Current Conditions

Recent Reports

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 

Flow: 153 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: Low to mid 40’s

Hatches: Midges, blue-winged olives, and caddis

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

Tips and Other Information:  Cheesman Canyon is fishing fair to good right now. Denver Water continues to hold back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 100-50 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 (BWO) and #24 Parachute Adams.

About Cheesman Canyon

Jim Cannon of the Blue Quill Angler states “…anytime is the right time to fish Cheesman Canyon, it can be fished all year”. The boulder-filled Cheesman Canyon section of the South Platte River is considered by many to be one of the most pristine fisheries in the world.

In 1976, it became the first section of river in Colorado to be protected with catch and release regulations. The Canyon is an unforgettable fly fishing experience. A roughly 1.5 mile hike from the parking lot to the river’s edge presents the angler with three miles of beautiful canyon with Bald Eagles a flight, a river filled with enormous boulders and superb river banks to fish. It is a perfect day trip alone, with family or fishing buddies.

This three-mile section is fished most successfully with nymphs and anglers can expect to catch large rainbows and good-sized browns within the close company of other fisherman. The Canyon is best fished on overcast days with good presentation only 2 or 3” away from the fish’s nose. It has been said “if you can catch fish in The Canyon, you can catch them anywhere”.

The best reviews from our clients come in the spring when blue-winged olives start to show themselves on a regular basis (late March through late May). Flows are perfect that time of year from 100-300 cfs.