Current Conditions

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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. Anglers can expect strong hatches or midges and sporadic Blue-Winged Olives.

Tips and Other Information:Flows are low considering the time of year. Cheesman Reservoir is 18,000 Acre Feet from full pool (75% full), so expect low flows for a while. The good news is Spinney Reservoir and Eleven Mile Reservoir are full, so incoming flows are now approaching 450 cfs. Pray for a good monsoon season to assist in filling Cheesman Reservoir. In the mean time, anglers can plan on tougher than normal fishing. Look for strong hatches of midges and sporadic BWO’s and caddis. Water temps have been in the mid 40’s during the morning, but rising quickly the mid 50’s mid afternoon. Please pinch your barbs and release the trout quickly. Keep them in water as much as possible and try to keep your photos (especially grip and grins) to a minimum until the flow improves…

Effective Patterns: #20-22 Medallion Midge, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #22-24 Black Beauty, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #20-24 Top Secret Midge, #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20 JujuBaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20 Mercury Flashback PT, #20 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #16 Graphic Caddis, #16 Elk Hair Caddis, #20-22 Griffith Gnat, #20-22 Matt’s Midge, #20-22 Sparkle Dun, #20-22 Blue Dun, #20-22 Blue Quill, and #20-24 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.