Current Conditions

Cheesman Canyon

Flow: 586 ft3/s
Temp: 55 °F
Wind: 9 MPH W

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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 

Clarity: Excellent

14 Day Forecast:  Look for low flows until Cheesman Reservoir fills. Were expecting it to fill quickly now, with all the reservoirs above full now.

Tips and Other Information: Flows will remain low until Cheesman Reservoir fills. Currently the lake is about 11 feet from the top, so it shouldn’t take too long.  Currently anglers should expect hatches of midges, sporadic blue-winged olives and sporadic caddis, but overall the hatches have been extremely light and the trout are currently feeding opportunistically. Fishing has been challenging as of late, but those anglers working hard, covering a lot of water, are reaping the benefits of some nice fish.

Note:  The Cheesman Canyon trout are spawning in many sections of the canyon and will continue through the latter part of June. Ice-cold water temps (41 degrees) delay the spawning process in this section of the South Platte. Please watch your step in the shallow riffles as there are redds everywhere. If you see fish in shallow rifles, assume the are spawning and leave them alone. Target your efforts in deeper holes and water that is 2-4 feet deep.

Effective Patterns:  #20 Juju Baetis, #14-16 UV Scud, #20 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, 20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Chironoflash Midge, #18 Buckskin, #20 Pale Olive Midge Larva, #20 Sparkle Dun, #14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, #16 Barr’s Graphic Caddis, #16 Mercer’s Swing Caddis, #22-24 Matt’s Midge, #22-24 Griffith Gnat, and #24-26 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.