North Platte River
The North Platte River is a central feature of the Bureau of Land Management's Rawlins Field Office area. It flows north over 122 river miles from the Colorado border to the slack waters of Seminoe Reservoir. The river descends through white water in the North Gate Canyon before widening and gently meandering through the agricultural Saratoga valley. It winds north through meadows and sagebrush-covered slopes, past Interstate 80, and along the Fort Steele breaks before reaching Seminoe Reservoir.
The North Platte River is a magnet to numerous species of wildlife. Bighorn sheep are found as far downstream as Bennett Peak. North Gate Canyon provides crucial winter range for elk. Bobcat, black bear, and mountain lion inhabit this area. Mule deer are often seen along the banks, and pronghorn antelope enjoy the open valleys and foothills visible from the river. Small mammals in the riparian area include muskrat, coyote, raccoon, and beaver.
Birds to be viewed range from blue and sage grouse to Canada geese, mallard, common merganser, goldeneye, great blue heron, kingfisher, pelican and dipper. Raptor species along the river include golden and bald eagle; Swainson's, red-tailed, and ferruginous hawk; prairie falcon; and American kestrels.
From the Colorado border down to Sage Creek, the North Platte River is classified as a blue-ribbontrout fishery. This section of river is managed for "wild" trout. Rainbow and brown trout are the predominant game fish, with smaller populations of brook and cutthroat trout and walleye. A Wyoming fishing license is required to fish in Wyoming. Regulations are available from licensing agents.
There are numerous public access points along the river. Bureau of Land Management put-ins include the Bennett Peak and Dugway Recreation Sites. Wyoming Game and Fish put-ins include Treasure Island, Foote, Pick Bridge, Eagle's Nest, and I-80. Camping is permitted at many of these put-ins. Regardless of what craft you use to float the river, be prepared for windy and inclement weather. Use "Leave No Trace" ethics and camp in developed sites when they are available. And please remember to wear your life jacket.
Much of the North Platte River runs through the checkerboard land ownership pattern. Public and private sections of land alternate. The water over private land is public. The land beneath the water and the river banks are private where the river crosses private land. You must get permission from private landowners to use their private land unless there is an easement for public use.
To assist you in knowing whether you are on public or private land, 12"x12" blue or red signs have been erected along the river. Blue indicates that the river is entering public, state, or lands with easements. Red indicates it is entering private land. You are responsible for knowing where you are on the river.