You might expect the Upper North Platte River to be too popular. Sure, it’s one of the most scenic freestone rivers in Wyoming, thriving with more than 4,000 catchable wild trout each mile. But rarely are your thoughts and experiences distracted. In fact, this inviting water is virtually uncrowded and fishes well year-round. It’s just a matter of knowing where and when to fish.
About the Upper North Platte River
The Upper North Platte River is among Wyoming’s best for fishing and scenic float trips or plunging through rapids. The river enters Wyoming through a deep, rocky canyon in the Platte River Wilderness of the Snowy Range. It meanders north through mountains, cottonwood-lined meadows of the Platte Valley and, finally, through majestic desert vistas. It encompasses over 150 miles of free flowing, undammed water. Whether you’re fishing from a raft or along a peaceful shoreline, chances are you’ll be bragging about your catch, the unforgettable scenery, and spectacular wildlife.
Few angling experiences offer such diverse natural fishing conditions as the Upper North Platte River. The river offers healthy populations of brown and rainbow trout and is considered a “Blue Ribbon” trout fishery with over 4,000 catchable fish per mile. You could fish a lifetime and still not uncover all that this river has to offer. Your arms will tire before you can cast to all the deep holes hiding those hungry lurkers.
Wildlife experiences are abundant on the Upper North Platte River. Bald eagle nests are numerous, and you are likely to see these giants gliding above, caring for eaglets in easily viewable nests, or perched, with fish in talon, on a sturdy cottonwood limb directly overhead. The melody of many songbirds and bouquet of ducks, geese, herons, cranes, shorebirds, and hawks will fill your mind and camera. Mule deer, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, river otters, mink, and beavers often share the hillsides, shoreline, and shallows with you.
There are 14 public access areas along the North Platte River from Colorado to Interstate 80. This map (click on ‘The Rivers’) shows the locations and relative distances among access points. Many offer wade fishing, restrooms, picnic areas, camping and boat launch sites.
Adventurers often base out of Saratoga (population 1,655) as there are several places to stay, great places to eat, the Saratoga “Hobo” Hot Springs (which is open 24/7, free of charge), experienced fishing guides, and shuttle services.