This week was the apex for the North Platte, as far as I am concerned. There were not many boats, but the fish were hitting mayfly and midge patterns consistently. We fished below Government Bridge for three straight days. The hot fly was a size 18 red copper john. It out-fished eggs, worms, and anything else. Try one. I'm turning my attention to my Alaska trip and trying to finish out the semester. It's been a rough academic year with budget cuts and unslaked admin types in near panic mode. Also, the weather has gone from brilliant to grey. Snow is back on Casper Mountain. What's keeping me going? Well, I have morel mushrooms to pick in a few weeks. I have an overnight trip out of Seward in June. A writer's conference in Homer too. I'm driving the Al-Can and fishing near Whitehorse in the Yukon. So, I have a lot to look forward to. I'm already putting gear together for this trip.
My newest essay, "Fishing the Recession" is out in the April/May issue of Gray's. The essay tells about my youth in Newport News during the recession. I was the worst paperboy on the peninsula. It's a nostalgic piece with lots of humor, but I did make a mistake. I talk about breaking my Plano tackle box and writing a letter to the company in Plano, Texas. It was actually Plano, IL. The company did send me the new piece without charge. I hope my readers will forgive me for this mistake.
In other news, a few students at Casper College and I have moved bee hives out to the Ranch Campus. The plan is to raise bees and produce honey in the coming years. We get our bees at the end of the month. I'll post more about this project later.
I hope you're paying attention. If you are planning to fish the North Platte this spring, right now is the time.Don't make it more complicated than it is. See these flies above? Use them. The pink San Juan and the Otter Eggs as your dropper. (Otter eggs might be illegal this time next year. They are that good.) There's a fair mayfly hatch in the afternoons, but why be esoteric about the whole situation. I'm not trying to analyze you, but why not take the win when it's right in front of you? Get off your ass and fish. Orvis says it's okay. Eschew golf and whatever else you were planning this weekend. You are just a month away from graduation parties of all sorts, and you hate these. There's not enough light beer in the world to cover your annoyance at graduation ceremonies. You have thousands of dollars of fly rods in your possession. Use them, or sell them to someone who will. Between fish, Rocket harassed me with a length of wood he found. I caught lots of 12 to 15 inch trout behind the redds. They sit there and pick off eggs as they tumble downstream.
With the North Platte muddy, and the out-of-state crowd taking all the clear water, I went to one of the local lakes for some meat fish. Walleyes are always hard to catch. I'm not good at it and might not even be. We used jigs tipped with minnows to catch a mixed bag of trout, walleyes, and suckers. The suckers fight the hardest. Is it possible that they are the gamefish of the future? The sucker, a worthy opponent.
Scott from Kansas sent me a venison guisado recipe which I tried this weekend. It's tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, ground elk, kidney beans, and garlic.It's served on tortillas with shredded cheese. It's a simple and delicious recipe which I will certainly do again.
The river is muddy from Grey Reef to town. Stay at home. All of the guides of Natrona County (and maybe from other places too) were confined to the frog water sections of the river between Alcova Dam and Grey Reef. It was a pathetic sight to see fifteen wade fishermen and ten boats working the same tired run. My group went elsewhere I found some clear water and a decent afternoon midge hatch. I caught some rainbows and a real nice brown. The river will clear in a week or so.
In other news, Hunter Schroeder bagged his annual tom turkey in Cloud County, Kansas. I used to live in Cloud County, but when Hunter came along I decided to move. He's killing all the deer, pheasants and turkeys. There wasn't room for both of us.