Regional Offices > Casper Region > Casper Region News > Game and Fish cautions anglers of unexpected warm waters on the North Platte River near Gray Reef

Game and Fish cautions anglers of unexpected warm waters on the North Platte River near Gray Reef

July 28, 2023
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Casper -  Anglers planning to fish the North Platte River below Alcova and Gray Reef Dams should be aware of warmer-than-normal water temperatures. Due to power plant maintenance, the Bureau of Reclamation is currently running all water from Alcova Reservoir over the spillway. Typically, the water comes through the powerplant from the bottom of Alcova Reservoir and is in the 50-degree range in summer. Since the spillway pulls water from the top of Alcova Reservoir, the water entering the river is approaching 70 degrees and warming up as it flows downstream. 

“When water temperatures are at or above 70 degrees, catch and release related mortality is significantly elevated,” says Matt Hahn, regional fisheries supervisor for the Casper Region. “We ask that people be aware of the water temperatures in the river right now and consider limiting catch and release angling to the early morning hours or visiting one of the other regional tailwaters, such as the Miracle Mile or Fremont Canyon, where water temperatures remain cool.” 

High river temperatures are expected throughout the weekend and into early next week until the Bureau of Reclamation can complete needed maintenance.

Game and Fish advises anglers to adjust their practices to help fish survive the warm water temperatures.

“As water temperatures increase, anglers should monitor water temps while fishing. When water temperature hits 70 degrees, it is recommended anglers should stop catching and releasing trout,” Hahn said. “Anglers should practice self-restraint to help fish survive.”

The Game and Fish asks all anglers practicing catch and release to consider the following:

  • Fish early in the morning while the water temperature is cooler.
  • Carry a pocket thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
  • If the water temperature is at or above 65 degrees, consider keeping what you catch within the regulations. If the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, do not attempt to catch and release fish.
  • As water temperature increases, using the proper techniques to catch and release a fish become increasingly more important to help ensure the fish has a chance to survive:
  • Play and land fish as rapidly as possible to reduce exhaustion stress.  
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
  • Do not squeeze the fish or place fingers in the gills.
  • Remove the hook gently. If hooked deeply, cut the leader.
  • Flies and lures are recommended whenever many fish are being caught and released.
  • Barbless hooks allow easier hook removal.
  • If a fish is exhausted and cannot hold itself upright, and if regulations allow, consider having it for supper because the fish has a poor chance of surviving.

Water temperatures are anticipated to decline again following the completion of maintenance. 

- WGFD -

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