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 sporadic hatches of midges

Tips and Other Information:Cheesman Reservoir is currently 45 percent full, so Denver Water is keeping the outflows low all winter long. Anglers should prepare themselves for sporadic hatches of midges. This means breaking out the small bugs–size 22 is a starting point, but more times than not, you’ll be fishing with a size 24 or 26. The optimum window of opportunity is between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Make sure you target the slow, deep pools where the trout overwinter. The entire canyon is fishable, but conditions are quite challenging. Plan on working hard for every fish you catch right now. Dress warm, as Cheesman Canyon is a frigid place this time of year. Expect heavy crowds in Cheesman Canyon, despite the difficult conditions…

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #20 Mercury Blood Midge, #20 Red Larva, #20 Pale Olive Larva, #22-24 Black Beauty, #22 Mercury Flashback Black Beauty, #22 JujuBaetis, #22-24 Medallion Midge, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #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.