Few places in the West conjure up better images than the big, challenging of trout Central Wyoming’s Miracle Mile section of the North Platte River. Often times referred to simply as “The Mile” by local fishermen, just a mention of the name fuels the imagination. The location is remote, the scenery is grand, and the trout are epic.
The primary trout species found in the Miracle Mile are rainbow and brown trout, although catching a cutthroat trout is not uncommon. Abundant food sources, little fishing pressure, cold and consistent water, and access to the lake below create an environment for Miracle Mile trout to grow to very large, healthy sizes.
Because this is a tailwater fishery, fishing can be good virtually any time of year. Wading fishermen should be aware that rainbow trout spawn during the spring and brown trout spawn during the fall — because of its status as a spawning ground, be careful not walk through the redds (spawning areas) or you could disturb or destroy the eggs.
If fishing with flies, it is best to imitate the common food the trout are love to eat. These include egg patterns, rock worms, San Juan worms, hot head leeches, squirrel leaches, woolly buggers, scuds and large streamer patterns. These flies are typically fished with long leaders and plenty of weight to get them down near the bottom of the water column, especially in the deeper runs of the river.
Large streamer patterns can often yield the best results when fishing for larger fish. These flies are most effective when fished across the current and allowed to swing or dead drift through a run. Streamer patterns in white, yellow, brown and olive are often the color of choice by local fishermen, however, other colors can be effective as well.
If fishing with a spinning rod, ideal lures include gold or silver Mepps or Panther Martins and rainbow trout or brown trout Rapala lures. These lures can be fished much the same way a large streamer pattern is fished with a fly rod; casting them across the current and then swinging around through a run.
What sets the Miracle Mile apart from most other fishing destinations is that tug on the line when one of these monster trout bites the hook. These trout are big, strong, and will put up the fight of a lifetime. Landing a Miracle Mile trout is something that a serious angler should absolutely experience sometime in his or her life.
Fishing the Miracle Mile is far from easy, but that is what makes it so special. The weather can be unpredictable any time of year. Snow and/or thunderstorms can pop up seemingly out of nowhere on the high rocky plains. It is essential to pack along a waterproof outer shell, a warm hat and extra layers (especially in the colder months) in anticipation of changing weather.
River flows can vary due to the fact that this section of the North Platte River is situated between two reservoirs. During springtime months while the region is experiencing increased water from snow runoff, the dams may be releasing additional water raising the level of the river and making wading difficult. Later in the summer and in winter months the flows are typically down making wading the river much easier, although underwater obstacles, slippery rocks, and deep holes do exist. Chest waders are a must and fisherman should always use caution when wading.