Runoff is officially upon us in full-force this week. Recent warming weather and precipitation has resulted in the North Platte, Laramie River, and all tributary streams seeing significant spikes in flow raters and reductions in visibility. Now is the time to focus on stillwater fishing for a few weeks, however, there are still opportunities to be had on the rivers and tributary streams for the angler who pays close attention to flow rates and weather patterns. Focus on fishing days immediately following cooler weather patterns for the best results fishing moving water this time of year. On days where the weather cools and runoff stalls or drops overnight, fishing can be quite good with increased visibility. Anglers should expect mostly high water with poor visibility for the next couple of weeks, with strings of 2-3 cooler days and nights providing the best opportunities to fish rivers and streams.
If attempting to fish the rivers, anglers should utilize larger, darker flies as their profile will stand out better against the off-color water.
Always exercise extreme caution when wade fishing during runoff season.
Upper North Platte
Flows: ~ 1000 cfs
Conditions: Runoff conditions, flow rates increasing daily with poor visibility; focus on fishing immediately following cooler weather patterns if possible; anglers should utilize large, darker flies for best results in low visibility conditions.
Flies: Rubber Legs, 20 Incher, Copper John, Devil Jig, Sculpzilla, Double Dirty Hippy, Black Wolly Bugger, Black Wedge Head, Scuds, San Juan Worms
Flows: ~ 500 cfs
Conditions: The Laramie is consistently increasing in flow rates and decreasing in visibility. Focus on fishing near the banks with large, dark fly patterns.
Flies: Rubber Legs, 20 Incher, Scuds, Devil Jig, HDA FAV Variant, Black Sculpzilla, Black Wolly Bugger, Black Wedge Head Streamer, Black Double Dirty Hippy, San Juan Worms
Flows: ~ 75 - 250 cfs
Conditions: Tributary streams are on the rise as well, but will provide better fishing opportunities after the main branches of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers become unfishable, as they will be slightly delayed in peak runoff compared to the main stems. 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.
Flies: Hell Razor Craw, Wolly Bugger, GB Crystal Bugger, Pine Squirrel, Chironomids, Scuds, Olive Hare's Ear, Zebra Midge, WD 40