Big Brown Trout from the South Platte River near Deckers

The South Platte River currently has a range of conditions depending on what stretch you are fishing.  Denver Water is trying to fill up Cheesman Reservoir.  Because of this, the river below Cheesman Reservoir, Deckers and Cheesman Canyon, are both experience very low flows.  In an effort to fill the reservoir, the tailwaters above Cheemsan, The Dream Stream and 11 Mile Canyon, are both flowing above average to move water downstream as quickly as possible.

South Platte below Cheesman Report

If fishing the South Platte River near Deckers, you will want to use small flies and get on the water early!  With only 80 cfs coming out of Cheesman Reservoir the water is low and warms quickly throughout the day.  We encourage everyone to get off the water by 2 o’clock as the water temps get warm in the afternoon causing it to be stressful on the fish.  Low flows and warm water lead to a reduced amount of dissolved oxygen available to the fish.  You will want to land the fish as quickly as possible, reduce unnecessary handling of the fish, and get off the water in the early afternoon when the temperatures get warm. Fishing in the morning is fantastic despite the low flows.  We are seeing hatches of tricos, PMDs, caddis, a few different stoneflies, and midges.  Our most productive rigs have been small flies with light lines fished in the riffles.  I would start the day with a #22 or even #24 black RS2 to imitate a trico and fish your favorite midge emerger pattern off the back.  5X and even 6X are key.  Another great rig to cover some water is to use a dry dropper set up.  Really work the riffles and the moving water as it offers more dissolved oxygen and cover for these highly educated fish.

South Platte below Spinney Report

If fishing the South Platte below Spinney, aka the Dream Stream, you will have a great flow of 243 cfs!  This has the fish spread out throughout the entire river.  You will find similar hatches here as Deckers with tricos, caddis and midges making up a large portion of the fish’s diet.  Grasshoppers are also on the menu and my personal favorite way to fish this stretch during the summer.  I would put on a grass hopper pattern and drop a caddis emerger off the back.  Cast towards the banks and in the riffles.  There are some big fish in the Dream right now and they are loving the extra water!

For other current fishing reports on rivers throughout Colorado, be sure to check in with our friends at FlyCast.

Want to up your game on the technical South Platte River?  A guided fly fishing trip is a great way to improve your skills and watch you success rates increase!  Give us a call for more info!