April 14, 2008

Upcoming Articles...Update

CIRCLE JERK, I am waiting to get some new photographs of boats rowing over the top of recreational fishers as well as other guides for this article. There is never an excuse to run over anybody. In fact, if you ever see an NPL or Reef Fly Shop guide crowding, report it to us...we won't tolerate that behavior from our crew.

12 FOOT LEADERS, no excuse just haven't done it. *done*

CARP, I am waiting to release this article closer to carp season. With projected high water conditions in the Rocky's during 2008, carp should be a great AND available sport.

I will get these post completed! Whether they are interesting or not will be judged by you...post your comments!

Erik Aune

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Water Flows: Grey Reef's Intimidating Factor

I just received a call, from an out-of-state fisher, regarding the current water flow on the North Platte River at Grey Reef. When I said the flow was 1200cfs and probably going up there was a silence followed by a groan on the other end of the line. This got me wondering why folks are so intimidated by flows over our 500cfs minimum.
I understand that the water at Grey Reef is not easy to read at increased flows, but it should be. The North Platte River is full of big trout that got that way because of an easy, glutinous lifestyle. When the waters at Grey Reef rise do the trout quit eating?...of course not. But, you may not find them in the same place that you did when the river was flowing 500cfs. They move into feeding lanes that provide the main ingredients in successful trout living:
1. Food
2. Oxygen
3. Current that doesn't over extend their calorie intake
4. Protection from predation

The trout at Grey Reef won't always adhere to all of these rules, but it is a good place to start.

When you are about to start to fish the "Reef" ask yourself:
1. What are the trout eating?
2. Are the trout oxygen starved?
3. Based on conditions, where are the trout hanging out?
4. Are the trout at risk of predators?

Numbers 1 and 3 are the key questions. What the trout are eating dictates where they will be. Where the trout are is dictated by what they are eating. So we have got this thing broken down into some pretty easy terms. Questions 2 and 4 are not really an issue. There may or may not be a short period of time in the summer when oxygen deprivation becomes an issue. I am certainly not a biologist, but oxygen levels can become limited as water temps increase. But, Grey Reef's infamous summer algae bloom work against that principle. Predators are always present, bald eagles, osprey and pelicans. I don't believe they significantly impact the behavior of the trout. Sure, if a few pelicans move into a hole it might disperse the fish, but they will move back in a short time.

FISH GO WHERE THE FOOD IS regardless of the quantity of water in the river. The max controlled release at Grey Reef is 5400cfs. The last time we had 5400cfs was in 1999. The fishing was incredible, both by boat and wading. The trout eat all year long and at all water levels. As the water comes up there are lots of new pockets, holes and runs created. You will have to fish in different areas than you would at 500cfs. But, this is the beauty of increased flows! We get a new river every time the water comes up. I have always embraced increased flows, because it breaks the 500cfs monotony. I would be ecstatic to get 3500cfs or 4000cfs. I would get to fish in places that I haven't been able to for nearly 10 years.

This lesson becomes pretty elementary, FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE. If you are not familiar with Grey Reef stop into a local fly shop. They will be able to tell you what the hatch is, where the fish most like to eat those particular bugs and the best place you can access the appropriate water. IF the answer is red worms and nothing regarding a "real" hatch, try the next shop.

Erik Aune