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: Low 40’s
14 Day Forecast: Look for hatches of midges, sporadic caddis, golden stoneflies, craneflies, PMD’s and blue-winged olives.
Tips and Other Information: Cheesman Canyon is fishing tough right now with the recent drop in flow. Cheesman Reservoir is extremely low (58,000 acre feet) so look for low flows for the remainder of the year. Denver Water is gonna leave the Roberts Tunnel on this winter (so that means lower flows on the South Fork), so look for flows to range between 50-100 cfs for most of the autumn and winter season. Anglers can expect to see a good a.m. midge bite, followed by mid day mayflay hatches. First the Tricos come off, followed by some blue winged olives. Go-to bugs have been size 20 Jujubaetis, size 22 Stalcup’s Baetis, and a size 22 Foam Wing Emerger. You’ll find plenty of rising fish if you target the right water and really look for them. Crowds have been very heavy as of late…
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.