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Wyoming Fly Casters Monthly Newsletter

Drag-free Drifts by WILL WATERBURY President, WFC A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work. ~Author unknown


fter spending an abbreviated day of trout and then carp fishing on Father’s Day, this month’s quote is a good fit. Matt Stanton bought Neal Ruebush’s guided carp trip at the auction in April and he let me talk him into splitting it with him. Neal did a real nice job of taking care of everything so that when we arrived all we needed to do was stow our gear on the boat and away we went. The drive to Pathfinder included some very tasty breakfast burritos, courtesy of Neal, and good views of a brewing thunderstorm to the south of the lake. Once on the lake we fished for trout until mid-late morning. We started seeing carp backs breaking the surface and switched to crawdad patterns in hopes of enticing them to strike a fly. The clouds, wind, and rain were just not conducive to making the carp as active as we had hoped. Neal had superb tim-

ing as he had us back at the boat ramp, and under cover, just before the thunderstorm barreled in. Forty-five minutes later we were back on the water and treated to another one of Neal’s burritos, a lunch one this time, stuffed with his barbecued pork recipe. While the fishing and weather were not all that hot, the burritos were, and tasty, too. We collectively decided to put in some more time looking for trout. We fished for another hour and a half or so, caught one nice rainbow, and then in comes another, and much larger, thunderstorm. Time to call it a day. While the weather and interest of the fish might have left something to be desired, it was still a great day and far more enjoyable than working. It was also a great day because I got to spend time with members of the club I have spent hardly any time fishing with. Thanks, Neal and Matt. • We need to offer thanks to a few club members who were available on short notice to “raise” the club’s big shed behind the Isaac Walton League’s storage area. You may have seen pictures on

the club’s Facebook page. Joe Meyer put out an email and made a few calls after we heard through Marty Robinson that the shed was in danger of flooding. Joe, John Yost, Dennis Bienvenu, Scott Novotny, Wanda Peters and her visitor from California, Mike, the manager of the campground, and myself were able to make it. The shed was emptied enough to reduce its weight so that Mike’s tractor could lift a corner at a time. Between Joe’s high-lift jack and the tractor we were able to get the shed a couple of feet off the ground. When I last checked, June 22, the ground underneath the shed was still dry and the shed still had its precarious looking tilt. So far, so good. I hope the high water has not hampered your fishing too much and that you have been able to make use of the extended hours of daylight. I look forward to seeing every one at the July meeting on the 13th. Here’s to tight lines, slack winds, and your favorite cold beverage at the end of a good day of fishing.


Cover shot: Fishing with wet flies ... perhaps a lost art. But the fisher who casts wet flies usually does so with a bamboo fly rod.

OFFICERS Will Waterbury, President Vacant, President-elect Vacant, Vice President Casey Leary, Secretary Matt Stanton, Treasurer BOARD OF DIRECTORS Terms expire in 2012 Spencer Amend Scott Novotny Neil Ruebush Brent “Smokey” Weinhandl, DDS Terms expire in 2013 Greg Groves Joe Meyer Alex Rose Herb Waterman Terms expire in 2014 John Dolan Jim Johnson Chris McAtee Andrew Sauter

The Backcast is the monthly newsletter of the Wyoming Fly Casters, an affiliate club of the Wyoming Council of Trout Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy and the Federation of Fly Fishers. Editorial content does not necessarily reflect the views of the officers, board or members of the Wyoming Fly Casters. Annual dues are $20 for an individual, $30 for a family, or $250 for a lifetime individual membership or $450 for a lifetime family membership. Visit the club website at To pay dues or contact the club, write to P.O. Box 2881, Casper, WY 82602. The deadline for submission of information for each issue is a week before the end of the month. Make contributions to the next issue by e-mailing material to the Backcast editor at, or call (307) 436-8774.

The Backcast is available either in electronic format or through USPS snail mail. To receive each newsletter through a monthly e-mail, you must be able to open .pdf (Adobe Acrobat, a software program available free of charge) documents. Usually, each issue is roughly 1 MB in size, some are larger. Your e-mail provider may have limits on the size of attachments. In order to be added to the e-mail list, send a request to In addition to receiving each issue of the newsletter earlier than your hard copy peers, e-mail subscribers are able to print each copy in vibrant color -- an added plus if the issue is rich in color photographs. By subscribing electronically, you also save the club roughly $17.40 a year in printing and postage expenses.

Wyoming Fly Casters Monthly Newsletter

BRIEFS G&F hatcheries is the July meeting program Steve Sharon, the chief fish culturalist for the G&F, is to present a program on rearing and hatchery systems in the date at the WFC’s general membership meeting on July 13, according to Herb Waterman.

Balloon festival is coming to Casper Hot air balloon festivals this year are scheduled for July 16-17 in Riverton, with Casper a week later, July 23-24. There will be balloonist coming into town who might want to go or learn to fly-fish. For more information contact Neal Hibschweiler at 265-9053.

Ten Sleep and North Tongue outings set The annual outing at Ten Sleep, once the most popular WFC fishing weekends during the year, is scheduled for Aug. 12-14 at Deer Park campground. To get there, take I-25 to Buffalo, turn left and travel up the Bighorn Mountains, across Powder River Pass and past Meadowlark Lake. At Deer Park, turn right and venture seven miles on a washboard road to Deer Park campground. Matt Stanton is the streamkeeper again this year. The Tongue River outing is scheduled for Sept. 16, 17, 18, and Andrew Sauter is the streamkeeper. This will be a “minimalist” outing since lodging and camping abound. Andrew volunteered to fry some burgers at the head of Tongue River Canyon picnic area on Saturday. Bring a side dish or dessert. To get there, take I-25 north. Turn at the Ranchester-Dayton exit and go up the mountain. There are developed campgrounds available, or you can bivouac anywhere in the forest. The best fishing is in the no-kill stretch of North Tongue, upstream of Bull Creek. Signup sheets for these outings are to circulated at club meetings.

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Tailing Loops by RANDY STALKER Backcast editor "You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” - Yogi Berra


f this issue of the Backcast looks like an abbreviated edition, it was not intentional. Few contributions (written or images) were received by the deadline. So this issue of the newsletter is only six pages in size (five, excluding the address label page). There are no board minutes or financial reports because a quorum was not present at the monthly meeting. And a photo or two of guys holding up small bluegill were not enough to fill a page for the Brag Board. I presume everyone is too busy fishing the high water -- creeks, the river and even stillwaters. My fishing to far this spring and early summer has been limited to reservoirs: LaPrele, Walker Jenkins and A&M. I have yet to hit Wheatland No. 3 for those lunker carp. And forget about the Independence Day weekend, as my better half is deciding where we will go for the holiday. It probably won’t involve fishing, but shopping quaint niche stores or touring museums. Most of my favorite small streams are running high, or even snowbound. So dry fly season may be at least a month distant. I heard one report suggesting that Bear Lodge at Burgess Junction is not even open because of the snow, and some campgrounds around Meadowlark Lake are still unopened and unoccupied. All this translates, potentially, into a longer fishing season, with much higher water levels late in the year. With the Ten Sleep outing in August and North Tongue in September, it should be exciting fishing opportunities, especially for small, dry flies and 4 weight rods. • Yogi Berra’s sage wisdom (the quote at the top of this column) was demonstrated on Saturday, June 25, during a trip to A&M Reservoir. I was accompanied by Painless in the back seat and the Plumber doing the driving. We left comfortably early, in order to

sneak in as much fishing time as possible because of the distance involved. The plan was to head to A&M Reservoir. The problem was I knew generally where it was, but not exactly. We stopped at Muddy Gap to get a little fuel and learned the proprietors were commanding $4.22 a gallon for regular. A full dollar higher than in Casper. And yet there were a few out-of-state trailers waiting for the next available pump. Painless bought me a copy of the book detailing the lynching of Cattle Kate (at an inflated price, I might add), and for the entire trip I tried to visualize where all this took place on the Sweetwater River 120 years ago. The only time I visited A&M was two years ago. Herb Waterman was driving his van, and five of us were invited to tag along. As I remember it, we were blindfolded so we could not reveal the location of a pond full of whopper rainbows. I thought A&M was north of Muddy Gap. After passing Jeffrey City and recognizing nothing familiar, in desperation I called the Ugly Bug and Jake Sabus was gracious enough to Google the reservoir. A&M was west, not north from the junction. We beat a hasty retreat to Muddy Gap, turned right and headed toward Bairoil. An hour later we were rigged up and casting in solitude at the long and narrow body of water. I was lucky enough to hook a 14 inch brook trout. A brookie of this size is rare, and I considered it a trophy. And then the wind arrived. It was tough casting in the gale from the southwest. Abandoning A&M, we stumbled onto Joe Meyer’s “secret spot” (a rather small, but reportedly productive pond), but the wind was steadily increasing in velocity. We unstrung our rods, cracked open some adult beverages and fired up the charcoal grill to fry some burgers and heat a pot of barbecue beans. The fish didn’t cooperate, but there will be many other opportunities this year. Tight lines,


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Wyoming Fly Casters Monthly Newsletter

WFC contributes to conservation effort on the North Platte River by LUKE M. LYNCH Wyoming State Director, The Conservation Fund Thank you for the opportunity to brief you on the progress with our work to conserve the Miles Land and Livestock property, the one-mile stretch of the west bank of the of the North Platte River running downstream from Government Bridge. Our goals in the North Platte River Special Recreation Management Area are simple: help our partners to protect this important river corridor from inappropriate development and to provide some additional opportunities for permanent fishing access. The Wyoming Fly Casters and Wyoming Fly Casters Foundation have a proud history of significant conservation successes. From returning flows to Fremont Canyon to helping implement new regulations to protect spawning rainbows at the redds site by Alcova, the WFC has given back to the river that provides such a tremendous fishery to its members. Long a prized walk-in fishing area, the Game and Fish and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have attempted to conserve the 397-acre Miles Land and Livestock property for over 10 years. In 2010, my organization, The Conservation Fund, purchased the property from Miles Land and Livestock as a stop-gap measure to conserve it. This represents the seventh purchase we’ve made with the BLM on the Grey Reef, starting with the redds property in Alcova in 2006. Working in a broad partnership with the Bureau of Land Management,

the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and several other organizations, we’ve raised most of the funding necessary to complete the project. The WFC’s recent commitment to the project is a great help. Your support and that of the Natrona County Commission, Platte River Parkway Trust, Trout Unlimited, and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife are what have made projects like this possible. With your help, U.S. Senators Enzi and Barrasso have supported funding of this project through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. They understand and appreciate both the importance of the river corridor, but also the importance of access to the river for the economic benefits it provides hotels, guiding businesses, restaurants and other tourist-related businesses. When you get a chance, please thank them for their support of this project. Keeping access to the Grey Reef of the North Platte benefits us all. If you’ve driven past in recent weeks, a new fence and cattleguard are being installed to help manage access to the river and to prevent vehicles from scarring the river bank. The Bureau of Land Management is working hard to manage the increasing pressure on the river – both by providing additional facilities and by restricting vehicle traffic. By working together – the WFC, the BLM, the Game and Fish and others – we can get great things done on the river. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on how we can help conserve and enhance the Grey Reef. My thanks for all you do to promote fly fishing and conservation.

No board meeting was held in July The board meeting was not conducted on July 15 as a quorum was not present. The board members present adjourned at 7:11 p.m. Spencer Amend was excused. The following members were unexcused: John Dolan, Greg Groves, Jim Johnson, Scott Novotny, Alex Rose and Neil Ruebush.

Our members are very special to us and we want to remember them in times of adversity. If you know of a member or their spouse who is ill or is recently deceased, please contact Donna Diesburg at (307) 2344278 or e-mail her at

Cheyenne angler lands new state record splake The first day of April certainly was not "Fools Day" for Cheyenne angler Shawn Vanwey when his fishing trip to North Crow reservoir near Cheyenne resulted in his reeling in a new state record splake. The new record fish weighed 13.6 lbs. and eclipsed the old record of 12.74 lbs. that has stood since Sept. 2004. Vanwey, who fishes North Crow often, was on his first fishing trip of the year and got to the reservoir around 4 p.m. He was fishing from the bank and had caught several smaller trout when the record splake grabbed his Rattle Trap wounded shad lure right at dusk and the fight was on. He knew he had something big and the fish made several lengthy runs before being brought to shore. A splake is a cross between a brook trout and lake trout. The fish are created in a hatchery by fertilizing eggs from a lake trout with the milt from a brook trout. Splake were first stocked in North Crow, located about 25 miles west of Cheyenne, in 1999, again in 2005, and every year since that time. It is likely the new record was part of the 1999 stocking. At 29.6 inches, Vanwey's fish was almost an inch shorter than the old record which was 30.5 inches long. The previous record splake was caught out of Libby Lake in the Snowy Range. The world record splake weighed 20 lbs. 11 oz. and was caught in 1987 out of Georgia Bay in Ontario. To qualify for a new fish record, anglers need to get the fish weighed on a certified scale and have it verified by the G&F.

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Wyoming Fly Casters Monthly Newsletter

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The effects of high water on fisheries Flooding and fish . . . what will the high water that Wyoming is experiencing this spring do to the state's fisheries? "Probably very little from a detrimental standpoint," says fisheries management coordinator Dirk Miller. "But, the potential benefits could be substantial." Many good things come from having lots of water, at least if you're a fish. "In drought years, there can be setbacks to fisheries as habitats and food supplies are reduced," says Miller. "However, the opposite is true in good water years. After years of drought, streams build up sediment on the stream bottoms. This covers important small gravels needed for the fish to successfully spawn. It also covers the important habitats for the aquatic invertebrates in the streams which are important food sources for fish." The high water provides flushing flows to the stream bed and washes away years of deposited silt, making available clean spawning gravels that can then be utilized by fish and the invertebrates.

"More food for fish, and more places for fish to spawn successfully is a good thing for stream fisheries," says Miller. But, what about the high water? How do fish cope with flows that may be two or three times what they have become accustomed to? "Over years, fish have evolved to adapt to flood situations," says Miller. "It's not like fish are out in the middle of a river, fighting the heavy current to keep from being washed downstream. Even in flood stages there are slow currents in every stream. The fish seek out these places and get along quite nicely. If some of the newly hatched fry or larger fish happen to get displaced by late runoff, it's not the end of the world. Fish are a lot more mobile that many people think. After time, the fish will fill in the available habitats and the cleansed stream bottoms will provide better spawning conditions and more food sources that will benefit the fishery in coming years." It doesn't end there. Not too many years ago, the prolonged drought in

many western states had officials issuing cautions about the low flows and resultant warm waters in streams and the potential stress and mortality that catch-and- release angling could have on the trout caught in these waters. Anglers should not have to contend with the warm water induced mortality for the foreseeable future. Heavy snowpack over the past few years will supply good flows of cool water into the streams into the late summer and fall. It will also provide a ground water recharge that will fill up the water table, and provide a better volume of cool water that can have a positive effect for years. Many of Wyoming's streams might not be in good fishable condition as soon this summer, but once the waters clear up, the flows should remain at good levels the rest of the year. Streams aren't the only fisheries to benefit from high water. Wyoming’s lakes and reservoirs will also benefit from good water conditions for years to come. For boaters, the benefit is obvious.

JULY Club Calendar SUNDAY


























Independence Day



Regular meeting, 7 p.m.





Full moon

WFC Board Meeting, 7 p.m.

24 31

25 Deadline for Backcast info



WFC 07/11  
WFC 07/11