Photo Essay: Wyoming Wonderland, Day 3

Written by: Jon Hill

A beautiful North Platte rainbow trout from Fremont Canyon.
All photos courtesy Jon Hill

For my final day of rambling around Wyoming, it was back to Fremont Canyon. The plan originally was to try the Miracle Mile, but because of how well Fremont had fished on Day One—and the fact that the rest of the guys wanted to fish there—Fremont it was going to be.

Once the water warmed up in the early afternoon, the fish started taking flies more readily.

Chris and Juan were going to sit this one out and head back to Denver early, so that left the rest of us to hit the water. Daniel, Dennis, and I decided to get everything packed up and ready to leave, and then be on the water at sunup to fish until noon or so and then get back to Denver at a reasonable hour. We arrived at the canyon just as the sun was coming up, cold enough at that hour to put some ice on the side pools of water.

This cutthroat had a huge tail and incredible spots.

All three of us tied on some form of what had worked well before, but it was tough fishing for the first few hours. As on the previous two days, with even a bit of wind, I really enjoyed swinging the Recon. Casting into the wind and mending line is extremely easy, and quick the rod was quick to react.

Dennis landed this big rainbow on a midge pattern.

Finally, around 11 o’clock, the water warmed up enough and the trout started feeding. Just in time for Jim and Paul to meet up with us and start catching fish. On this day, red midges were the key until around 1:30, when a hatch started and the fish were popping the surface all over the place. Paul threw on a small dry fly and shortly he was reeling in a really nice rainbow. After catching up with Tom, Mike and Matt for a couple of hours, it was time to pack it in and start the journey home.

Paul’s decision to put on a dry fly paid off with this fine trout.

I am ashamed that I have lived in Denver for twelve years and have never been to Wyoming until now. It was an amazing trip, full of great fishing with great friends and a ton of laughs. I’ll definitely be heading back up there on an annual basis now!

Click here for previous installments: Day 1 and Day 2

Jon Hill lives in Littleton, Colorado and works in the digital-graphics field. But he spends almost all his spare time chasing trout in the high country, and his photos have been featured many times on the Orvis News. (See herehere, and here, for just a taste, or visit his blog, Ramblings.) He’s also a former Trout Bum of the Week.

The author is sure to return to Wyoming much more frequently, now that he sees what the state has to offer.


8 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Wyoming Wonderland, Day 3”

  1. I fish this section of river quite often as I live very in Casper. Flows are low (75 cfs) and clear, and to me, it was pretty obvious to avoid this area as the rainbows are spawning. I would think that anglers posting on Orvis might recognize this, and exercise some restraint. I guess big, visible fish are an easy target that is too hard to resist.

    This area has been great in the past. Unfortunately, I have seen the steady demise of this area of the course of the last two years with the amount of hype and notoriety the canyon is getting. It is not surprising to see 15-20 anglers in this small stretch of river, tromping around the river bed in order to cast to areas that are quite obviously holding spawning fish. It’s a recipe for scrambled eggs. Kudos must be given to these anglers whom quite clearly have conservation of the resource in mind!

    Just look at that last photographed fish. Looks pretty dark to me…..

    1. I understand your concern, and I also understand the resource and what it means to fish during this time of year, not fishing or wading redds etc.. If it makes a difference, when we were done with our float the one day, all three of our boats were checked by the game warden with no issues. But a guide that was coming off with a client at the same time got a hefty fine because of his peg eggs. To be honest, I personally don’t even know how to peg an egg. Should no one fish this time of year when fish are spawning, maybe that would be an answer? I don’t know. From what I do understand, the portion of the N Platte by Gray’s closes for a couple of weeks doesn’t it? The state is looking after the resource and I also try to do the same, but at the same time try to enjoy the resource and enjoy your amazing state.

      1. It’s unfortunate to hear about that guide and his choice to not obey the law. Egg patterns, even pegged eggs, can be fished ethically (in my opinion). However, that is a debate for another time and another place.

        To your other point regarding Grey Reef, yes, it is true that Wyoming G&F closes off one area of the river on upper Grey Reef for about a month each year. This is probably due to the fact that people were indiscriminately catching spawning fish and walking over the redds in that area. It is great to know that there are a few spots on the river that we can allow this resource to reproduce uninhibited.

        While the law states that you cannot fish that particularly section, it unfortunately doesn’t extend to other parts of the river, such as in Fremont Canyon where you chose to fish. The same protections to fish are simply not afforded in this area. It is then up to the individual angler to exercise restraint in these instances and not fish to spawning trout. If you cannot identify a spawn bed (a redd), then please take the time to do so by a simple Google search. It’s that simple. Fish somewhere that is not a Redd (generally deep runs, pools, or another section of river completely).

        Can you fish this time of year? You certainly can, and there are plenty of places to catch fish that are not on redds. Will you catch less fish? More than likely, but it can still be done. Plenty of ethical anglers choose to do this daily. Just avoid the skinny water.

        Listen, unlike many in my state, it does not generally phase me that individuals come to Wyoming to fish and enjoy the resource that makes this place great. Native or not, I would be frustrated with any individual lacking this discretion. Generally speaking, it is often new anglers that don’t know this etiquette, and a simple discussion “rights the ship.” However, as an individual posting to Orvis’ blog, I think you probably know better and simply lacked said restraint in this instance.

        I’m sure you are a nice guy. I also love the fact that you loved Wyoming so much (as do I). Next time you come, avoid the skinny water this time of year and you will avoid the backlash. By doing so, you may also diminish that perception that the “green” license plates could care less about the Wyoming outdoors which drive many individuals to choose Wyoming as the place they call home.

  2. I too live in Wyoming and have run into many residents of our own state that abuse our resources. They don’t have green license plates on their cars. Its unfair to judge a situation that you were not present for by looking at a few still photos. I fished that same section of river three months ago with my friend. We we fishing 50 feet apart and catching fish. The point being that just because you’re fishing close to your buddies doesn’t mean that it’s side by side redd fishing and just because the water is shallow doesn’t mean that there are fish spawning there.
    John please don’t let Ray Ken’s comments bother you. Sadly there are overly judgmental over the top people in all states including here in Wyoming. Im glad the Platte fished well for you. I hope you come back soon.
    Bob Reece

  3. Good points Bob. I’m shocked at how presumptive people are being on here. It’s obvious that they have not paid attention to all of the blogs and contributions Jon has made to this site. He is a true fly fishing professional. I can’t believe people would erroneously assume that he would write an article and post pictures of himself on here ripping fish off redds. Take your holier than thou attitude somewhere else folks and show some respect to a guy who is a big contributor to our community.

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