FLY FISHING GUIDE TO THE SOUTH PLATTE RIVER – Revised Edition 2018 by Pat Dorsey

I’m happy to announce that a Fly Fishing Guide to the South Platte River is being completely  revised and updated.  It is expected to be in the warehouse by December 1, 2018, just in time for the holidays and the show season!

While a large percentage of the information in my original project is still applicable today, a lot of the material is out-of-date.  Over the past decade the river has changed as a result of drought, fires, flash floods, and a lot of fishing pressure.

My goals and objectives for this updated version of a Fly Fishing Guide to the South Platte River is  to produce a reasonably priced book in a smaller format that can be put into your fishing vehicle for a streamside reference. The revised edition of a Fly Fishing Guide to the South Platte River has new photos, maps, hatch charts, and fly images with corresponding recipes. The text is broken down into separate chapters for each river location (e.g., Cheesman Canyon, Eleven Mile Canyon, Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area, etc. ) to make it easy to navigate the South Platte corridor. Detailed maps pinpoint the holes and parking facilities in each location.

There are also individual chapters on hatches, tactics, tips, techniques and more much to help you become a better angler.  There are numerous side bars on important topics like the Hayman Fire, Whirling Disease, streamflow data, etc. all of which are helpful. As an added bonus, regional experts like Landon Mayer, Greg Blessing, Jeremy Hyatt, Chris Wells, and many more lend their expertise on the locations they guide on. They were willing to share their valuable information which is a win/win for everyone.

You can pre-order a signed copy at the Blue Quill Angler (www.bluequillangler.com). The cost of the book is $34.95, plus applicable shipping fees. –

Mathew’s Sparkle Dun Dry Fly

Craig Mathews of West Yellowstone, Montana invented the Sparkle Dun during the late 1980’s.  Mathews owns and operates Blue Ribbon Flies in the Yellowstone National Park area and is considered the local guru in the park region.  Mathews has studied the Yellowstone hatches for more than 30 years and is the co-author of the Yellowstone Fly Fishing Guide, which is the authoritative book to the fabled Yellowstone area.

Mathew’s Sparkle Dun is tied to imitate a variety of mayfly duns—green drakes, pale morning duns, blue-winged olives, Tricos, and red quills. Color and size varies depending on the species.  The Sparkle Dun is my favorite blue-winged olive dun imitation. The Sparkle Dun “fishes” better than conventional hackled patterns because it sits flush in the film like the naturals.Mayfly duns provide technical (small flies, long leaders, and super selective trout feeding in gin clear water), yet rewarding dry fly fishing in the spring, summer, and fall.  The BWO Sparkle Dun is a must-have pattern for tailwaters and spring creeks in April and May and then again in September and October. Hatches often extend until mid-November in many drainages.

Picture

This beautiful South Platte Rainbow was fooled with a Mathew’s Sparkle Dun. It is my go-to fly during the height of an “olive” hatch.

I typically fish my Mathew’s Sparkle Duns with 9-foot leaders terminating in 6 or 7X tippet. I use 6X for size 18, and 7X for 20-22. If you are getting refusals with 6X, drop your tippet size down, and watch your drag closely.

If you notice your fly traveling faster than the current or creating a V above your fly, you may need to reposition yourself in the current to offset any conflicting currents.  Sometimes changing your angle of attack can make a huge difference in a drag free presentation.

Another option is to use a slack line cast, such as a S cast or a reach mend to put a little slack in your line to keep the fly from dragging.  In most cases, the fly only needs to float drag free for a few inches; so don’t get carried away with super long casts.

I hope you enjoy this fly as much as I have over the years.  Mathew’s Sparkle Dun is a game-changer no doubt! – Pat Dorsey

Fishing Report: Deckers – South Platte River

Deckers is a world-renowned stretch of the South Platte River. There are miles of public water to fish in and around the hamlet of Deckers.

Current Conditions

Flow: 145 cfs, Trumbull

Clarity:  Good

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:  Fishing in and around the Deckers area has been productive as of late, despite the up and down flows.  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.  The “big” spring midge is a major factor right now with regard to matching the hatch. The fish are responding to them nicely!   A size 18 Bead Head Black Beauty or Medallion Midge is the perfect imposter for these large midges. Don’t forget about the small midges…they are still extremely important too!  In the a.m., concentrate your efforts in the deeper runs and slower pools where you’ll find the highest concentrations of fish.  Your best bet is dead drifting midge 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, #24 Black Beauty, #24 Minute Midge, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #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, #22 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parashute Adams.

Fishing Report: Deckers – South Platte

Current Conditions 

Flow: 141 cfs, Trumbull

Clarity:  Good

Water Temperature: Mid 30’s to high 30’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:  Fishing in and around the Deckers area has been productive as of late, despite the up and down flows.  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.  The “big” spring midge is a major factor right now with regard to matching the hatch. The fish are responding to them nicely!   A size 18 Bead Head Black Beauty or Medallion Midge is the perfect imposter for these large midges. Don’t forget about the small midges…they are still extremely important too!  In the a.m., concentrate your efforts in the deeper runs and slower pools where you’ll find the highest concentrations of fish.  Your best bet is dead drifting midge 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, #24 Black Beauty, #24 Minute Midge, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #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, #22 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parashute Adams.