A bright yellow line gracefully moves through the air, forming a tight loop before being tugged back towards the swiftly moving water of the North Platte river. It lays out on the water, hardly making a ripple. Floating on the surface, the line drifts with the current. Skilled hands mend the line, making sure one section of it doesn’t get a head of the rest. Attached to the end of the floating line is a long section of thin clear line called a leader. A hand crafted fly tied to the leader floats along, mimicking an insect hatching on the surface. The water next to the fly ripples slightly as a rainbow trout sips it into it mouth. A quick upward movement of the rod sets the hook and the line snaps tight. The fight it on, it’s all or nothing, the trout will either be drawn towards an awaiting net, or steal the fly from the end of the line.

Fly fishing is more than just “standing in a river waving a stick” as author John Gierach would put it. It’s a passion bordering on addiction. With the North Platte river providing one of the premier trout fisheries in the Western US, anglers from all over the country are drawn to its waters. Locals and visitors alike depend on expert knowledge to make the most of their time on the river.

The Ugly Bug Fly Shop is nestled in the heart of downtown Casper. Old wooden floorboards creek underfoot as you walk, the isles laden with the newest gear from Simms, Patagonia, Korkers, Fishpond and other high end gear. Bight colored prints from artists DeYoung and AD Maddox line the walls. Colorful flies reside in dividers on a long display in the middle of the store; every type one would need to fly fish in Wyoming can be found here.  The always friendly staff is close at hand to help you choose the right equipment for your next adventure.

The Bug, as regular patrons of the shop call it, caters to all skill levels. With the sport of fly fishing growing every year, the Bug has grown as well. Fourteen fishing guides work for Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing and Wing Shooting, the river guide side of the business. From beginner to expert, the guides can provide an amazing Platte River fishing experience. From an instructional day on the river to a full luxury experience at the Crazy Rainbow Lodge, the hard working guides are ready to share their extensive knowledge of the river, and the trout that live in it.

Blake Jackson, a partner in The Ugly Bug, is an experienced guide and fisherman, as well as an expert at tying flies. He knows the North Platte well, having guided on it since he returned to Casper after graduating from Montana State. He is a conservationist, as many who fly fish are, and he uses his influence and expertise to educate people on the ecology of the river.

The Ugly Bug is a fixture in Casper; the perfect place to visit before your next expedition to the river, or after your day on the water to tell the stories of the large brown caught, or the one that got away.

Kristin Schaeffer