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Cheesman Canyon

14 Day Forecast: Look for hatches of midges, caddis, PMD's, and golden stoneflies

Effective Patterns: #14 UV Scud (olive and orange), #14 San Juan Worm, #8 Cranefly larva, #10 Pat's Rubber Legs, #10 Pine Squirrel Leech, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #18-20 Top Secret Baetis, #20-22 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Micro Egg, #20 Mercury Midge, #18 Buckskin, #20-22 Parachute Adams, #16 Elk Hair Caddis, #20 Mathew's Sparkle Dun, and #20 Parachute Blue-Winged Olive.


Stream Conditions & Tips from Pat Dorsey for Fly Fishing Cheesman Canyon in Colorado

The picturesque boulder-filled Cheesman Canyon portion of the South Platte River is considered by many one of the most pristine fisheries in the world. This area, often times simply referred to, as “the Canyon” is an experience you’ll never forget. It’s the perfect scenario, magnificent beauty in combination with great fly fishing.

The South Platte River carves its way through a granite canyon lined with ponderosa pines, willows, fallen tree trunks, and various other assorted ground foliages. Boulders as big as Volkswagens Beetles create structure for the super-selective trout residing in the river. Mule Deer, Black Bear, Raccoons, Mountain Lyons, and Bald Eagles all add to the experience. Anglers can expect to catch mostly large rainbows supplemented with a few nice brown trout. The aforementioned “canyon” is as technical as they get, and if you can catch trout here, you can catch them anywhere in the world. This three-mile section is primarily a nymphing fishery requiring tiny midge and mayfly imitations with fine 5 and 6X tippets. Ideal flows for Cheesman Canyon are between 250  and 400 cfs. The regulations are flies and lures only. All fish must be returned to the water immediately.

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.

Tips & Other Information:

Current Conditions:

Flows are back to their normal historic levels in Cheesman Canyon.  The outflows are currently all off the base of the dam. Hatches have been sporadic…all we’re seeing is a few midges and the occasional PMD. This is no surprise as the aquatic life took a big hit with all the decomposed granite moving downstream from this years run-off.  The best advice I can give you it to lead off with an attractor and trail smaller offerings behind it. The fish are eating opportunistically so you’ll need to constantly mix things up. Revised 7/18/24





Pat Dorsey Fly Fishing