Pat Dorsey’s Fishing Report: Cheesman Canyon – South Platte

Cheesman Canyon is one of the best tailwaters in the country. There’s a common belief among “canyon regulars” that if you can catch fish on the South Platte River, you can fool fish anywhere in the world. There’s no substitution for good technique in Cheesman Canyon.

Current Conditions 

Clarity: Excellent

14 Day Forecast: Anglers should prepare themselves for hatches of midges, blue wing olives, tricos and sporadic October caddis.

Tips and Other Information: We recently saw a bump in flows coming out of Cheesman over the weekend which had some fish moving around the system but we are back down to right around 150 cfs. The good news is that Cheesman Reservoir is staying full, currently it is at 98% capacity! Denver Water is sending water via the North Fork of the South Platte through the Roberts Tunnel to meet downstream demand. Dillon Reservoir is dropping fast, in fact; it’s down to 93% capacity, so look for Denver Water to begin relying on Cheesman’s storage soon. Anglers should prepare themselves for excellent a.m. midge hatches. Later in the afternoon, blue-winged olives make their presence known and the fish key on Baetis nymphs for a few hours. The primary food source is going to be baetis and midge larva and emergers. In the slower pools and tailouts, savvy dry fly enthusiasts are finding some nice fish rising to “olives.” It’s hard to go wrong with a Mathew’s Sparkle Dun for these surface feeders… Please keep an eye out for spawing browns and avoid walking on/fishing redds!

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #24 Black Beauty, #24 Top Secret Midges, #12-16 Mayers Leech, #20 JujuBaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #18-20 Mercury Flashback Pheasant Tail, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #20 Mathew’s Sparkle Dun, #20 Stalcup’s CDC Biot Comparadun, #22-24 Matt’s Midge, #22-24 Griffith Gnat, and #20-26 Parachute Adams.

Pat Dorsey’s Fishing Report – Cheesman Canyon – South Platte River

Cheesman Canyon is one of the best tailwaters in the country. There’s a common belief among “canyon regulars” that if you can catch fish on the South Platte River, you can fool fish anywhere in the world. There’s no substitution for good technique in Cheesman Canyon.

Current Conditions 

Flow: 118 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: Low to mid 40’s

Hatches: Midges and blue-winged olives

14 Day Forecast:  Look for good hatches of midges and blue-winged olives. ​

Tips and Other Information:  Denver Water continues to hold back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 75-125 cfs for another couple weeks.  Currently the lake is still 4,000 acre feet from the top (about 95% full).  My guess is Cheesman Dam will spill normally during the first part of May. For the meantime, my recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the transitional zones that drop off into the deeper runs.   In the a.m., flies of choice have been #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, and #24 Top Secret Midges. When you visually see the “big” spring midge coming off, adjust your tactics and techniques to match the hatch. A  size 18 pupa trailed by smaller pupa is what I recommend. Make sure you drift your pupa mid column! Look for a nice blue-winged olive hatch each afternoon between 1 and 3 p.m. Overcast days provide the best dry fly fishing. Regardless of the conditions, sub-surface fishing in the afternoon is good with an assortment of Baetis nymphs.

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parachute Adams.

Fishing Report: Cheesman Canyon – South Platte River

Current Conditions 

Flow: 118 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: Low to mid 40’s

Hatches: Midges and blue-winged olives

14 Day Forecast:  Look for good hatches of midges and blue-winged olives. ​

Tips and Other Information:  Denver Water continues to hold back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 75-125 cfs for another couple weeks.  Currently the lake is still 4,000 acre feet from the top (about 95% full).  My guess is Cheesman Dam will spill normally during the first part of May. For the meantime, my recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the transitional zones that drop off into the deeper runs.   In the a.m., flies of choice have been #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, and #24 Top Secret Midges. When you visually see the “big” spring midge coming off, adjust your tactics and techniques to match the hatch. A  size 18 pupa trailed by smaller pupa is what I recommend. Make sure you drift your pupa mid column! Look for a nice blue-winged olive hatch each afternoon between 1 and 3 p.m. Overcast days provide the best dry fly fishing. Regardless of the conditions, sub-surface fishing in the afternoon is good with an assortment of Baetis nymphs.

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parachute Adams.

Fishing Report: Cheesman Canyon

Current Conditions 

Flow: 116 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: HIgh 30 and low 40’s

Hatches: Midges and blue-winged olives

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Denver Water continues to hold back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 75-125 cfs for another couple weeks.  Currently the lake is still 4,000 acre feet from the top (about 95% full).  My guess is Cheesman Dam will spill normally during the first part of May. For the meantime, my recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the transitional zones that drop off into the deeper runs.   In the a.m., flies of choice have been #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, and #24 Top Secret Midges. When you visually see the “big” spring midge coming off, adjust your tactics and techniques to match the hatch. A  size 18 pupa trailed by smaller pupa is what I recommend. Make sure you drift your pupa mid column! Look for a nice blue-winged olive hatch each afternoon between 1 and 3 p.m. Overcast days provide the best dry fly fishing. Regardless of the conditions, sub-surface fishing in the afternoon is good with an assortment of Baetis nymphs.

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parachute Adams.

Fishing Report: Cheesman Canyon

Current Conditions 

Flow: 145 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: HIgh 30 and low 40’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Flows were bumped to 120 cfs yesterday. Denver Water continues to hold back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 50 and 100 cfs for the majority of the winter/spring. Currently the lake is still 6,000 acre feet from the top (about 85% full), but the good news is that our snow pack is above normal.  My guess is Cheesman Dam will spill normally during the first part of May. For the meantime, my recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the transitional zones that drop off into the deeper runs.   Flies of choice have been #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, and #24 Top Secret Midges. When you visually see the “big” spring midge coming off, adjust your tactics and techniques to match the hatch. A  size 18 pupa trailed by smaller pupa is what I recommend. Make sure you drift your pupa mid column!

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parachute Adams.

Fishing Report: Cheesman Canyon

Flows at 56 CFS. The fishing in the Canyon has been tougher, that’s for sure. Hardly ever does this canyon provide ‘easy’ fishing, but with only 56 CFS coming down, the fish are spooky! Cheesman offers many runs that have dramatic drop-offs leading to deeper runs. You’ll want to target these areas, as the fish find refuge in them in the colder months. With the sun so far south this time of year, the canyon does not receive a lot of sun.  Therefore, if you do have sunlight, take advantage of it.

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