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Discussion Starter #1
Any of you fish the reef this time of year? It stays open because it's a tailwater right? I got to take some extra days off next week because it's a holiday so I was thinking of heading up there. I fished it this spring and summer and had good success on a red wooly/red midge combo. This work during the winter? It'll probably be cold and windy I asume. Thanks for any advice.
 

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My son and I have only fished the Reef in the winter. We've done real well nymphing: San Juan worms, Pheasant Tail, scuds, Hares Ear Nymph and Half Back. The fish are fairly easy to catch and you don't need tiny flies. You will, however, pay the price - wind, cold, and snow. But it's worth it. John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Does it stay open only near the dam? What about further down river? I've had good luck in the past around lusby.
 

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Yeah, the water is open all the way to Casper & beyond - at least when we've been there. We haven't fished the Lusby area much but last winter we talked to a guy who had a friend that caught a brown near 30" with a 27" girth. What a beast! John
 

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Hatchmaster - before you go you should always check the report at North Platte Angler. Here's the link http://www.wyomingflyfishing.com/. If it has been really cold that stretch can freeze up to the point you can't float it, but the water just below Grey Reef dam is still warm enough to stay open all year. You just have to try and hit it when it has been warmer, say above 40. As you probably know you also want to check on the forcasted wind, cuz you don't want to get stuck in a boat on that stretch with winds over 15 mph. I love to fish the Reef this time of year cuz there are no weeds. It makes for easy nymphing which is the best technique up there, in my opinion. This time of year I would stick to small stuff. Midges, Midges, Midges. You could tie on a lead fly like a san juan, halfback, or small nymph, but I would always have a midge trailing. I have done really well this time of year with Black midges, but try some other colors like Brown, olive, red. The great thing about this time of year is the fish tend to congregate in the slower, deeper holes. In summer they spread out into the faster, more oxygenated water, but this time of year they are stacked in the slow, deep stuff. Good Luck and post a report when you get back.

Rip Lip
 

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The North Platte below Alcova offers probably the best rainbow fishery in the region...if you have a drift boat or pontoon, that is. theres plenty on the internet about fishing it, id say start a search and you should come up with plenty of info. i usually fish it down to Lusby, but sometimes in severe cold it can freeze up once you get past Goverment Bridge...but then again, sometimes it doesnt. Another good fishery in the area (about 25 miles north) is the Miracle Mile...which doesnt freeze up, and isnt as good as it used to be, but is still fun to fish. the Miracle Mile also has small cabins you can rent, if that is what you are looking for also....since camping up there in the winter is not too appealing to most.

I fish scuds and sowbugs on both...but on Grey Reef smaller stuff is sometimes needed, so check the reports. i figure i have to fish the tiny patterns so much here in colorado that i kind of take a break from it in Wyoming and fish larger stuff...and i usually do pretty good with it, plus its easier to handle larger flies and tippets in the winter. either will work, its up to what you like to fish...

and as everyone says....bring the best winter gear you have, as the weather and wind up there will test it for sure. its worth the trip though, ive caught some huge fish up there...
 

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The reef fishes amazing year round...from the hottest days of august to the coldest days of december I've never not had a ten fish day. Yea if the reef is crowded which I find hard to believe in December, then hit the tailwater out of alcova which is about a mile above the reef. Only thing is, flows out of the powerplant are not very consistant and it can kinda screw things up. I'd go leech, scud, black midge. If anyones looking for a guide to float with, I'd be happy to give you my buddy Ryan's number who guides out of the reef flyshop.
 

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Most of the time I dearly wished I could float the Reef but never have. Still, the shore fishing has been great almost every time we've been there. To those thinking about hitting the Reef, don't be discouraged from going if you're boatless. Your opportunities will be limited but there are so many fish in the river that you'll do well anyway. Also, do not be surprised if you are shoulder-to-shoulder with other fishermen in the dead of winter. This is a popular place and it seems all normal fishing etiquette is out the window. Personally, I can't stand to fish more than a day at the Reef because of all the people. But, you will catch fish even with fishermen all around you. The fish will even follow you to pick up dislodged insects as you wade along. John
 

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Huh??

Has the reef changed? I think I fished the reef in June this year had the river to myself the whole time and fished the year before in a snow storm in May ran into 2 guys from Colorado that used the phrase we are tired of catching fish so I have never found the reef extremely crowded. I normally fish the Outhouse hole and of course float the river most the time but I can honestly say the word crowded has never crossed my mind when fishing the reef. But that again I've fished the San Juan and counted 18 guys fishing the same hole so maybe my perspective is different than most......


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The reef has not changed, but you were fortunate enough to hit it just right. We normally take a trip in mid-April and trust me there are people all over the place. The funniest part is that most of the people are from Colorado. I also think it's funny that the Wyoming natives call us all "Greenies"!
 

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If you plan your trip right (meaning not on the weekends or around holidays) it is usually not crowded...ive had more days on the water with the river to myself than not.  the only problems i ever had were from select wyoming natives feeling then can float thier duck boats through holes i was fishing--yeah, rather rude and inconsiderate, and not something i would never even consider doing to someone else.   apparently the river is thiers, and as a "greenie" i am inconvieniencing them when i fish there... regardless of the amount of money that my annual license costs or that i have fished there most of my life.
 

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My son & I have been to the Reef maybe 5x in the past 2 winters. We are shore bound and it was very crowded every time. We also only go on the weekends. The experience is what it is - lots of easy big fish and lots of people. John
 

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The greenie thing is funny. Cause I too have been called a greenie. I looked at him and said hmmm but my plates are white. Needless to say he didn't have much of a sense of humor and the other thing I've noticed about the fishing guys of Wyoming the rules don't seem to apply to them i've watched more guys keeping fish over there limits in that stretch than anywhere else I've fished but again big fish bring all the yahoos out of the woodwork.....
 

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ive never been called a "greenie" (not that i have heard anyways) but im sure my response would not be a good one if i was called one to my face...i try to treat everyone with equal respect no matter where i am, but i expect the same in return.

who knows, some people are just stupid...i have no use for them, and rarely waste my time with them.

i think the grey reef and miracle mile section of the North Platte are mostly fished by colorado residents anyways...so it seems that wyoming residents are a minority there. (from what ive seen, anyways) im also willing to bet a large majority of Wyoming's wildlife management is funded by out of state licenses...i mean, look how much an annual non resident license costs nowdays. 80 some odd bucks?!?! and if you ever are going to hunt big game as a non res you are going to be spending big cash on a tag as well...so we "greenies" might be fishing in wyoming, but we pay more than our share, which is defiantely more than a resident license holder. does it mean we should get more rights? no, absolutely not...but dont call me names on the river because i choose not to live in the state and want to fish there. by buying a license and adhering to their regulations i have just as much right as anyone else...

but in the end...ill still be called a "greenie" i guess, even if its not to my face lol
 

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The great thing about the Reef is that the fish are the perfect size and they all are nice. They are big enought to put a good bend in your rod, they fight hard and run, but always plenty of water to let them run. They are not so big that they are difficult to land like in some tail waters. It's hard to beat 30 fish days. You know you had a good day when your arm gets tired from fighting fish. It is a great fishery!



 

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Nice photos! i also love the reef...and while on average the fish you catch are around 18-20 inches, you can still hook a monster once in awhile. a few years ago a guy caught a brown over 20 lbs near Lusby, and i know of two guides that hooked some huge fish while floating, so they are in the river, thats for sure. the biggest ive seen personally was maybe 8 lbs, but the potentials always there for bigger fish...

theres nothing like having both QUANTITY and QUALITY...hopefully it stays that way ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've never been called a "greenie" before but on more than one occasion I've been told I "need a bigger net" or "colorado nets don't cut it on the reef"!
 

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I went home to Casper for the holidays and fished Grey Reef by myself for 2 hours on Christmas Eve. I had forgot what it was like to catch big fish in big water! The water is open to goverment bridge and very fishable. I did well with a size 22 south platte brassie. And yes when I moved to Colorado I paid extra to get blue plates :)
 

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It is sounding more and more like my Steelhead trip next week is being rained out. Anyone been to Grey's Reef in the last couple weeks and can give a report. My be making a trip up next week if the weather is doable....




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