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 

Clarity: Excellent

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and strong hatches of midges in conjunction with sporadic blue-winged olives and caddis.

Tips and Other Information: Cheesman Reservoir is currently 77% full, so Denver Water is keeping the outflows low until the lake fills. Currently the snowpack is 116% of normal so we are in pretty good shape. Spinney Mountain Reservoir is 23 feet low, so look for minimum flows in that tailrace until the lake fills. Once Spinney Mountain Reservoir fills, the water will pass through (Eleven Mile Reservoir is full) and begin filling Cheesman Reservoir. Denver Water plans to keep the outflows around 50 cfs until the reservoir fills or the water temperatures get too high.

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #24 Black Beauty, #24 Top Secret Midges, #20 JujuBaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #18-20 Mercury Flashback Pheasant Tail, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #20 Mathew’s Sparkle Dun, #20 Stalcup’s CDC Biot Comparadun, #22-24 Matt’s Midge, #22-24 Griffith Gnat, and #20-26 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.