Mike Lyons landed this beautiful rainbow yesterday on the Dream Stream with flows exceeding 750 cfs. While conditions are far from ideal, anglers are still catching a few fish on the South Platte River during the peak of run off.
The North Fork of the South Platte River is a good option during the high-water season. Although the flow is high and off-colored (554 cfs) fishing can be good if you target the right water with the proper flies. Productive flies have been #10 Chamois Leeches, #14 pink San Juan Worms, #16 red Copper Johns, #18 chartreuse Hot Tail Flash Eggs and an assortment of flashy midge imitations.
To fish one of our private leases on the North Fork of the South Platte River call the Blue Quill Angler at (303) 674-4700 or email Jim Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to get you on Boxwood Gulch, Long Meadow, The Meadows, or North Fork Ranch.
Andrew Williams landed this beautiful brown trout at Boxwood Gulch yesterday. Despite the high water, fly-fishers are still catching fish during the peak of run off.
Although many of Colorado's tailwaters are higher than their normal historic levels, they still remain the best option during spring run off. Joe Morrissette shows off a beautiful brown trout he fooled with a #18 Buckskin on one of Colorado's popular tailraces during the high-water season.
Here is an up-to-date list of river levels on some of the most popular fishing destinations in Colorado. Flows are above average statewide:
South Platte below Spinney Reservoir, 456 cfs
South Platte below Elevenmile Reservoir 396 cfs
South Platte below Cheesman Reservoir 1160 cfs
Blue below Dillon Reservoir 1300 cfs
Colorado at Parshall 4450 cfs
Colorado near Kremmling 6650
Eagle near Gypsum 3510 cfs
Frying Pan below Ruedi Reservoir 650 cfs
Roaring Fork near Glenwood Springs 4600 cfs
Gunnison near Gunnison 2860
East near Almont 1410 cfs
Taylor below Taylor Park Reservoir 500 cfs
Conejos below Platoro Reservoir 252 cfs
Rio Grand near Creed 1210 cfs
Arkansas below Salida 3080 cfs
Animas near Durango 4220
Delores below McPhee Reservoir 51 cfs
Cache La Poudre River near Fort Collins 3550
Yampa below Stagecoach Reservoir 197 cfs
Yampa at Steamboat 2360 cfs
Denver Water is our friend--it's plain and simple! Currently Denver Water is releasing water from three locations to keep the water temperatures at optimum levels below Cheesman Reservoir. As of late, there is 105 cfs coming off the bottom, 50 cfs coming out of the Jet Valve, and the remainder (approximately 900 cfs) is flowing over the spillway.
Denver Water closely manages the water temperatures on a daily basis. "We opened up the Jet Valve to warm up the water a bit. Surface temperatures on Cheesman Reservoir have been cooler than normal. Once we opened up the Jet Valve the water temperatures went from 49 to 51 degrees" said Dave Bennett from Denver Water. Bennett will continue to monitor the water temperatures and release additional cool water off the bottom (or through the Jet Valve) as needed. According to Bennett, "The optimum temperature range is between 50 and 60 degrees."
Cheesman Reservoir is full and flowing over the spillway. Denver Water uses three release points to manage the water temperatures below Cheesman Dam.
Currently, the water temperature is in the mid 50's in Cheesman Canyon, which is ideal for trout. Caddis are popping hard and the trout are loving life with the higher flows and increased feeding opportunities.
The biggest challenge is getting to the fish with the higher water levels. Anglers must pick and choose their spots wisely and target softer cushions behind boulders, logs, and other structure. All things considered, fishing has been very good during the high water season. I don't expect things to change anytime soon.
Despite the high flows (over 1000 cfs), fishing remains good in Cheesman Canyon. Aaron Evans fooled this beautiful rainbow on a Baetis nymph a few days ago.
Pat Dorsey is an author and fly fishing guide. He is a co-owner of the Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, Colorado.