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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

Water Temperature: Low 40’s

Hatches: Midges and blue-winged olives

14 Day Forecast:  Look for good hatches of midges and blue-winged olives.

Tips and Other Information:   Flows remain at 70 cfs to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  The level of Cheesman Reservoir is low, its down to 67,000 acre feet which is a bit of a concern considering our snow pack is low this year.  As you might imagine, fishing in Cheesman Canyon is extremely challenging as of late.  Go-to bugs have been a #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, #24 Top Secrets Midges, and #24-26 chocolate Foam Wing Emergers in the mornings and Baetis nymphs in the afternoon. Blue-winged olives are hatching every afternoon, adding some excitement for the dry fly angler. Overcast days and inclement weather are producing the best hatches.

Effective Patterns:  #22-24 Black Beauty, #22 Minute Midge,  #18-20 Buckskin,  #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-26 Top Secret Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS 2, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2,  #10 Pine Squirrel Leech, #10 Mayers Mini Leech, #10 Shafer’s Cranefly, #20 Matt;s Midge, #20 Mathew’s Sparkle Dun, and #24 Parachute Adams.

Pat Dorsey’s Fishing Report – Cheesman Canyon – South Platte River

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 

Flow: 118 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: Low to mid 40’s

Hatches: Midges and blue-winged olives

14 Day Forecast:  Look for good hatches of midges and blue-winged olives. ​

Tips and Other Information:  Denver Water continues to hold back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 75-125 cfs for another couple weeks.  Currently the lake is still 4,000 acre feet from the top (about 95% full).  My guess is Cheesman Dam will spill normally during the first part of May. For the meantime, my recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the transitional zones that drop off into the deeper runs.   In the a.m., flies of choice have been #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, and #24 Top Secret Midges. When you visually see the “big” spring midge coming off, adjust your tactics and techniques to match the hatch. A  size 18 pupa trailed by smaller pupa is what I recommend. Make sure you drift your pupa mid column! Look for a nice blue-winged olive hatch each afternoon between 1 and 3 p.m. Overcast days provide the best dry fly fishing. Regardless of the conditions, sub-surface fishing in the afternoon is good with an assortment of Baetis nymphs.

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parachute Adams.