North Platte River – 03/29/2017

Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM

Location: Alcova Afterbay

North Platte River 03/29/2017 Photo Album

Steve and I relaxed and took our time on Wednesday morning after our extended brush with adverse weather on Tuesday. The forecast projected snow over night, but the full extent of frozen water was the thin layer of ice on Steve’s windshield. After a quick breakfast at the Hampton Inn, we checked out and drove thirty miles to the Alcova afterbay, where we ended our fishing adventure on Tuesday. The last hour on Tuesday was the highlight of our day, so it did not take much to persuade us to return for some wade fishing prior to returning to Denver, CO.

The sky was once again blue, and the temperature hovered around forty degrees, when we climbed into our waders at the crude boat launch at the afterbay. Both Steve and I kept our rods in a rigged state, since they were fitted with Greg’s two egg set up. On Tuesday Greg pointed toward a large post protruding from the river forty yards above our parking spot as a place we should check out, so that was our eventual target destination. Initially however an attractive deep run near the boat launch beckoned us, so we waded into the river and covered the current seam before we migrated to the post area.

I used my steelhead approach, as I fanned casts close and then progressively farther out until I covered a section of attractive water. If fish did not materialize, I took three steps downstream and repeated the exercise. I duplicated this cycle five or six times with no positive results, and then I moved close to the space of a fisherman who arrived after Steve and I. This was my clue to change locations, so I circled above Steve and descended a steep bank, until I was directly across from the thick protruding post.

A nice deep trough curled between me and the post, so I lobbed some casts to the top and allowed the eggs to tumble through the deep area, but again I was shutout in my attempt to log a fish on the tally sheet. I contemplated a move, and I waded out below the post and then upriver, until I was across from a nice deep riffle. I was now casting toward the north, and I avoided the annoying sun glare that affected me when casting from the bank. I made five or six nice drifts through the moderately deep riffles, and on the seventh pass, just as the eggs began to lift at the end, I felt a jolt and instantly set the hook. Imagine my state of shock, when I witnessed a large silver missile, as it shrugged and charged about in the water surrounding me. I was quite pleased to be using a six weight rod and a 2X tippet.

Gorgeous Rainbow from the Afterbay on Wednesday

After a brief but spirited battle I lifted the head of the rainbow trout and nudged it into my under sized net. The fish was longer than the opening of my net and created a significant sag. I estimated my catch to be an eighteen inch rainbow, but more impressively it was well fed and exhibited a large girth. I captured a few photos and then smiled as the aquatic beast swam off to resume its life in the Alcova afterbay.

By now Steve moved up to the tail of a long slow moving pool above the riffles in front of me. He was casting from the bank, so I progressed directly upstream until I was above his position, and I cast back toward the bank. I covered the slow deep water in a manner similar to the faster run at the start of my day. I fanned casts of increasing length, and then after I covered a section, I moved up the river three or four steps and repeated. I made one full cycle of casts and added some steps, and then once again as the eggs reached the end of their drift and began to lift ever so slightly, I felt a hard grab and instinctively reacted with a hook set. Again I was thrilled feel the throb of a live stream resident on the end of my line, and the new combatant fought nearly as valiantly as its larger cousin.

Unable to Grip Around the Large Body

Eventually I lifted the rainbow into my net, and I obtained a good look at my prize. This trout was around fourteen inches long, but it displayed the shape of a bluegill. The huge wide body behind the head prevented me from wrapping my hand to gain a grip. I was amazed at the steep upward and downward taper of the body, as it moved away from the small head.

By now the sun was higher in the sky, and the temperature crept upward, and Wednesday evolved into a very nice day. Steve continued prospecting the tail of the deep pool, while I waded back downstream and circled around the post, and then I hiked along the north bank toward the bridge and dam upstream. I prospected some marginal areas, but I was not able to spot any fish, so after some unproductive exploration, I returned and stood on the high bank above Steve. I sighted quite a few large trout across and below him, but they were hovering over some light colored round gravel openings in the river bed, so I assumed they were spawning and not interested in Steve’s offerings.

Steve Focused

Steve landed one nineteen inch rainbow, while I was exploring upstream, and then he hooked and played another beauty that escaped, before he maneuvered it within a rod’s length of his net. He endured a lengthy period with no response to his flies, so he was ready to try something different. We decided to walk back down river to a position across from the bottom tip of the gravel island. When we arrived, we discovered one of the two fishermen that were below me initially. She was waded into the river waist deep, so we debated moving to the deep run below her, but the river dropped off rapidly in that area, and we were not certain we could fish it effectively.

Pretty View

I glanced at my watch and noted it was nearly noon, so we decided to call it a day and returned to the Subaru. We quickly removed our waders and restored our rods to their rod cases and began the four hour return drive to Denver. Although two fish in three hours did not represent scintillating action, I was quite pleased to land two very nice rainbow trout while wade fishing. Our wade fishing experience on Monday resulted in a shutout, so two large hard fighting rainbow trout on Wednesday was a pleasant surprise.

Fish Landed: 2

North Platte Wednesday: 2013, 2014, 2015

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