Don’t get me wrong, I loved Wyoming, but it has the tendency to baffle you each step of the way—from elk running in front of the truck, to driving along the edge of cliffs that have no bottom. And the storms. Wow. Now, those were some storms. An hour or so after crossing the border, we drove through Cheyenne and hit a storm that was nothing short of ferocious. First of all, the rain was so heavy we couldn’t see a thing, forcing us to pull over. We bolted into a convenient store, and we were shocked at the temperatures this storm brought in. It was freezing.
The drive to Hanna, Wyoming brought a variety of weather; torrential downpours, snow, sleet, wind, bright sun, a strange calm spell, lightning, thunder, and temperatures ranging from freezing to sixty degrees. We never saw anything like it, but we continued to drive toward Hanna, which would lead us up to the Miracle Mile.
Well—not so fast.
In Hanna, we quickly learned that the road up to the Mile was so muddy it would swallow the truck without leaving a trace of us. We would have to drive all the way around to Rawlins and head up toward the Seminoe Dam. What a drive, though. Beautiful. Thick woods and a twisting dirt road, with a small wooden guardrail protecting you from the reservoir nearly a mile below you.
As you emerge from the forest and head down to the Miracle Mile, you feel like you’re entering a scene from the Planet of the Apes. Miles of a sage-brush prairie with unique rock formations, randomly situated, and on the horizon, large mountains scrape the sky.
When we reached the river, we got out and looked over its only bridge. I noticed the grimace on George’s face, noting the river conditions were high and brown.
This water is movin’, he said.
Our sound tech suggests we head up towards Casper and fish the Gray’s Reef area.
George responded, “It’s high, fast, and muddy, but the fish are here.”
So we stayed in the area and looked around for good holding water, and were hoping to find an area with an obstruction to block the whipping wind. At the Rainbow Hole, a rock hill across the river acted as a shelter for us, and since it offered different types of water, George could fish the riffs above or the slow pool below.
In case you haven’t viewed the film yet, I won’t give away the details of the day we had at this incredible spot, but George was right—the fish were there. All that was needed, was simply to go out there and work hard for them.
Quite often, mother nature throws a curve ball at us fishermen. We can bail out of the batter’s box or keep our ground and fight off the pitch.
One thing to keep in mind, spin and bait fishing is legal here. I am certain that casting spinners or nightcrawlers would be very productive, compared to matching the hatch. But for you fly fishermen, be sure to nymph fish with an orange scud.
The store there at the Mile has a decent selection of flies and other terminal tackle.
Overall, this area will keep you on your toes, but don’t let that discourage you from coming to one of the best trout rivers in the country.
Spending a couple nights on this river and seeing the fish jump, the fish caught, the sunsets, the storm clouds and the North Platte flowing through this alluring terrain, was exhilarating. At times on the bank, it felt like this was heaven.
I recommend this trip to any troutsmen who wishes to experience something out of the ordinary and catch fish at the same time.