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.
Water Temperature: Upper 40’s
Hatches: Midges, sporadic caddis, blue-winged olives, and Tricos
14 Day Forecast: Look for reliable hatches of midges, blue-winged olives, and Tricos.
Tips and Other Information: Fishing has been tough in Cheesman Canyon. Trust me–you’ll work hard for every fish you catch right now. The Cheesman trout are keying on the small stuff right now. It’s time to break out the 6X tippet and the size 22-24 flies! Anglers should prepare for a heavy a.m. midge hatch followed by a late morning Trico hatch. Early afternoon brings a blue-winged olive hatch. My go to bugs have been a size 22 Jujubaetis, size 22 Stalcups Baetis, and #24 chocolate Foam Wing Emerger. Overcast days are providing the best hatches and fishing. Bright and sunny days have been much tougher
Effective Patterns: #22 Mercury Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS 2, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #22-24 Sparkle Dun (BWO) #18 Sparkle Dun (PMD), #16 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun (PMD), and #24 Parachute Adams.
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.