North Platte River

Drift Boat Tactics and the North Platte River with Kelly McAlister – Podcast – Ep. 95

In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Kelly McAlister from Saratoga, Wyoming.  Kelly was born and raised in Wyoming and learned to row as a child on her home water, the North Platte River.  Now, Kelly guides that same water, as well as the Madison River in Montana.  We discuss:

  • Fly fishing on the North Platte
  • Tactics and techniques for maneuvering a drift boat.

** NOTE** Podcast episode appears at the end of this short article.

Key Takeaways

  • Upper North Platter River is an 125 mile freestone with great streamer fishing.
  • Series of tailwater sections of the North Platte River are known for nymph fishing below multiple dams.
  • The North Platte has browns, rainbows, cutthroats and suckers.
  • There are many different species and hybrids of rainbows on the North Platte.
  • The CFS (cubic feet per second) is much more volatile on a freestone.  Dams can regulate water flows and CFS on a tailwater.
  • Dams typically release water from the bottom where the water is colder making tailwaters cooler water in the summer.
  • Suckers help the North Platte River grow large trout.  The sucker spawn happens just after the rainbow spawn in the spring and helps fatten up the fish as they eat the sucker eggs.
  • Certain parts of the North Platte can turn into large redds during the spawn.
  • Flies that work well on the tailwater section that are easy to tie are the Mayham midge and RS2.
  • Flies that work well on the freestone section are the Pat’s Rubber Legs, hares ear, and streamers (thin mint).

Learn More

To schedule a guided trip with Kelly visit online at:

Five Star Expeditions  or The Tackle Shop Madison River Montana or Saint Peters Fly Shop

To learn more about some of the women’s fly fishing retreats that Kelly is involved in visit:

She’s Fly

If you want more information on some of the topics we discussed try reading these blog posts from Wadeoutthere:

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Every Once in a While, Look Up.

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Embrace the Drive.

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | In Defense of Whitefish

For more fly fishing stories, lessons learned, and artwork check out my blog and online gallery at:

Ask a Question on the Podcast

Below are some folks I will be talking with on future episodes. If you have a question for an upcoming guest, I would love to hear from you.

  • Sam Galt- Colorado
  • Pat Dorsey – Colorado
  • Sam Galt – Pennsylvania

If you enjoy the Wadeoutthere Fly Fishing Podcast, and want to help it grow, please leave a rating and review.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed talking with Kelly.


Jason Shemchuk

You Might Also Like...

No Comments

    Leave a Reply