Fishing Report: Deckers
South Platte River
November 24, 2023
Cheesman Reservoir is 94 percent full which is great news for winter outflows. Currently there is 105 coming off the base of the reservoir and the feeder creeks are adding 15 cfs of additional water. The water temps are in the low 50’s in the upper canyon, so my guess is the lake is turning over. Until the recent cold snap, hatches remained strong with several fish eating midges and blue-winged olives off the surface. Look for the reservoir to stratify soon and for outflows to cool down quickly. Once they do, the trout will move into their traditional winter lies and feed heavily on midges. It’s hard to go wrong with an egg midge (Baetis) combo right now.
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In winter, fishing in Deckers and Cheesman Canyon can be challenging but rewarding.
The key is to focus on smaller, more precise presentations, as fish tend to be more lethargic in colder water temperatures.
Here are some effective fly patterns to consider for Deckers/Cheesman Canyon in winter:
Midges: They're a staple in winter fly fishing. Sizes #18 to #24 in black, brown, olive, or red colors work well. Patterns like Zebra Midges, RS2s (Rim's Semblance 2), and Mercury Midges can be effective.
Blue-Winged Olives (BWOs): These can hatch even in colder months. Sizes #18 to #24 in patterns like Sparkle Duns, Parachute Adams, or Pheasant Tails can imitate BWOs.
Small Stoneflies and Caddis: In smaller sizes (#16 to #20), these can also be effective. Patterns like WD-40s, RS2s, or small Hare's Ear Nymphs can mimic them.
Scuds and Sowbugs: These are consistent food sources for fish in winter. Sizes #16 to #20 in gray, tan, or olive colors are good choices.
Streamers: Occasionally, larger fish might be enticed by streamers. Try smaller patterns like woolly buggers or leech patterns in natural colors, fishing them slowly and enticingly.
Always be prepared to adjust based on the specific conditions on the river. It's essential to present the flies naturally and drift them in a way that mimics the slow movement of winter insects or smaller aquatic creatures.
The mileage below Cheesman Canyon is the renowned Deckers area, a world-class fishery with easy access and lots of opportunity. The best fishing is from Bridge Crossing to the lower boundary of the Tee Pee Club. Like Cheesman Canyon, the fish are challenging to catch, and there is no substitution for a good dead drift. Deckers can offer good dry fly fishing at times but like upstream in the “The Canyon” a good nympher will catch the majority of fish. Anglers can expect to catch assortment of browns and rainbows with some exceeding 20 inches. The river is made up of riffles, runs, shelves and gravel bars, and nice pocket water. The ideal flow for Deckers is between 150 and 400 cfs. The regulations are two trout over 16 inches in length and flies and lures only. Please consider catch and release on all fish caught in the area.