As Wyoming prepares for thousands of visitors this summer, many drive up I-25 and will pass through the city of Casper on their way toward Yellowstone National Park or the Grand Tetons or maybe even into the Big Horns.  But I often wonder if they realize that they are passing up some of the best fishing opportunities in all of the Cowboy State?

Wyomingites know that Casper is a hub to fishing hot spots for people wanting to catch BIG fish.  But where do locals go to put a line in the water in hopes of landing those big fish and spending quality time on the water?  Just about anywhere actually!

But there are a few very guarded secret spots on area waters that I'm sworn to secrecy, but with so many places to go in the hopes of catching a trophy fish, here are a few of my favorites both in town or within a short drive.

#5 - Pathfinder Reservoir - Located less than an hour from Casper you will find one of the the best lakes for catching both trout and walleye. While the best to fish Pathfinder is from a boat, many shore anglers make their way to Pathfinder to fish via the many access roads and trails. The reservoir is fed primarily by the North Platte River and includes the Miracle Mile (see below) in the upper arm. Fishermen and Fisher-women wanting to catch big fish can do so at Pathfinder as the reservoir is full of 20+ inch trout and walleye.

#4 - Fremont Canyon - This is a fun and beautiful trip as good fishing can be found just below Pathfinder Dam and the river flows through the canyon all the way to the power plant above Alcova Res. Country music star Luke Bryan even brought a few buddies to Casper to fish the North Platte and shot video of them landing a couple of big fish in Fremont Canyon.  Luke added a few of those video segments in the music video for his hit - 'Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Everyday'

#3 - North Platte River (in town) - lots of folks talk about catching big fish in the North Platte River, but most of them are floating from Grey Reef  to a take out point downstream.  Many anglers don't realize the size and numbers of fish that live in the waters on the North Platte as it flows through town.  Last fall, I fished a short stretch from the Tate Pumphouse down stream to the train tresses near I-25 and landed over 2 dozen rainbows, several brown trout and a couple of cut-bows.  Water clarity and flow levels vary, but when the water is lightly stained to clear the fishing in town can be fantastic!!

#2 - Miracle Mile - A short drive from Casper, this legendary stretch of river is just below Kortes Dam above the mentioned Pathfinder Reservoir.  The Mile provides anglers an excellent opportunity to catch trophy size trout as well as huge walleye.  There are lots of camping opportunities along the banks of the Miracle Mile as well and visitors from all over the world come to test their luck in the famous Hawg Hole.  On my last trip to the Mile, I was lucky enough to catch and release a 26 inch cutthroat trout .  I grabbed a quick photo and smiled as I let the big girl let it swim back into the Hawg hole.

#1 - Grey Reef - From the spillway all the way down to government bridge, the trout are numerous and trophy's abound!  If you don't own a float boat, there are lots of awesome spots to wade fish along the North Platte including right around the spillway at Grey Reef.  Public Access points offer several good fishing locations from Grey Reef all the way back to Casper.  Since I don't own a float boat, I prefer to fish near the spillway if I'm wading.  When I have friends or family coming to town to fish, I always get a guide and let them put us on the big fish.  Plus we all get to enjoy the great scenery and wild life as we float the North Platte River.

Wherever you choose to go fishing, weather it's in town, on the Miracle Mile or at one of the many lakes and reservoirs around Casper there are lots of excellent fishing opportunities!  Be sure to check on the current rules and regulations for each of the waters you will be fishing on as they can change from year to year. Also, you should always be aware and respectful of private property.  Penalties for trespassing while hunting or fishing in Wyoming include the possibility of imprisonment of up to six months, a maximum fine of $400 or both.

Good Luck on the water this year and if you see me out fishing, feel free to stop and say 'Hello'!