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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 

Flow: 199 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: Low 50’s in the upper canyon, but the river warms quickly as it moves downstream. Denver Water is closely monitoring stream temperatures to keep them between 50 and 60 degrees.

Hatches: Midges, blue-winged olives, yellow sallies, golden stoneflies, and caddis.

14 Day Forecast:  Look for sporadic hatches of PMD’s, caddis, and Tricos.   Denver Water will keep the water between 50 and 60 degrees by releasing water from the bottom and mid-level valves. Conditions should be ideal for weeks to come.

Tips and Other Information: Class is back in session in Cheesman Canyon.  The Cheesman trout are once again eating the “small stuff” and fishing has tightened up a bit. Anglers willing to work hard,  however; reap the benefits of some quality trout! Fly-fishers can expect to find a few trout rising to blue-winged olives, Tricos, and PMD’s.  Target the slower pools and tailouts if you are looking for risers.  The dry fly fishing has been quite good if  you look in the right areas! The golden stoneflies continue to emerge but the hatch is winding down quickly.  Amy’s Ant is still picking up a few fish, but not in the same numbers as a few days ago. Looking ahead, it’s time to fish with tiny midges and Baetis nymphs again.

Effective Patterns:  #16-18 Barr’s Graphic Caddis, #10 Pat’s Rubber Legs, #14 San Juan Worm, #14 orange or olive UV Scud, #18-20 Buckskin, #16 Elk Hair Caddis, #14-16 yellow Stimulator, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20 Top Secret Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS 2, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #10 Amy’s Ant,  #20 Sparkle Dun (BWO) #16 Sparkle Dun (PMD), #16 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun (PMD), 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.