We are officially in the thick of runoff now with the North Platte River jumping up over 1,000 cfs over the past five days, and the Laramie River increasing by almost 400 cfs in the same time frame. Salmonflies have made an appearance in Northgate Canyon over the past few days, although increasing flows and worsening water clarity have made wade fishing difficult to impossible. Expect nearly all of our local rivers and streams to be high and off color for the next week. With temperatures forecasted in the high 70s and low 80s for the next week, we can anticipate that flows will continue to increase for the next week at least. Smaller, higher-elevation tributaries should remain reasonably clear and will drop in flows sooner than streams and rivers lower in the drainage. Keep an eye on higher elevation tributaries for the best options to fish moving water this week.
Now is probably the best time of year to check out the Plains Lakes, or try out some tailwater fishing. With all of our local freestone streams ranging in fishing quality from marginal to outright dangerous - angler's best bets will be stillwater or tailwater fishing for the next week at least.
Upper North Platte
Flows: ~ 2,000 cfs
Conditions: Runoff conditions; increasing flows with poor clarity. Dangerous wade fishing conditions. Salmonflies are hatching throughout the canyon and fish should be keyed in on nymphs and adults for the next few days. Dry fly fishing has been marginal with decreasing water clarity. Expect flows to continue to increase and clarity to continue to decrease this week.
Flies: Nymphs; Rubber Legs, Restless Stone, 20 Incher, CDC Stone, HDA FAV Variant, Blue Devil Jig, Hare's Ear, Dirty Bird, 307 Nymph, Pheasant Tail, Copper John, San Juan Worm
Streamers; Sculpzilla, Slumpbuster, Tequeely, Dirty Hippy, Thin Mint, Platte River Spider, Hale Bopp Leech, Wolly Bugger
Dry Flies; Carnage Stone #4, Christensen's Salmonfly #6, Orange PMX #8, Clark's Stonefly #8, Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Light Cahill, Bat Wing Emerger
Flows: ~ 800 cfs
Conditions: The Laramie has been providing decent streamer fishing, but has been rising considerably over the past several days, resulting in difficult fishing conditions. The Laramie should continue to rise and level off over the next week, expect flows to start dropping again in the next 10 days to two weeks, and be on the lookout for the first appearance of drakes.
Flies: Rubber Legs, 20 Incher, Scuds, San Juan Worm, Blue Devil Jig, Hare's Ear, Dirty Bird, 307 Nymph, Pheasant Tail, Sculpzilla, Slumpbuster, Tequeely, Dirty Hippy, Thin Mint, Wedge Head Streamer, Wolly Bugger
Flows: ~ 250 - 1000 cfs
Conditions: The tributary streams are now in the height of runoff as well. Higher elevation tributaries will generally stay on the clear side and can provide fishing opportunities, even in high water conditions. The higher elevation tributary streams will also start to drop first, providing the best opportunities around the runoff window.
Flies: Sculpzilla, Wedge Head Streamer, Dirty Hippy, Slumpbuster, Tequeely, Platte River Spider, Thin Mint, Rubber Legs, 20 Incher, San Juan Worm, Squirmy Wormy, Scuds
Conditions: The Plains Lakes will be one of the best options for anglers over the next week as runoff ramps up. Expect fish to be in a little bit deeper water during the day with increasing temperatures, with fish cruising the shallows in the early and late parts of the day. Aquatic insect activity is increasing with good hatches of chironomids.
Flies: Hell Razor Craw, Wolly Bugger, GB Crystal Bugger, Pine Squirrel, Chironomids, Scuds, Olive Hare's Ear, Zebra Midge, WD 40