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.
Flow: 314 cfs
Water Temperature: Mid 50’s
Hatches: Midges, blue-winged olives, and caddis
14 Day Forecast: Look for good hatches of midges, blue-winged olives, and caddisflies
Tips and Other Information: Cheesman Reservoir began spilling this past Sunday about noon. Two days later, Denver Water released an additional 60 cfs from the bottom valves to cool down the water. Currently there is approximately 160 cfs coming off the bottom valves and the remainder is coming over the spillway. San Juan Worms, stonefly nymphs, scuds, or caddis larvae are good attractors right now. Dropper flies of choice have been midges in the a.m., followed by Baetis nymphs in the afternoon. Caddis hatches are intensifying with the warmer water and caddis pupae are now becoming a factor in the “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.