Most anglers are unaware of the excellent fishing on the North Platte River in Wyoming below Alcova Reservoir. During three days of fishing early last October, Chris and I caught healthy cutthroat, rainbow and brown trout measuring up to twenty inches and larger without much competition from other anglers.
In the morning, we had excellent dry fly fishing to the last of the Trico spinner fall. After eating dinner, we made the short walk to the river from the North Platte Lodge to fish for trout that were rising to caddis, Baetis and midges. We fished nymphs and streamers during the day while being guided on drifts with lodge guides. It is possible for anglers using public accesses to experience some of this fine fishing, but the fullmeasure of this opportunity is brought to reality by being guests of the North Platte Lodge.
Wyoming's trespass laws make it clear that landowners own not only the land, but the stream bottom. This makes it illegal to anchor a boat while drifting through private property, let alone wade. The North Platte Lodge, located a short distance downstream of Alcova Reservoir, owns a good stretch of river and has a lease on most of the fourteen miles downstream not flowing through public lands. For its guided guests, the Lodge also provides access to other private waters nearby.
Bret and Candy Van Rensselaer are a charming young couple and they began operation of their newly built North Platte Lodge in 1999. With only four rooms to house guests, this full service lodge will not go unnoticed for long. First year guests have already rebooked. Chris and I suggest that anyone considering a visit to make reservations at your earliest convenience.
In the early season, expect to do best with nymphs and streamers although there might be surface activity over the Baetis hatches in late April, early May. In mid July, there will be Yellow Sallies and PMDs. Late August through September is the time for Trico spinner falls.
After looking at the size of the fish shown on their web site, the ones Chris and I caught look rather small. Bret said we should consider a return trip in mid March for a chance at larger fish. I've known for sometime that Eagle Lake rainbows from California were planted in this stretch of the North Platte below Alcova Reservoir. It makes perfect sense that their spring spawning run would concentrate many big fish below the dam at Alcova. This conveniently places them at the door step of the North Platte Lodge, where they remain vulnerable until run-off from snow melt begins. Very interesting!
Rates at the North Platte Lodge are $300/person/day figured on double occupancy. This includes lodging, meals and guided drift fishing.
Guests coming from a distance can land at the airport in Casper, where they are picked up and driven the thirty miles to the lodge at no charge.
For more information
North Platte Lodge
Bret and Candy Van Rennselaer
PO Box 105
Alcova, WY 82620
web site: www.northplattelodge.com
"The Inside Angler" reported on the North Platte River downstream of Alcova in the September 2000 issue.
Photos by Christine and Michael Fong ©1999-2002