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 sporadic hatches of midges, caddis, and blue-winged olives.
Tips and Other Information:
Flows were bumped by Denver Water in an effort to flush away some of the sediment from a recent flash flood. Go-to bugs have been size 20 midge and size 22 Baetis imitations trailed off a larger offering. A size 10 Pat’s Rubber Legs or a size 10 Shafer’s Gummy Crane have been effective in the faster riffles and runs. Not much to speak of about hatches. There are some midges, sporadic Baetis and a caddis or two.
Note: A flash flood that occurred on July 5, 2018 has damaged several sections of the Gill Trail and river’s substrate. The worst damage is in the middle of the canyon where several of the major holes have filled in with decomposed granite and other insect choking sediments. 3.8 inches of rain fell in short period of time and the Hayman Burn scar once again has become a big problem.
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.