|platte access points|
Upper North Platte Access Points
1)RouttRoute is just south of the Wyoming/Colorado boarder and is the beginning of the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest access. This access does have a boat ramp with rails that go down to the river to unload rafts, but you cannot back a vehicle down this particular ramp. Hard McKenzie style drift boats are not suggested on this highly technical stretch because of the class 4 and 5 white water in North Gate Canyon, as well as large boulders that are hard to avoid at certain water levels. An experienced oarsman is a must because this particular float from Routt to the next access, Six Mile Gap, is hard to navigate and has flipped many a raft. Most of this section is contained within a canyon with very limited access points, so once you put on you are in it for the long haul to Six Mile Gap, which is 9.8 river miles. The best flows to float North Gate Canyon is between 1000 and 3000 cfs. The wade fishing at Routt can be tremendous and is rarely crowded, but remember that you are in Colorado and you must purchase a Colorado fishing license. The closest place to pick up a Colorado license is in Walden, which has several licenses selling agents.
2) Six Mile GapSix Mile Gap is the first access point on the North Platte in Wyoming. The parking lot and improved campsites are located on a hill a couple hundred yards above the river making it a bit of a trek to get to the fish. There is no boat ramp at Six Mile Gap so you must drag or carry any boats down the trail to the river, as well as up the trail if you take out here. Once you get to the river, however, there is a trail that skirts the North Platte allowing you access to 20 miles of wade fishing and camping (hint, the farther you walk from Six Mile Gap the fewer fishermen you will see). The water is characterized by pocket water, boulder gardens, and long riffles and runs. This access is located in the Platte River Wilderness Area, which is contained within the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest, so no mechanical use of transportation is allowed, including four wheelers and bicycles.
3) PickaroonPickaroon, the last access located within the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest, has a primitive dirt boat ramp and unimproved campsites along the river. The one draw back to this access is the 27 miles of dirt road you have to take to get to it, but it’s worth the drive. Pickaroon is not a great place to use as a boat launch or take out because of the long shuttles involved. This is, however, a great place to spend a couple of days wade fishing because of the amount of fishing available and the long drive in. The water is mainly pocket water and long slow moving slicks that can be great dry fly fishing. Douglas Creek, which contains browns and brookies, also dumps into the North Platte here allowing you another piece of water to fish. Pickaroon is one of the most scenic spots on the river and has an abundance of wildlife, including moose, elk, and big horn sheep.
4) Bennett PeakBennett Peak is a BLM access on the North Platte River with improved campsites and a cement boat ramp and is one of the favorite launch sites for summer floaters. The drive in is 19 miles of dirt road and will take you about a half hour once you turn off Wyoming State Highway 230. There are over two miles of public water to wade fish at Bennett Peak. Below here, however, there is no public water until you reach Treasure Island 12 miles down stream. This is also the point where the North Platte starts to change from a narrow pocket water river, with steep canyons and pine trees, to a braided cottonwood lined river flowing through pasturelands. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to take out at Treasure Island you must stay to the left, or west channel as you come into the island. If you go down the right channel you will have to float all the way to Saratoga, another 11.9 miles.
5) Treasure Island
Treasure Island is the last public access before you reach Saratoga. The island itself is over two miles long and has public water on both sides of it allowing for plenty of wade fishing access. If the water is too high to wade to the island there is footbridge over the west channel that will allow you to access it. The water is mostly flat deep runs with a few riffles and undercut banks making it a great dry fly section. Unlike the above-mentioned accesses, Treasure Island is only minutes off of Wyoming State Highway 130 south of Saratoga, making it perfect spot for short day trips. There is a dirt boat ramp and overnight camping is allowed. The next take out after Treasure Island is the town of Saratoga, which is 11.8 miles.
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