Current Conditions

Cheesman Canyon

Flow: 373 ft3/s
Temp: 54 °F
Wind: 6 MPH SW

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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 the flows to drop dramatically as Denver Water prepares to ramp up flows on the North Fork. Anglers should prepare for hatches of golden stoneflies, PMD’s, and blue-winged olives.

Tips and Other Information: Look for flows to drop as Denver Water prepares to move water from Dillon Reservoir via the Roberts Tunnel. Cheesman Reservoir is down to 95% of capacity which is alarming after a huge snow pack.  To the contrary, Dillon is at 101% capacity, so Denver Water will service their customers on the Front Range and outlying areas with water from Summit County.  Anglers should prepare themselves for hatches of midges, caddis, blue-winged olives, PMD’s, and golden stones. Amy’s Ant continues to produce some great fish on top, and a dry and dropper rig is never a bad idea, especially in the skinny water. Water temps are a concern as they are in the upper 50’s to mid 60’s. Keep and eye on them as the volume is reduced, the temps will rise.

Effective Patterns:  #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #14-16 San Juan Worm, #14-16 UV Scud, #16-18 red Copper John, #20-22 Juju Baetis, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18-20 Mercury Pheasant Tail, #20-24 RS 2, #18-20 Buckskin, #18 Mitchell’s Split Case PMD, #18 Barr’s Emerger (PMD) #16 Barr’s Graphic Caddis, #16 Mercer’s Swing Caddis, #14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, #10-12 Amy’s Ant, #16 Yellow Sally #16 Stimulator, #18-20 Sparkle Dun, and #20-22 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.