The North Platte River in Wyoming – home of the monster trout

Mar 14, 2019

The North Platte River gives way to Wyoming’s largest and highest fish-producing river basin in the state. There are many parts of the river that can hold a range of 2000 to 4000 fish per mile. If you’re looking for a trophy trout, the North Platte is a safe bet. The “Grey Reef” section of the river holds fish that can tip the scales at over 10 pounds! Although some areas are particularly rocky and mossy, carefully maneuvering around structure can pay off big time. You can expect a private outing on the water, with little fishing traffic. Head out to the cowboy state for some great western trout fishing.


At over 500 miles long, the North Platte River flows through three states: Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The river flows north from Colorado into Wyoming and flows east and south.

Aquatic Species:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Walleye
  • Longnose Sucker
  • White Sucker
  • Longnose Dace
  • Carp
  • Darter
  • Creek Chub


Food by Season:


Bug – Aquatic Worms
Season – Year Round
Patterns – San Juan Worm, Bloodworm

Bug – Beetles
Season – April through November
Patterns – Loco Flying Beetle, Monster Beetle, Foam Beetle

Bug – Caddis Flies
Season – May through October
Patterns – Rock Roller Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Soft Hackle Hares Ear

Bug – Blue Winged Olive
Season – April through June, September through November
Patterns – Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Parachute Adams

Bug – Ants
Season – April through November
Patterns – Epoxy Ants, Flying Ants, Foam Ants

Bug – Midges
Season – Year Round
Patterns – Zebra Midge, Chocolate Emerger, Parachute Adams

Bug – Grasshoppers
Season – June through October
Patterns – Stimulator, Stalcup’s Hopper, Rainy’s Grand Hopper

Bug – Brown Stone
Season – April through June
Patterns – Brown Stonefly Nymph, Stimulator, Royal Trude

Bug – Leeches
Season – Year Round
Patterns – Hot Head Leech, Wooly Bugger, Mini Sculpin

Bug – Salmonflies
Season – May through June
Patterns – Stonefly Nymph, Titanic Stone, B1 Bomber

Fishing Techniques:

Because there is an abundance of large trout in the North Platte, showing up prepared with the proper tackle is paramount. A five-weight rod with floating line and 4x tippet should suffice. The average fish weighs over a pound, with some fish nearing 15 pounds.

The river is constructed of longs pools with interconnected riffles and runs. If fish are being picky with your offering, try matching the hatch and picking the correct sized fly. Drift boat fishing is a popular technique used, where an angler fishes from a small boat and drifts down the river, covering more fishable water than possible on foot.

The North Platte River can be fished any time of year, as long as it is not iced over. That being said, the cold Wyoming winters can be spotty with ice, so monitor the weather before booking a fishing trip in the winter. The spring season runs from the beginning of March to the end of April, before the winter runoff. The summer fishing is best from the middle of June through August, when the hatches are at their peak. Fall is also a great time to fish, just be aware that water levels tend to be lower.


If you’re looking to take a trip out west for an epic fly fishing trip, look no further than the North Platte River, specifically the section that flows through Wyoming. You won’t find crowds of people, allowing for a calm and private outing on the water. Perhaps the most notable characteristics of the North Platte, is its high fish to water ratio with an average of 3,000 fish per mile. You won’t have to look far for a good time and a tight line.

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