We are approaching peak runoff here in southern Wyoming, although the cold weather over the past week has made for some fluctuating flows on local rivers and streams. Fishing has been slow to fair on the rivers and streams with highly variable flow rates over the past week. Fishing on the rivers will be very much day-to-day and anglers should pay attention to weather forecasts and stream flows. Two or three days of consistently dropping flows can provide excellent opportunity this time of year, but expect to see flows start increasing again with some warmer weather in the forecast for the week ahead.
The Plains Lakes are continuing to provide excellent fishing this spring season, and can be a great option for anglers who do not want deal with the highly volatile conditions on the freestone rivers right now. Look for Chironomid hatches to be starting and increasing insect activity on the lakes.
Not much has changed from last week - rivers and streams continue to be day-to-day and highly variable as we move through runoff, and the Plains Lakes have been providing the most reliable option for fishing action right now.
Upper North Platte
Flows: ~ 1,200 cfs
Conditions: Runoff conditions; flow rates fluctuating over the past week, look for flows to continue to increase over the next week. Look for windows of cooler weather and stalling or dropping flow rates for the best fishing opportunities.
Flies: Rubber Legs, 20 Incher, Tim's Stone, Dark CDC Stone, Copper John, Devil Jig, Sculpzilla, Double Dirty Hippy, Black Wolly Bugger, Black Wedge Head, Scuds, San Juan Worms
Flows: ~ 500 cfs
Conditions: Flows have dropped over the past several days, resulting in increased water clarity. Fishing has remained slow with flow rates rising and falling sporadically over the past week. Focus on fishing near the banks with large, dark fly patterns.
Flies: Black Sculpzilla, Black Wolly Bugger, Black Wedge Head Streamer, Black Double Dirty Hippy, 20 Incher, Tim's Stone, Dark CDC Stone, Dirty Bird, Scuds, San Juan Worms
Flows: ~ 150 - 500 cfs
Conditions: Runoff conditions; high flows and decreasing clarity. Higher elevation tributary streams will be the best option within the peak runoff window, as they will be much more manageable to walk and wade, and will generally retain water clarity much better than the bigger main branches. Continue to focus on working slower water along the banks with large, dark fly patterns.
Flies: Black Sculpzilla, Black Wolly Bugger, Black Wedge Head, Brown Double Dirty Hippy, Platte River Spider, Rubber Legs, 20 Incher, Scuds, San Juan Worm
Conditions: The Plains Lakes continue to provide quality fishing this spring, and will be the best option for quality fishing available to anglers during the runoff period. Fish are still on their spring patterns, so stripping a baitfish or crayfish pattern, or a chironomid, midge, or scud underneath an indicator in 3-10 feet of water should provide results. Look for increasing insect activity in the coming weeks.
Flies: Hell Razor Craw, Wolly Bugger, GB Crystal Bugger, Pine Squirrel, Chironomids, Scuds, Olive Hare's Ear, Zebra Midge, WD 40