November, 2003

11/8-10:  It turned out that the most exciting part of this weekend's trip to the "Miracle Mile" in Wyoming was a combination of the "drive in" and the "drive out".

Despite the menacing weather forced on us by recent snowstorms in Colorado and Wyoming, Sue, the dog, & I loaded up the van and headed North through Silverthorne, Walden, Saratoga, and Sinclair after lunch on Saturday.  We drove tough roads on the way to an overlook above Seminole Reservoir and arrived at a pulloff camping spot just after the sun set.

The van's propane furnace was a godsend this night.  Temperatures dropped, frost formed on the outside windows, and when we awoke the next morning, it felt like we were atop Mt. Everest on the worst day of the year.  Fog enveloped the lake and the snow covered roads, and we feared the worst for the few miles remaining to get down to the North Platte.  Those fears were realized when our first attempt to crest the steep hill above Kortes Dam ended in a complete tire spin out and stoppage roughly a quarter mile from the summit.

With some difficulty we turned the 5000 pound (van) beast around and went downhill, turned around, and with more speed were able to make it over the summit.  A five mile per hour descent followed, but we were ecstatic to finally get safely to the river.

The fishing experience itself was almost a mirror of earlier trips.  Probably running 50 cubes slower, the Platte was somewhat clearer but still off color and very weedy.  We fished all day.  Used nothing but streamers (cone head wooly buggers actually).  Tried various color combinations and as on previous trips, the greenish ones proved more successful.  

Don't know how many fish we played or released - suspect in the range of 40-50 between us.  For the first time this year all were rainbows with only one cutthroat in the mix.  Apparently the browns were either off the bite or are enjoying copulating instead of feeding right now.  Sizes were down a bit.  Best released was in the sixteen inch range - one of each of that size by Sue and myself.  It probably was somewhat better fishing on the previous trip.


Lots more people were on the river - as we should have suspected this holiday weekend.  Interestingly most were spin fishers.  We would have liked to have ventured further downstream towards the entry to Pathfinder Reservoir but didn't trust the quality of the roads to attempt that quest for spawning browns.

We left the area late in the afternoon with the thought of trying Grey Reef one more time.  Hard to tell if it was a mistake or not.  We knew we could not get back over the summit of the way we came in to the "Mile".  As it turned out, the road out was much worse.  There's no snow plowing of the roughly 40 mile stretch of the dirt headed downstream.

When we first ran into the muck on the road, we almost got stuck going straight downhill - an almost unthinkable condition.  A Subaru Outback ahead of us fishtailed all over the place for maybe forty miles, and we were (with only front wheel drive) in even worse shape through the trip out.  Happily we survived the drive - and rewarded ourselves with a couple of glasses of decent Rhone wine as soon as we arrived at the reservoir.  Camped near the dam site that night.  

The dog was a beat puppy from all the wading and cottontail chasing.

Back to Casper for breakfast - then down I-25 to Glendo for a look at the tailwater below the dam of that name.  Another disappointment.  The tailwater is more like a slack water.  No flow of any kind.  Maybe 15 cubes running out of the powerhouse.  Tried a few more bugger casts.  Nothing.  Don't know why anyone would try to fish here, but maybe things pick up when the flow does.  Regardless, we'll not come back to this spot again.

This might have been our last fishing trip of the fall - unless we get another shot at the White River next weekend here in our home state.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.

11/16:  Today we turned Sue to the dark side.....................................

This fall, when it came time to switch tactics away from dry flies or nymphs, for whatever reason, Sue struggled with the streamer concept.  She simply had no confidence in that type of fishing and consequently had only limited success when forced to turn to wooly buggering.

It all changed on Sunday.

A going away party for the local district Forest Ranger brought us to Meeker on Saturday night.  After the function we camped in city park and then had breakfast the next morning at the local hotel.

Drove upstream to our favorite stretch of the White River (past a band of sheep being driven down the main highway) and donned heavy clothing with chest high waders due to the very cold air temperatures.  With the lack of visible insects on the water, we chose to continue with our streamer casting in the hopes of landing at least a few browns and rainbows in the three hours we had to fish.

Almost immediately Sue landed (surprise, surprise) a nice sixteen inch rainbow.  Several more fish followed for us as we worked our way downstream to our favorite "trough" hole.  I was mainly playing fish and having them pop off before being able to release them, but Sue was having a ball.  The "trough" produced at least 6-8 fish played for each of us - all in a range of 12-16 inches.  Her smiles were getting larger by the minute.

She was using the new ginger colored wooly bugger (which has since been renamed the "magic" bugger.  I stuck with an olive one for most of the morning and then changed to a ginger and finally a dark brown one.  It didn't seem to matter what color we tried - they pretty much all worked.

I waded across the river so we could fish separate sides and have similarly decent water available for both of us.  A bit further upstream Sue walked out on a particular structure and proceeded to catch a fish on each of her first three casts.  I was having success too but not to that degree.

When we eventually reconnected a quarter mile upstream, I asked her how many she'd hooked at that one spot.  She said it was (an astonishing) 26 fish!  It may sound like she was casting in a fish hatchery, but that absolutely was not the case.  Mostly rainbows, the sizes ranged between 12-18 inches.

She hardly had to move her feet off the rocks.  Amazing.  Subsequently she renamed the piece of structure "magic hole # 1".  She had  similar, but slightly lesser levels of success at holes # 2 and # 3.  Just incredible fishing.

Sue's now clearly become a streamer fly addict.

When we finally got back to the van, she said she'd probably played between 50-55 fish in the short time we were on the water.  I may only have hooked half that many but still was completely satisfied with the morning's results.  What a great day.  All my fish were rainbows, and she had a similar experience, but did also manage to release two nice Colorado cutthroats as well.

If we don't have a chance to get out on the water again, this was about as perfect a way to finish off the season as one could hope for.


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